Marjolaine Bourgeois

The Work : Réflexion-noixelféR
The Subject : L’Exposition des miroirs (1976)

L’Exposition des miroirs (1976)

In 1976, the exhibition of the graduating class in visual art, that was to be held at the Galerie d’art at the Université de Moncton, was cancelled. The exhibition was a conceptual group installation made out of mirrors. Individual creation was set aside in favour of an artistic creation that was a reflection of society. Seen as an affront to authority or a bad joke, L’Exposition des miroirs was closed to the public. Roused by this attack on freedom of expression, the Centre culturel de Moncton invited the artists to present an exhibition in 1977. This exhibition, 11 + 2, was a major success: it led to the birth of Galerie Sans Nom and began a movement of experimental and conceptual art in Moncton.

L’Exposition des miroirs: BAV BAVE 1976 (detail) presented as part of La vie étudiante : 50 ans de vie étudiante à l’Université de Moncton (2013). Photo : Mathieu Léger

Réflexion-noixelfèR

Marjolaine Bourgeois’ interactive artwork takes the form of a window with a mirror in place of the glass. This window is equipped with adjustable vertical blinds on which images of an outdoor landscape are printed on one side and embroidered images of everyday people are found on the other. The viewer's experience is intimate and personalized in that his or her reflection and that of the printed images, which alternates depending on how the blinds are moved, are perceptible only to the viewer.

Réflexion - noixelfèR, 2018, window frame, mirror, vertical blinds, image transfers and embroideries

This work, a window of reflection, has a double meaning: first, the image of the observer that is reflected back, and second, the thoughts prompted by experiencing the work. Like the original concept behind the L’Exposition des miroirs in 1976, the work incorporates the viewer, reminding us that art (artists and their works) is a reflection of society. Bourgeois thus overturns the function of the window, which is usually used to look outside, and provides a framed point of view.

Here the window becomes an invitation to look at oneself and one’s context and to question the coexistence of the true and faithful image of oneself and the fictions proposed by the artist. Unlike the minimalist exhibition of 1976, which had mirrors adorned with labels bearing the inverted names of the participating artists (as in a mirror), Bourgeois’ work is invested with her diverse know-how and loaded with images.

The artist would like to thank Mathieu Vautour, Jean-Marc Dugas and an anonymous artisan for their contributions to the project.

Réflexion - noixelfèR, 2018, window frame, mirror, vertical blinds, image transfers and embroideries

Like the original concept behind the L’Exposition des miroirs in 1976, the work incorporates the viewer, reminding us that art (artists and their works) is a reflection of society.

Marjolaine Bourgeois

Since 2011, Marjolaine Bourgeois’ artistic practice has merged textiles and printmaking. Bourgeois assembles images from how-to manuals, representing the manufactured, to interrogate the phenomena of overabundance and obsolescence – of images as well as objects. On the one hand, she takes a critical, humorous, and poetic look at the current omnipresence of consumption today. On the other, by experimenting and adapting traditional techniques, she creates unusual juxtapositions. By reinterpreting and redeploying these techniques, she modernizes a knowledge traditionally associated with women and sustains it.

Marjolaine Bourgeois was born in the Magdalen Islands and lives and works in Moncton. She completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Université de Moncton in 1980. Her work is regularly exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, and she has also participated in several artist residencies in New Brunswick, Quebec, and abroad.