En Parallèle

March 7 – April 11, 2020
Opening: Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Patrick Bérubé : En Parallèle

Text by Ariane De Blois. Translated by Noémie Chevalier

Patrick Bérubé’s work focuses on the contradictory relationships (affective, ideological, psychic and carnal) that humans have with themselves and their environment. In these troubled and highly uncertain times, the exhibition deals more precisely with the disjunctions that occur between the real world, its direct perception and mediation, between the palpable and the impalpable, between interiority and exteriority. Starting from the fact that technology and the flow of images (digital, media and branded) shape our imaginations and absorb our relationship to nature, space and time, Bérubé questions the tenuous space dedicated to the emergence of a self-awareness that is situated, free and autonomous – in an era that, paradoxically, praises individuality.

Although the title En Parallèle… (Simultaneously…) underlies the idea of a second universe, the exhibition deals more with the elusive nature of the world, knowing that the visible necessarily includes a hidden double. For beyond the instability of representations, Bérubé is more globally interested in the fact that the limits of our sensory faculties do not allow us to empirically grasp most of the laws governing the universe. Moreover, his work underlines the persistence of the great metaphysical questionings linked to the origin of the Cosmos and the finiteness of life. Existential questions that have always encouraged human communities to invent strange stories, often populated by spectral figures, to respond to the dizzying incommensurability of the immeasurable.

Conceived with inspiration from Pac-Man’s labyrinth, the exhibition’s scenography refers to the structures and control systems, both physical and immaterial, that govern our lives and from which it is sometimes difficult, if not impossible, to find a way out. Bérubé’s hybrid visual program borrows as much from popular culture as it does from scientific and media imagery. Pie charts used for statistical purposes are set alongside TicTac branded almonds and the doctored covers of TIME (Today Information Means Everything) magazine, showing a post-apocalyptic landscape (where the title, once overturned, becomes EMIT). All this cohabits in an installation setting that is both baroque (for its overload and dramatic effects) and minimalist (for its sleek aesthetic).

As in the artist’s previous proposals, the exhibition is constructed, like so many hyperlinks, by embedding ideas and forms which, once duplicated and altered, become confused and echo each other simultaneously. Several levels of reading thus make up the narrative canvas of the exhibition in which notions of deadlock, powerlessness, vulnerability, desires and power are intertwined, like so many feelings that permeate our contemporary lives, captured by the system of globalization and hypercapitalism.