Indepth Arts News: |
"Triple Bill: Isabelle Pauwels"
2008-01-26 until 2008-03-01
Interested in the representation of contemporary narratives and subjective experience, Isabelle Pauwels' work centres around language and social relations in conjunction with art, architecture and media. Pauwels engages with language in order to define and present personal intent, and within this determined structure presents possibilities for self-inscription. Her new three-part video work Triple Bill--the result of Pauwels' visits to pornography theatres--is part documentary and part fiction. As a storyteller, Pauwels narrates her experience of the theatre's architecture, social behaviours and films. Using various text screens, as well as recorded and edited conversation, Pauwels' work forces the viewer to become a participant in the construction of the story and notions of subjectivity.
Pornography is used by Pauwels as a way of investigating what an audience wants. While her textual representation of the experience thwarts the psychic economy of porn, the issue of desire remains central. The presentation of Triple Bill takes into consideration the physical space of the porn theatre. The work draws a correlation between the theatre and the gallery as sanctioned spaces for viewing and pleasure. Pauwels has noted that pornography presents a huge reservoir to examine human behaviour, both in how the films and roles are scripted, and in the response they elicit from viewers. Here, pleasure is seen as a function of both met and unmet expectations. In examining what an audience wants, Pauwels reveals something of the way contemporary art audiences consume. There is a tension between the artist's experience in Triple Bill and the passivity in the viewers' digestion, both in pornographic films and in Pauwels' work. Her work reveals surveillance as the flip side of performance: when watching--whether in the porn theatre or in the gallery--we behave as if we are not alone, as if we too are being watched. Ultimately, we scan for moments of pleasure and aberration.
Isabelle Pauwels graduated from Emily Carr Institute in 2001 with her BFA and received her MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Mercer Union, Toronto; Or Gallery, Vancouver; and at Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver. Her work has also been included in exhibitions at Signal, Malmo; Alberta Art Gallery, Edmonton; and currently in eXponential Future at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver. She won the VIVA award in 2007.
This exhibition will be accompanied by a publication co-produced with Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto.
CATRIONA JEFFRIES GALLERY, 2006
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