The Fribourg Art Centre presents Image Canyon, a solo exhibition by Jérémie Gindre. For this large-scale project, the artist takes possession of four rooms on the upper ground floor of the red brick building located in Fribourg’s old town.
Conceived as a path meandering through a spectacular canyon, Jérémie Gindre’s exhibition presents us sculptures, drawings, paintings and tourist signs. The starting point of the itinerary is a cliff – possibly the one looming over Fri Art, or the one which Lewis and Clark described while travelling up the Missouri River in 1803 during their famous expedition through the still-unknown western territories of America. “We have encountered several rocks resembling wood” wrote the explorers in a bafflingly simple statement.
The quote was picked up by Jérémie Gindre in a painting-cum-text echoing a collection of petrified boards, setting the tone for a series of singular geographical discoveries. It also evokes pareidolia, an tendency to discern familiar figures – often human or animal – in all sorts of abstract objects such as rocks. Acting as a backdrop to the exhibition, these potential visions haunt the four stage-rooms of Image Canyon. A panorama emerges under a mixed lighting: the dawn of discovery and the high noon of tourism.
In the first two areas the objects, images and texts prefigure a panorama that has yet to appear, as if the artist had played at signposting his own practice. Curiosities are reported, a setting is announced, a rumour goes around. Sculptures and drawings do not seek to surpass their copy status, joining the vague category of creations made to memorize a shape or an idea and to translate it into a new language.
The third area of the exhibition – the highly anticipated site – brings together a series of conglomerates presented on pedestals of bricks, simultaneously evoking a garden well, a barbecue and a museum socle. These heaps of mute and seemingly tame rocks convey an atmosphere of dispersion underscored by texts adapted from novels or guides, etched out on tourist signs. The fourth area presents a series of drawings: rocks that act as temporal and geographical landmarks on the road to the West, portraits of rock slides, and finally “geographical characters”. The first series summon up the fictive memories of George O. Willard, an ordinary pioneer, and attempt to revive his memory of the landscape.
The second series analyses the variations of an accidental structure; the third draws up
a catalogue of the picturesque. Depictions of mountains, lakes, caves, rivers, islands, canyons, craters, deltas or valleys that establish a counterpoint to the objects found in
the other rooms, and that use science not as a source of tales but as an objective means
to represent the countryside, to understand the world by elucidating its forms.