Countdown to madness Inspired by the sampling approach of DJs, Michèle Provost has composed her own visual version of a Top 40 chart, using “samples” from classic rock lyrics of the past four decades in this exhibition entitled It’s only Rock and Roll1. Yet, unlike the traditional Top 40 based on the current ratings, the artist has assembled a random collection of subjective choices and playful considerations, boldly mixing moods and concepts that run the spectrum between assertiveness and doubt. True to form, she creates, once again, a personal universe written in the first person that manages to be simultaneously egocentric and universal. For beyond the initial game of recognition and association, this countdown plunges us deep into our own memories and personal stories by drawing on the shared soundtrack of our lives. The combination of each quote with its carefully selected fabric, font, colour, pattern and design references different time periods and fashions, implying gender, age or social rank, while remaining deliberately open to multiple interpretations. As the viewer proceeds to untangle the references, visual and conceptual associations come into play to fully enhance the complexity of the whole. This marriage of text and visuals alternatively plays on similarities to reinforce the point, or contrasts to create tensions, ultimately engaging a dialogue on the realities and perceptions of our world.,/p> In the end, this is definitely not only Rock and Roll. Provost’s Top 40, while posing as a tribute to the artist’s favorite music, is also a direct testimony to our collective madness. Her very choice of quotes implies a strong dose of social criticism and commitment to fundamental issues, both old and new. Suitably, the large formats are reminiscent of the banners used in protest, which reinforces this general call to awareness and reflection. It’s only Rock and Roll implies a desire for mobilization and change on issues as varied as war, blind consumerism and the condition of the artist, to name a few. This unlikely collection of borrowed voices, singing as one, contribute to a grand production which questions our values, lifestyles, economics, and politics, discreetly pushing us to take a much needed step forward in the advancement of humanity. Overall, It’s only Rock and Roll presents us with the best in music and the worst in human nature. –Suzanne Richard
Thursday, October 13, 2005 to Saturday, November 5, 2005Opening
1. Rolling Stones title.
- Thursday, October 13, 2005