Friday, July 3, 2009 to Sunday, August 2, 2009

    • Friday, July 3, 2009
    Fait Maison: Home is where the art is

    House Warming Party: Friday, July 3 at 7:00 pm
    Moving Party & Sale: Sunday, August 2 at 2 pm

    Initiated by Thomas Grondin, Fait Maison was conceived of as a party, a laboratory and a performance space. Performers Grondin and Hélène Lefebvre had discussed the need for a comfortable and supportive space where artists could try out new performance work; so in August 2005 Grondin opened his home to friends and fellow artists for the first Fait Maison. Over the years Fait Maison has grown to incorporate a vast array of performance artists both emerging and established as well as local and national. On selected evenings three or four times a year an audience is invited to a party in which performances happen at different moments and spaces in and around Grondin’s home. April of this year marked the twelfth Fait Maison. The artists in the exhibition at Gallery 101 represent the core group of performers associated with Fait Maison: Thomas Grondin, Hélène Lefebvre, Theo Pelmus and Cara Tierney.

    Each Fait Maison transforms Grondin’s house; the domestic spaces of the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom etc. are used in a variety of new ways. The performers and their work are diverse yet many of the performances have played with the spatial and conceptual dynamics of the house as home. For Grondin, his grandmother’s home in which he now lives is linked to childhood memories, family and intimacy – things he attempts to draw on for his own practice. Tierney often deconstructs private acts associated with the female body and conceptions of beauty, sometimes using Grondin’s bathroom on the first floor, sometimes reenacting these rituals in other parts of the house. Tierney not only blurs the boundaries of private and public space but also challenges the physical limits of her own body. Most recently, Lefebvre has explored how everyday domestic tasks, like sweeping the floor or watering the plants, can work to break down expectations and barriers between the audience and the performer and asks us to consider the social implications of this bridging. Yet Fait Maison performances also resist the domesticity of the house. For example, Pelmus often chooses to perform in a small three-walled room in the basement where video, an integral part of his performance work, can be projected clearly in the space. His work is concerned with penetrating the surface of a projected image: film flesh turns to liquid. Elements are in a constant transformative state, perhaps reflective of Pelmus’ interest in the transitory and fluid nature of identity itself: home is always somewhere else. The house on Mousette, Grondin’s home, offers a variety of sites for interaction and the artists involved in Fait Maison seem to walk a precarious line between the seemingly domestic comforts of the space while also presenting memorable work that stimulates and challenges its audience. 

    Much performance art demands that the viewer take an active role and because of the intimacy at Grondin’s home this sometimes feels uncomfortable. Performers and performances ask that you have no expectations of what you are about to see, do not always make it clear where or when the performances are happening – sometimes they are next to you on the couch - and occasionally ask you to physically engage with the performers. Recently Grondin wrote on body parts of his audience which, due to their location, could only be read to them by others. The activities in the house shift and tease our conceptions of space and bodies.

    Inviting Fait Maison to Gallery 101 is a bold challenge and Fait Maison have responded by transforming the gallery space, rearranging and remaking the gallery into a “home” for their first collaborative project. The boundaries between the everyday, the performance space and the event are provocatively blurred as Fait Maison invite the viewer to watch and perhaps engage in the space in which these artists live, breathe, and sometimes perform. Conceptually, the remodeling of the white cube breaks down our notions of public and private and confronts our expectations of the activities that we associate with each of these seemingly separate spheres. Fait Maison asks us to think about how we might distinguish between the performance of our everyday lives and identities and those performances planned for a gallery?

    During this month, you might catch a glimpse of Grondin working on his Master’s thesis or playing a game of scrabble with Tierney. Or perhaps you might be invited to participate in the soccer game organized by Pelmus, join in Tierney’s sleepover, or have dinner with food made from Lefebvre’s garden installed on the back patio of the gallery. Over the course of the month, the space will shift and change as the artists come and go, plan events, and invite you to view their current work. You can also engage with their past work through documentation videos, photos, objects and stories. Fait Maison present their home-made art at Gallery 101 where you are invited to touch, linger and interact. 

    -Anna Khimasia