État des lieux

Lucie Rocher


État des lieux unfolds as a series of photographic micro-sites; a display of construction sites randomly observed by Lucie Rocher in different cities. Through this formal and material research, the artist explores the features and nuances of the built environment, the urban standardization and transformations resulting from the never-ending deconstruction and immediate reconstruction of increasingly oversized buildings. In addition to these towering structures surrounded by lattices of precarious scaffolding, Rocher also photographs ‘test plots’ in her studio — revelations of her empirical processes developed during artist residencies. The aim is to show the transitory state of these spaces and make them visible in a different way. This dual vision of construction and creation sites gives us the opportunity to grasp Rocher's ambulatory and preparatory reality from a variety of viewpoints. The artist takes analog and digital photography out of its traditional confines through transgressive methods of production and (re)presentation.

For her exhibition at AXENÉO7, Lucie Rocher manipulates and reconstructs the architectural components of La Filature building through illusionist effects, visual stimuli, material machinations and unusual, versatile structural devices. The gallery spaces resemble urban construction sites, due in part to the architectural interventions and the conventional and waste materials on which the photographs are displayed. Integral to these supports, the images create their own variations of spatialization and reveal unexpected formal tensions.

Inside the windowed gallery, a huge photograph, displayed on a light box behind which a fluorescent light hangs, is placed directly on top of its shipping crate. This image comes from the material of a post-residency exhibition at the Palais des Paris in the town of Takasaki near Tokyo, Japan, in 2018. The photograph stands prominently in front of the row of windows like a mise en abyme (image within an image) of its subject and creates an opening, an overflowing that closes the temporal and visual gap between Japan and Gatineau. The painted lines on the wall reinforce the gallery’s architectural components — windows and beams — and add to those already present in the image. Alongside this piece, a 360-degree camera image is printed onto a round mirror. This photographic tondo(circular art) reflects the experiments conducted by Rocher in this space in June during a residency at the DAÏMÔN production centre.

In the subsequent space, the two- and three-dimensional works skillfully manipulate circulation and contemplation. Once inside the gallery, visitors are presented with images exhibited on precisely constructed devices. Coloured interstices as well as divider manipulations evoke the power balance between the gallery space and the works. Hanging or leaning against the wall, sometimes placed on the floor, these installations do not delineate a given path. In a corner of the gallery, a photo mock-up illustrates the trompe-l'oeil (deceptive illusion) principle: a building photographed by Rocher in Gatineau is reconstructed into an illusory geometry through its Plexiglas display medium. A huge shipping crate/base has been placed in the opening that usually connects the galleries. The variation in scale radically alters its perception, interaction and reception, while revealing its formal potential, incidentally reminiscent of the constructions of Simone Forti or Robert Morris. The addition of fluorescent lighting to the strictly architectural approach highlights this particularity of the site.

État des lieux builds associations between the commonplace and the mundane. Through a photographic process that constructs our relationship to urban architecture and transitory creative spaces in a different way, Lucie Rocher enhances the presence of these conditioned and random sites that usually go unnoticed.

— Jean-Michel Quirion, director

Lucie Rocher has been living and working in Montreal since 2013. She obtained her master's degree in Visual Arts at La Sorbonne (Paris, 2011) and recently completed a PhD in Art Studies and Practices at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Maison de la Culture Frontenac cultural centre (Montreal, 2017), VU (Quebec City, 2018) and Occurrence (Montreal, 2019). She has also participated in several international residencies (Iceland, 2015, Quebec, 2016, 2019 and Japan, 2019). She was artist-in-residence at Centre de production DAÏMÔN (Gatineau) in June 2020 to prepare for her solo show at AXENÉO7 from September 2020.