Patrick Bérubé: Embarras / Débarras


November 18 – December 17, 2005

Project Description

Patrick Bérubé is of his time, and the site-specific environments he creates translate the anxious nature of our “supermodern” condition. His installations are laboratories of human experience in which spectators become actors, upstaged by their own expectations. At Skol, the artist transformed the gallery space into a section of warehouse composed of five cupboards. The space becomes a locus of desire and malaise as the actor/spectator entering it is immersed in various discrete stimulations that attempt to “break normal conceptions of the linearity of the world.”

The cupboard in this case symbolizes a charge of emotion and information triggered by a desire or sense of uneasiness that quickly gives way to a feeling of emptiness and distress. Here, the artist conveys his everyday dilemmas and queries: “what do these spaces bear witness to? What stories, what dramas, what radiance? Questions, visions, realizations, loss of control, emptiness. How does one quench the desire, soothe the malaise?”

This work attempts to extract individuals from their everyday lives long enough to provoke moments of lucidity. The physical and psychological stimulation set off by the cupboard path echoes a culture of “over-shopping” and “over-zapping” — quintessential phenomena of unslaked desire —, while questioning its assumptions and schemas. Through a spatial rearrangement of everyday objects and a remix of cultural samples (including a mock warehouse), the installation becomes a space of differentiation, conferring on the cupboard its quality as a space of surprise, fear, and memory.