Chloë Lum & Yannick Desranleau
Crushed butterflies dream too
CURATOR — STEFANIE HESSLER
WITH THE COLLABORATION OF CAMILLE GEORGESON-USHER, MAUDE JOHNSON, AND HIMALI SINGH SOIN
Chloë Lum (born in Sudbury, Canada; lives in Montreal, Canada) and Yannick Desranleau (born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada; lives in Montreal, Canada) are a duo of artists who explore relations between bodies and objects, both of which are considered to be sentient and performing subjects. Lum and Desranleau’s works, currently in the form of installations, are situated at the intersection of performance, dance, theatre, music, and literature.
MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is an international contemporary art biennale devoted to the image. Its mission is to generate a sensitive and sensible impact on the world around us by means of images. The event implements unifying and structuring initiatives for art dissemination and education, to encourage reflection on and access to contemporary art. Founded in 1989 as Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, the organization was renamed MOMENTA Biennale de l’image in 2017. At its last edition in 2019, the biennale included 13 exhibitions, 39 artists, and 40 public events, and public attendance totalled more than 210,000 exhibition visits. Several activities will be helds as part of the biennale.
Galerie B-312 is pleased to present The Garden of a Former House Turned Museum, a new video work from Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau featuring a sung and danced correspondence between an anonymous contemporary interlocutor and the Brazilian author Clarice Lispector. Attending to the themes of language, nature, urban-ness, and illness—which the protagonist and the author have in common—the exhibition probes the porous boundaries between humans and the material world. Composed of many songs, the meta-musical is based on the plant life in Lispector’s chosen home in Rio de Janeiro and in the letters of hers that Lum and Desranleau unearthed while doing research in Brazil. Lum, like Lispector, lives with chronic pain. On the artist’s behalf, the fictional protagonist of the video is asking for the author’s advice while imagining how the proliferating plant life of the city might have incited the sense of growth and simultaneous decay in her writing.
"A fantastical world surrounds me and is me. I hear the mad song of a little bird and crush butterflies between my fingers. I’m a fruit eaten away by a worm. And I await the orgasmic apocalypse."
In her book Água Viva (1973), the novelist Clarice Lispector evokes a hypnotic stream of consciousness moving between wakefulness and dream. Her text deeply connects the interior worlds of her protagonist with people and animals surrounding her in a flow of writing evoking erotic fervour. Any distinction between bodies, feelings, and desires crumbles, giving way to endless metamorphosis. Simultaneously, the transformation of larvae into butterflies—or of a woman being ingested by a worm—also conjures moments of violence. In this scene from Lispector’s literary universe, the natural world has become monstrous, devouring the writer.
ABOUT THE BIENNALE
Sensing Nature, the 17th edition of MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, concocts love potions with which we can think and feel different, more caring, relations with nature. The biennale considers environmental justice and its intersections with social justice a matter not only of analysis and grassroots activism, but of sensing and feeling. The exhibiting artists invite us to forge intimate kinships with nonhuman lifeworlds. They make room for stories that dwell in the blurred boundaries between technology and ancestral wisdoms. They propose to listen to—and observe, smell, touch, speak to—the land, water, air, with the aim not of distantly understanding, grasping, or exploiting, but of resonating, vibrating, and feeling together.