Exhibition: ’Everything is accidental’ by Laurent Montaron [fr]

From September 4 to October 25, French artist Laurent Montaron presents Everything is accidental at Mercer Union. This North-American premiere exhibition considers the changeable nature of representations of the self through both the artist’s film work Nature of the Self and a new sculptural work. Laurent Montaron will give a talk on September 5 to be followed by the opening reception.


The work of Laurent Montaron (b. 1972, lives and works in Paris) is suffused with the contemporary history of the media. For Montaron, a compulsive exploration of technologies and technological experimentation is a means to explore how we think through tools and objects, and find essence in the sense of things. Alchemy, childhood memories, astrology, pre-Socratic Greek philosophies, physical conditions and technological systems are combined, gathering the means of representation, photography, film, installation and sculpture, in considered installations which make evident the paradoxes of representation and thought. The activity of projection is not enclosed in the black box space; this projection is made visible in multiple modes which populate our everyday insisting “no image can be dissociated from the way it has been made.”

The exhibition: ’Everything is accidental’

Everything is accidental is the North-American premiere of his new film work Nature of the Self (2014), produced during his residency at the French Academy, the Villa Medici, in Rome, and accompanied by a new sculptural work. As both film and installation, Nature of the Self (2014), shifts between light and darkness. Light plays against moving trees within a forest; a passage is made with a headlamp through subterranean tunnels; water flows through a stream and liquids transform from translucent to dark and back again; and there is an attempt to capture the real within the four corners of a photographic slide, to literally project the real. The accompanying voiceover describes an experience of self-realization in front of a mirror in which the self is not identified. This moment ushers metaphysical and existential uncertainty, questioning both the parameters of the self and the world. Here, the eye is both a physical and metaphorical construct, and the blind spot introduced in the opening passages denotes this paradox; it is “that which you do not see and you do not know that you do not see.” The very act of recording is acknowledged as an attempt to render experience into information yet our experience is shaped by the conditions that surround us. There exists no absolute truth as we always experience through tools, the eye indeed is a tool. As the voiceover states “I am my world. The border of my language is the border of my world.”

The mirror manifests in multiple forms; twin girls separated by glass; the episode of depersonalization in front of a mirror; a chemical formulation in a laboratory; the psychoanalyst’s couch. The film itself is viewed through a window within the gallery space. Sound and image are disconnected where the space of the projection is not the space for viewing. While a certain duplicity exists, of what we see and don’t see, what is obscured by the image and the nuances of perception prevail. As the voiceover states “Everything we see could be something else. Everything we can describe could be something else.” Here the blind spot operates both metaphorically and physically. Within the projection space there is a mirror, and yet one’s reflection is obscured. The canon of modernity, in which knowledge can be captured and enclosed, is problematized with the disjuncture between presence and the reflected image. The link between belief and perception untangles…“We do not belong to the world, rather our gaze draws a limit to it.”

For Montaron the link between modernity and technology, between the body and the mind, perception and belief systems, and their inaccuracies, exposes the role of tools in conceptions of time and space, in our understanding and very being in the world.

Laurent Montaron’s bio

Laurent Montaron (b. 1972, Verneuil-sur-Avre) is an interdisciplinary artist working across film, photography, installation, sound and performance. He has participated in numerous exhibitions internationally including recently; You imagine what you desire, 19th Biennale of Sydney, 2014; The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013; Open End- Goetz Collection, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Lost in LA, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, all 2012; Homo Ludens – Act II, Motive Gallery, Amsterdam, Performa11, New York, Les amis de mes amis sont mes amis, hommage à Ján Mančuška, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris, all 2011. Recent key solo exhibitions include; Prospectif Cinema: Laurent Montaron, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2013; Laurent Montaron, Pigna Project Space, Rome, 2013; Laurent Montaron, galerie schleicher+lange, Berlin 2012; and Pace, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, 2010.

Everything is accidental is presented by Mercer Union in collaboration with TIFF as part of the Future Projections programme and presented in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Toronto.

Last modified on 03/11/2014

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