Tails of the Comet
Housed in a darkened room at Centre Clark in Montreal, Claudie Gagnon’s installation, Les queues de cométe (2013), dazzles and enchants with its mysterious sculptural formations and echoing sounds. Test tubes, elastic bands, sprouting potatoes, fishing line and steel wool: consumer detritus is the stuff of Gagnon’s installation. The work comprises seven large chandeliers, each built of a different material. Swaying slowly, the chandeliers are a fusion of the natural and synthetic, cavernous stalactites of the uncanny and the everyday. One of four walls within the room is littered with tiny holes; the light from outside creates a constellation of stars. In addition to the ominous sculptures, the soft sound of chimes can be heard and the gentle fluttering wings of taxidermy butterflies, speckled throughout the installation, create the illusion of life.
Gagnon’s re-imagining of everyday objects skillfully creates an oscillation between that which is familiar and the grotesque, submersing the viewer in an alternative, fictive world. In this world a sort of pseudoscience is the rule: biology, taxonomy, and astronomy hold no currency within the work, as it undermines the rigid systems of scientific classification. Is this perhaps a hint that all such systems are transient and bound by their inherent limits? The borders of science-based knowledge are always policed, however within this work a brief moment of unraveling is experienced- a small reminder that all discursive systems are ultimately limited.
- Natasha Chaykowski