Derek Besant and Michel Campeau

Derek Besant and Michel Campeau

Canadian Cultural Centre

Michel Campeau, Sans-titre 7987 [Montréal, Québec], La chambre noire, 2005–2009.

September 30, 2012

Derek Besant
Restless Nights (Nuits blanches)

Michel Campeau
Darkrooms (Chambres noires)

September 26–October 26, 2012

Canadian Cultural Centre
5 rue de Constantine 
75007 Paris, France
Hours: Mon–Fri, 10–6pm; Thu, 10–7pm
Special opening for “Nuit Blanche 2012″ (October 6, 6pm–2am)

T+ 33 1 44 43 21 90

Curator: Catherine Bédard

TheCanadian Cultural Centre presents two exhibitions exploring different types of revelation: Restless Nights by Calgary artist Derek Besant and Darkrooms by Quebec photographer Michel Campeau.

Derek Besant’s installation Restless Nightsplunges the viewer into a mysterious realm in which floating images—empty motel rooms that look like crime scenes—become surfaces on which fantasies may be projected. Paradoxically, Darkrooms takes us into the now obsolete secret closed spaces of the photo lab, where images used to be revealed in the dark.

Derek Besant: Restless Nights (Nuits blanches)
Restless Nights invites us to experience a particular aspect—more cinematic than photogenic—of the vast Canadian landscape, the never-ending journeys and impersonal service stations along the deserted roads taken to cross the country from east to west. It is a metaphorical and lonely night journey, a road movie that leads us to from one motel room to another, with their unmade beds, silent witnesses to restless nights serving as a frame for the narrative. A hybrid soundtrack, an intriguing mix of music, noise, and stories, immerses the visitor in an open-ended narrative.

Besant’s Restless Nights are in fact darkrooms, “negative” images in the luminous sense of the word, stripped of any distinctive features and inhabited by lines. Outlines innervating a ghost; blurrier lines that only reveal folds and creases. Made up of large photographic canvases printed in thermal ink using a high-tech process, the Restless Nightsexhibition is taken from the 15 Restless Nights series first exhibited in 2006 on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The series has travelled across Canada and Eastern Europe.

Michel Campeau: Darkrooms (Chambres noires)
Comprising some thirty colour photographs taken between 2005 and 2009, Darkrooms is the composite portrait of that endangered place of revelation, the darkroom. Fragments of darkrooms visited in Vietnam, Niger, Mexico, Cuba, Canada, Germany, Belgium and France, the images are both intimate and transnational. Without the slightest hint of nostalgia and without ceding to the temptation of producing a photogenic image of the private place with restricted access shielded from the light, Campeau photographs the artist’s equipment and clutter, the context of his work in which instruments and techniques, as well as the traces of experiments, no longer serve to reveal an image but themselves become the subject of the image. Transmitted in pieces borrowed from various cultures and territories, exclusively seen from close up which makes seeing the big picture impossible and refers to a subjective individual presence, the very idea of the darkroom is thus not really revealed, or really objectified, and retains an extraordinary imaginary power.

This series was the subject of an important monograph, Darkrooms, published in 2007 by Nazraeli Press (United States) in the collection edited by Martin Parr; it was also the subject of a special report in New York-based magazine Aperture. Being shown for the first time in Paris, the series was first exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2010, then at the Château d’Eau in Toulouse and, this summer, at the Musée Nicéphore Niepce in Chalon-sur-Saône.

The exhibition Darkrooms is organized in partnership with the Galerie Simon Blais (Montréal), the Centre National des Arts Plastiques and with the support of Rencontres d’Arles.



Derek Besant and Michel Campeau at Canadian Cultural Centre
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Canadian Cultural Centre
September 30, 2012

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