Pascal Grandmaison: Soleil différé
June 10 to August 20, 2017
Pascal Grandmaison’s Soleil différé (2010) is an absorbing visual essay that documents the current state of Expo 67, Canada’s first universal exposition site. Filmed on location on Montreal’s Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame, this single-channel video installation evokes with a detached eye the effects of time and nature on this once utopian environment.
In its day, Expo 67 was a showcase for current technological advances and progressive dreams for the future. These aspirations were reflected in the theme, Man and His World / Terre des hommes, as well as in the fair architecture, which included Buckminster Fuller’s ultramodern geodesic dome for the U.S.A. pavilion. Due to the overwhelming success of Expo 67, the site remained open as a theme park until a steady decline in attendance forced its closure in 1981.
Despite revitalization efforts, nature has slowly reclaimed many of the park’s spaces and structures. Grandmaison’s work meditates on this process and documents the site’s afterlife through a sequence of ghostly black-and-white scenes. Treating his subject as a kind of ruin, Grandmaison’s video is void of human activity with the exception a lone surfer who rides the massive waves which rise in the channel bordering the man-made islands. As critic Anja Bock explains: “Soleil différé points to the failure of the modernist dream to realize an era of technological ease and leisure…. Modernism has passed into history, taking hyper-rationalism and positivism with it” (Prefix Photo 25, Spring/Summer 2012).
Pascal Grandmaison is widely recognized for photo, film and video work that combines poetic insight with conceptual rigour. His investigations of nature, architecture and portraiture subtly reflect on how images both reveal and remake our relationship to reality.
Born in Montreal, Grandmaison earned his Bachelor of Fine and Media Arts degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1997. His work has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally, including major surveys organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2006, with tour to the National Gallery of Canada) and Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art Contemporain (2011). Grandmaison was a 2015 recipient of the prestigious Hnatyshyn Foundation Visual Arts Award and was shortlisted for the 2013 Sobey Art Award.
Pascal Grandmaison’s work was featured most recently in the group exhibition Motion, organized by the Université du Québec à Montréal and toured to the MacKenzie Art Gallery (Regina, SK), Centre culturel canadien (Paris, France), and Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma (Rome, Italy). His collaborative work with Marie-Claire Blais will be included this summer in the exhibition In Search of Expo 67 at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, a major display of new works by contemporary Québec and Canadian artists that investigates the social, political and artistic context of Canada’s first universal exposition.
Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Arts Board, City of Regina and University of Regina