Ceal Floyer

Ceal Floyer
February 16 – May 16, 2011

Exhibition view

Ceal Floyer, 2011
DHC Art Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Mind The Step, 2006

Ready-made signs affixed to staircase

Installation on existing stairs 

Several identical brass signs saying "Mind the step" in French are installed on each step of a staircase. A danger of stumbling may be generated by wanting to read the signs, thwarting the advice to use caution. It is also the repetition that empties the signs of their usefulness as warning. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Ink On Paper (Set of 30), 2009 (left)

Felting pen on blotting paper

The tips of felttip pens are suspended on a sheet of blotting paper. By a process of osmosis, the felttip pens are slowly emptied, the pigments spreading on the paper.

 

Half Full, 1999

C-print, mounted on Dibond

A glass halfway filled with water could also be halfway emptied of it. Only the title of the work gives an indicator to which one it is, referring to the subjective outlook of the person assessing it.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Half Full, 1999 (left)

C-print, mounted on Dibond

A glass halfway filled with water could also be halfway emptied of it. Only the title of the work gives an indicator to which one it is, referring to the subjective outlook of the person assessing it.

 

Stop Motion, 2008 (right)

C-print covered with matt foil mounted on aluminium Dibond, 2 parts

Together the two parts make up the well-known 1936 image by the pioneer of stop-motion photography Harold Edgerton. By splitting the image in two, the artist confounds the observer’s expectations of cause and effect.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Overgrowth, 2004

Large-format slide, projector, AV stand

A slide projection of a bonsai tree is scaled to the size of a large wall. When a bonsai is arranged in a garden with similarly scaled plants it appears as a full-size tree from a distance. However, the scale of Overgrowth has nothing to do with perspective or relative size. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

From left to right:

 

Overgrowth, 2004

Large-format slide, projector, AV stand

A slide projection of a bonsai tree is scaled to the size of a large wall. When a bonsai is arranged in a garden with similarly scaled plants it appears as a full-size tree from a distance. However, the scale of Overgrowth has nothing to do with perspective or relative size. 

 

Half Full, 1999

C-print, mounted on Dibond

A glass halfway filled with water could also be halfway emptied of it. Only the title of the work gives an indicator to which one it is, referring to the subjective outlook of the person assessing it.

 

Things, 2009

25 audio CDs, 25 CD players, amplifiers, cables, 50 speakers, wood

The tracks played are looped in their original length but emptied of all content except for the randomly appearing word “thing”. The plinth, a classical form of presentation and bearer of objects, becomes the body of resonance for the abstracted idea of a thing, in an environment where concrete things are materially absent.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Things, 2009

25 audio CDs, 25 CD players, amplifiers, cables, 50 speakers, wood

The tracks played are looped in their original length but emptied of all content except for the randomly appearing word “thing”. The plinth, a classical form of presentation and bearer of objects, becomes the body of resonance for the abstracted idea of a thing, in an environment where concrete things are materially absent.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Working Title (Digging), 1995
CD, CD player, 2 hi-fi speakers, amplifier, cabling
The sound work is created with two speakers: one plays the sounds of a shovel digging, the other, at some distance, the sound of the earth landing. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

From left to right: 

 

Light Switch (Canadian), 1992–2008

35 mm slide, slide mask, slide projector with 70-120 mm lens

A single slide projects a life-size image of a domestic light switch against a white wall. The Light Switch series is a key to Floyer’s oeuvre, characterized by a deceptive simplicity, sense of humour, and awareness of the absurd. 

 

Highlight, 2006

Light projection, projector, balloon, metal mask

A balloon is lying on the floor. A small trapezoid is projected onto it, creating the illusion that light from a different source might be the source of this reflection.

 

Reversed, 2005

Mounted C-print

The sign “Reserved” is formed in mirror writing. At first glance, it appears that the artist has simply reversed the text. But she turned around the writing and thus playfully demonstrates the complex process of comprehension of linguistic meaning.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Door, 1995
Light projection/installation, 35mm metal mask slide, slide projector

A fine horizontal strip of light is projected onto the bottom of a door. The number of the slide projectors is equivalent to the number of doors in the exhibition, connecting public with private spaces.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Door, 1995
Light projection/installation, 35mm metal mask slide, slide projector

A fine horizontal strip of light is projected onto the bottom of a door. The number of the slide projectors is equivalent to the number of doors in the exhibition, connecting public with private spaces.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Things, 2009 (left)

25 audio CDs, 25 CD players, amplifiers, cables, 50 speakers, wood

The tracks played are looped in their original length but emptied of all content except for the randomly appearing word “thing”. The plinth, a classical form of presentation and bearer of objects, becomes the body of resonance for the abstracted idea of a thing, in an environment where concrete things are materially absent.

 

1–25 (French Version), 2003 (right) 

DVD, DVD player, projector, video projection, silent

The value of each number dictates how long it will be shown on the screen (i.e., ‘five’ is shown for five seconds). The high number is based on the frame rate per second of the country’s television broadcast standard at the time the work was created. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Things, 2009 (left)

25 audio CDs, 25 CD players, amplifiers, cables, 50 speakers, wood

The tracks played are looped in their original length but emptied of all content except for the randomly appearing word “thing”. The plinth, a classical form of presentation and bearer of objects, becomes the body of resonance for the abstracted idea of a thing, in an environment where concrete things are materially absent.

 

1–25 (French Version), 2003 (right) 

DVD, DVD player, projector, video projection, silent

The value of each number dictates how long it will be shown on the screen (i.e., ‘five’ is shown for five seconds). The high number is based on the frame rate per second of the country’s television broadcast standard at the time the work was created. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Double Act, 2006

Photographic gobo, theater lamp

While the projection appears to be a spotlight shone on a curtain, it is actually a beam of light projecting the image of the curtain.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Overhead Projection, 2006
Incandescent light bulb on overhead projector
The image of a clear glass bulb is thrown up high up onto the top of the wall where it touches the ceiling. The projected image of the bulb thus gives the illusion of hanging from the ceiling to illuminate the room. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Overhead Projection, 2006
Incandescent light bulb on overhead projector
The image of a clear glass bulb is thrown up high up onto the top of the wall where it touches the ceiling. The projected image of the bulb thus gives the illusion of hanging from the ceiling to illuminate the room. 

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Trash, 2005

Projection, installation

The image is taken from an ordinary computer operating system. The symbolic image is given a life-size presence, as if standing on the floor in the exhibition space and the wall standing in as the 'emptied' desktop.

 

Photo © Richard-Max Tremblay

Ceal Floyer

Ceal Floyer
DHC Art Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal
February 16 – May 16, 2011
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Ceal Floyer’s art displays a clarity of thought within elegantly concise presentations. Engaged and active viewing is typically required—and then rewarded—in the artist’s minimalist-conceptualist amalgams. Her work, which resonates in a gently philosophical manner long after the rst encounter, often draws attention to neglected everyday objects and situations. Floyer thinks of her art as self-reflexive: not necessarily about anything outside of the work itself, but focused instead on the context and conditions of its production and display. What at first may appear very reduced, expands with contemplation. Floyer has the uncanny ability to coax and activate entirely logical, yet overlooked, associations from dull and inert objects. Drawing on the tradition of the ready-made and conceptual art, an interesting disproportion is created between the almost-not-there form the works take and the many ideas and perceptual shake-ups they generate. Floyer lays open the structural character of things, as well as reflecting on the linguistic basis of signification. She often takes objects and situations to an extreme logical conclusion. These mental deliberations can sometimes achieve a haunting poetry. Titles, therefore, always play a key role, often referring to both the subject and the process of a piece.

 

For instance, Light Switch—a key and by now classic work—consists of the image of a light switch projected in scale from a 35mm slide on the wall, just where you would normally expect to find it. Similarly, Double Act is an inward, thwarted spectacle where nothing ever happens, but where much is going on. Consisting of a spotlight directed at a bare wall and floor, it projects but also illuminates a stage and a red curtain, the light source doubling as the image source. The DHC/ART exhibition also provides an opportunity to see a reconfiguration of Things, first shown at KW Institute for Contemporary Arts, Berlin, in 2009. Two dozen or so plinths, devoid of objects, stand in an empty room each emitting the word “thing” at different intervals in real time— the only audible section from otherwise silenced pop songs. Apart from the plinths themselves, however, no ‘things’ are present in the room. The deceptive simplicity of Floyer’s work is informed by her particular sense of humour and awareness of the absurd. Through subtle interventions, the artist uses double-takes and shifting points of view to encourage viewers to renegotiate their perception of the world. In the words of Jeremy Millar, her work “looks simple; it often seems as if there is nothing to see. Yet these works can lead us in important directions, allowing us to consider the nature of representation, or the difference between art and non-art.” Floyer asks us to accept this challenge. 

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