articule, because of its lack of visible signage, is seen as a discreet neighbour. Past visitors to the space have commented on the difficulty in finding the gallery and community members are often surprised to learn that there is an artist-run centre in their midst. As residents themselves of the neighbourhood and therefore aware of the ambiguity the space represented for locals, Emmanuel Galland and François Lalumière proposed, two years ago, to create an ephemeral sign for articule – a short term branding project for an otherwise empty art-space. Revisiting this proposition, which would seemingly have served to highlight the difference between articule and other local businesses, the artists worked this summer to present the gallery as an active participant in local life and to reflect the past life of the space as a storefront through exaggerated mirroring of the building and its inhabitants.
On a beautiful afternoon in Mid-July I met with Galland and Lalumière on the patio of the neighbourhood café that overlooks articule, moments before they were to begin the final performative action of “Retourne-moi / Invert Me Out“, their Summer window display for the gallery. The project consists of creating an almost complete copy of the adjacent La Maison du Peintre shop. The artists collaborated on painstakingly recreating the window display of the store in the gallery – paint-can by paint-can out of used materials, cardboard and coloured duct-tape. The team chose to make the art-objects all in white, rejecting branding, playing with the notion of the white gallery and erasing our expectations of the objects while presenting the viewer with clean “canvas” onto which to “paint” meaning. All the promotional stickers on the window of La Maison du Peintre were also reproduced, along with its sign, inverted and without their branding.
The artists see themselves as flâneurs trying to connect with the landscape of the community through past and current manifestations of its public spaces and commercial sites. For them, the joy of the window display came from creating and responding to the public’s connections with articule. The transference of one commercial public identity onto an art space made it easier to translate the actions of articule as gallery to the community. The display erases differences between the two venues and creates accessibility through playfulness and community memory building.
After our interview the artists planned to complete the inversion by painting La Maison du Peintre storefront “CRUM” blue, to match the gallery. This final action – titled “Les Peintres du dimanche / Sunday Painters” - would complete the symmetry but also implicate La Maison du Peintre in the art making process. No longer would the gallery vitrine act as a simulacrum of the storefront – after today the storefront and gallery would reflect each other, displaying the dual nature of store as paint gallery and gallery as paint store.
Amber Berson is passionate about art and its potential for social change. Her current research focuses on art and mourning, museum practices, narrative theory, and vernacular collections. Her Masters thesis at Concordia University considered how missing and murdered Aboriginal women have been depicted in Canadian Art. She works at Eastern Bloc and most recently co-curated SIGHTandSOUND 2 and Espèces vulnérables at Eastern Bloc, In Your Footsteps at the VAV gallery, Rearranging Desires: Curating the Other Within at the FOFA and We lived on a map... at the Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV) exhibition space.