Curated and presented by FADO in the context of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
In partnership with L’Ecart Lieu D’Art Actuel
Do you have a special relationship with your sculptures? What if they were the ones performing? How would they do it?
This installation-performance is inspired by the Canadian investigative technique called “Mr. Big,” which allows an undercover police officer to obtain a confession from a suspect of a serious, unsolved crime. Led by shape-shifting characters, living sculptures, dual weapons and a televisual soundscape, M. Gros [Mr. Big] tackles identity issues relating to surveillance, infiltration, idea theft and copying; but moves beyond classic investigative games with a narrative that pays special attention to a contemporary art ecosystem.
M. Gros [Mr. Big] takes many forms. A performative version was presented at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines (Montréal), Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (Paris), La Capella (Barcelona); and has appeared as an installation-performance at Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain (Montréal). In addition to being presented by FADO at the 7a*11d festival in Septeber, M. Gros [Mr. Big] will also be presented at la Biennale d’art performative de Rouyn-Noranda, Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben- Cohen (Moncton), Festival Actoral (Montréal, Usine C) and at the Théâtre du Trillium (Ottawa).
Reflection on M. Gros [Mr. Big] by Antoine Charbonneau-Demers
Geneviève and Matthieu bring me into their studio. They take my coat and hang it up. Monsieur Gros and Monsieur Gros are in the checkroom with a coat hanger, a cotton candy machine and a rope-knife. There is no shortage of evidence, in fact, that’s all there is; everywhere, evidence that an artist’s life is violent.
Crime often comes from within. Geneviève speaks over Matthieu, then he reproaches her for expressing herself poorly. They lay themselves bare. They love each other, and above all, they say the same thing. Two big babies, one united family. M. Gros is a story of appetite, of thirst, of excess, but it is also the story of a duo of artists who emancipate themselves. The large painting, they knocked it down because it oppressed them so much.
Since I have known them, I feel like taking everything from them. Sometimes, alone at home, I imitate Geneviève’s eloquence, I invoke Matthieu’s quiet strength. They are so big.
While they are discussing wiretapping, I record them. Geneviève confides to me that she dreams of writing an investigative script, but that she is unable to do so. Immediately, I say to myself: I will write one for them. I infiltrate their workshop, I will be inspired by their characters, I will slip into their skin. Then they say, “We’ll find the copycat artist, and if we have to, we’ll look for him among the members.” They set me up. That’s the beginning of Operation Mister Big.
7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
September 6–10, 2022