Un segment circulaire (Révolution IV), 2017
Empyrée (n°, n°2, n°3, n°4), 2016
Sans titre (Les cives), 2014
The notion of time and sound flows, which lies at the heart of Dominique Blais' research, is to be found in his site-specific installation A circular segment (Revolution IV) created for the Lyon Biennale. The spatial arrangement of the circle of light where the ceiling meets the wall suggests that only a portion of the installation is visible: the arc of a circle seems to be interrupted by the wall. The switching on and off of alternate bulbs produces the illusion of circular motion. It thus prolongs the suggestion of a work embedded in the fabric of the building, which we can only partially see. The opacity of the wall acts as a stop, as much as a screen. Dominique Blais’s installation generates a contradiction between our perception and our mental representation of the architecture. Although it is not insoluble, it nevertheless has us to-ing and fro-ing from one scale to another, from one point of view to another, and from one hypothesis to another.
Dominique Blais’s work also addresses the issue of the essential material of art, whether physical or evanescent, playing on our sensory or physical perception of our environment and “making the invisible visible”. Empyrée uses plastic mosaic tiles to create a poetic space comprised of pictures in iridescent, monochrome colours. The colours and reflections change with the time of day and the viewer’s movements, suggesting a glowing, colourful sky. As often in his work, Dominique Blais plays on the contradiction between what we see, and what we hear. His work Untitled (Spring Onions) is a flower bed of blown-glass cymbals in aquatic colours, animated by the rhythm of a gently moving pendulum. Despite their resemblance to metal cymbals, the “spring onions” emit a quite different sound from the one we expect, prompting us to “listen” with our eyes and ears.
With support from Grame – Centre national de la création musicale, Lyon
Sans titre (Melancholia) [Philips 523, robe bleue], 2016
The dismembered turntable in Sans titre (‘Untitled’), Melancholia continues to function, as signalled by the rotating movement of the disc, and the faint crackling sound. The “breathing” of the loudspeaker compounds the bodily analogy hinted at in the work’s title. In Antique medicine, melancholy was associated with bile and seen as an active, physical element in the human body. The turntable’s ostentatious dismemberment is reminiscent of “écorché” paintings, in which flayed corpses reveal their inner workings to students and inquisitive members of the public, searching for the seat of life.
Phases of the moon (Full moon cycle), 2017
Phases of the moon (Full moon cycle) is the daily dispatch from the artist to the Biennale, of a glass representation of the Moon. The first dispatch is dated September 6, 2017; the last, October 5. The work extends from one full moon to the next: a complete lunar cycle. Each parcel is scrupulously identical to the last, with the exception of the stamp, which depicts the moon-phase of the postage date, and therefore changes each day. Dominique Blais’s protocol is a finite project that resonates with the infinite motion of celestial bodies. The delicacy and fragility of the artist’s materials and means (glass and paper) are superimposed on a permanent, inalterable material reality. The completion of the artistic project is dependent on the involuntary collaboration of the postal service, whether the dispatches are lost, shattered, or delivered, to their destination. The work is thus collectively activated, and plays on the interdependence of its constituent elements, in a suspended, dynamic system.
With backing from the Groupe La Poste, associated sponsor of the 14th Biennale de Lyon
© F. Lanternier