Nos Bergers, presented during the exhibition Politiques de l’Empathie – Aires libres, Montreal, Canada.
On Ste-Catherine street between the corner of Papineau and St-Hubert.
from April 30th up to September 7th, 2015.
Curator: Aseman Sabet
The anomalies, discontinuities and irregularities in Patrick Bérubé’s works participate in the primary motivation of inciting inquiry. Used to public spaces, the artist uses the specificity of the exhibition area as benchmark for his sculptures and installations, in his process as in the formal and conceptual parameters of the work in its finished form. Often tinged with irony, his projects reflect the futility of our desires and the feelings of vulnerability and powerlessness that plague our everyday lives. With the intent of arousing conflicting emotions, the artist adopts strategies of representation destined to raise doubts, forcing his audience to solve the apparent discrepancies that are purposely present in his work.
Nos Bergers is a binary structure made of two columns topped with two bright blue sheep who are placed face to face, on which stand two characters of the same blue, joined at their long nose. The Pinocchio reference, although obvious, is immediately countered by the strong symbolic animal presence. The well-dressed shepherds are seemingly herding their obedient sheep to falsehood. Their common nose is somewhat stiff, appearing as a stick (the shepherd’s crook?), much too straight to be natural. Ii is a context where empathy and a feeling of protection should prevail, but they are replaced by a desire for power and the use of lies. The question that follows is: who are these sheep? No need to answer here…
The dual relation between the identical blank faced protagonists, in extension to the mirror effect of the whole piece, is also up for consideration. What is the relationship between empathy and yearning for another’s possessions? What to make of identity, or the loss of, during a strong empathetic experience? Should we erase a part of our individuality to better project ourselves in the Other? The chromatic playfulness and the simple duplication strategy put in place by the artist hold an array of questions close to philosophical, or even ontological, inquiry. Once more, the audience is invited to delve deeper.