Interview With Luis Jacob
Résumé | Extrait
Luis Jacob, Yes, Album. Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob has emerged in the last decade as one of the most influential artists in Canada. Jacob’s work takes as its subject the semantics of existence, perspective and social interaction. Inspired by a complex personal history and often deriving from research, his work encompasses photography, sculpture, video, installations and performance. Jacob is used to bringing together improbable referents, notably in his Albums, which are collections, of various images cut from published sources and assembled in plastic-laminate sheets. Imbued with a strong sense of “visual rhyming,” the Albums use “existing cultural elements to expressively create new meaningful statements.” Timothée Chaillou: In your work, what happens when two pictures are joined or juxtaposed? Luis Jacob: The “Albums” (2000-ongoing) consist of hundreds of images that have been excised from books and magazines, and assembled in plastic-laminate sheets to form narrative “image banks.” The experience of reading an Album entails perceiving relationships between images that criss-cross various sheets in many directions. Each viewer creates narrative links between individual images by means of visual rhymes––when something in one image rhymes with something else in a different image––producing what Ruth Noack and Roger Buergel call a “migration of forms.” The visual forms (colours, shapes, iconography) in one image begin to rhyme with those in adjacent images. This rhyming creates narrative sequences in the Album, as it seems to the viewer that a given form is “migrating”––appearing, reappearing and transforming––from image to image across several sheets. There is also a kind of “migration” that occurs at a higher level: in the interplay and correspondence between the forms of the artwork and the forms of the viewer’s life-experience. T.C.: Do you recycle, appropriate or steal the images? L.J.: When I make an Album, I am recycling images that already exist, although this makes it sound like there is an environmental concern in what I am doing, which, to be honest, is not something I think about with these works. The word “appropriation” relates my work to artistic strategies of the 1980s, which indeed is when I first became interested in contemporary art. Stealing is a legal question, and a lawyer would be better prepared to answer this than I am. I believe that my use of already existing images in the Albums is “linguistic.” Like any language user I am using existing cultural elements that I did not invent, in order to create genuinely new, meaningful expressions. T.C.: Do you feel connected to the collage tradition? L.J.: Certainly the collage tradition is extremely important, because it provides us with expressive forms that now we take for granted. Collage is everywhere: in music, in television editing techniques, on the Web. When it comes to the use of collage in the visual arts, I feel most connected to the work of Thomas Hirschhorn, and to that of the Canadian artist-collectives General Idea (Toronto) and Image Bank (Vancouver). From an historical perspective, I find Malevich’s collage works very inspiring. In Italy, the speculative architecture groups Superstudio and Archizoom have produced amazing collage and montage works; and the architectural practice of a Dutch firm like MVRDV explores the juxtaposition of ‘incompatible’ vernacular forms collaged together within the same building. All these examples definitely fascinate me. T.C.: Who owns the images you use? L.J.: In the Albums, every single “image” is actually two things at once––an image protected by copyright, which is vested in the original creator––and an artifact physically cut out of a book or magazine that belongs to me. T.C.: What are Albums? L.J.: The Albums all have the same form: each one is a collection of various images cut from published sources and assembled in plastic-laminate sheets to compose an extended narrative.
|Auteur :||Timothée Chaillou|
|Titre :||Interview With Luis Jacob|
|Revue :||ETC, Numéro 94, octobre-novembre-décembre 2011, janvier 2012, p. 33-40|
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