New Espace, New Perspectives

With issue 107, Espace begins a new cycle. While staying true to its former objective as a contemporary art magazine focussed on sculpture, Espace now turns to the future. Thus, as noted by Serge Fisette, the magazine’s editor from June 1987 to December 2013, the adventure—or odyssey, to borrow the title of the exhibition that celebrated the magazine’s 25th anniversary and the publication of its 100th issue1 —continues with many projects on the horizon.2

From the outset, the magazine’s logo has been identified with sculpture. To be sure, through varied usages that have evolved over time, the word sculpture has developed extraordinary evocative power. From a philosophical standpoint, it points to creative subjectivity and aesthetics of the self. Yet in art history, it refers above all to the various forms of works made in space. Because it can signify a conception of art far removed from the range of practices exhibited in different spaces today, the word sculpture may appear limited in an art world that is often multidisciplinary. To remedy this, we felt it was important to change the magazine’s visual signature. Henceforth, with an emphasis on the notion of space, the new logo will advocate the diversity of art practices related to sculpture, installation or any other art form associated with spatiality.

This new visual identity has also encouraged us to reassess the graphic layout of our publication. Dominique Mousseau, a graphic designer known for his many accomplishments in art publishing, has designed the new format, paper stock, typeface and layout of Espace. From an editorial standpoint, this adventure goes hand in hand with the new editorial team of Mélanie Boucher, Peter Dubé, Bénédicte Ramade and Bernard Schütze. Moreover, it takes concrete form in the publication of three issues per year instead of four. Three publications will enable us to produce a more sizeable magazine, thus offering increased visibility to Canadian and Quebecois artists, as well as contribute to the energy of the local art milieu.

As in the past, each publication will offer a collection of essays dedicated to a topic in aesthetics. We will also continue to publish a column on art in public space. Henceforth entitled “Public Art and Urban Practices,” Luc Lévesque, Josiane Poirier and Aseman Sabet will write the column successively. In addition to exhibition reviews, the magazine will regularly publish articles on large-scale events, such as national or international biennales, in its Events section. Lastly, interviews with artists, curators and art historians will always be welcomed in order to stimulate reflection on the future of creation in an ever-changing cultural context.

The theme of our first collection of essays, which will be presented over two issues, is the following question: is it really possible to rethink sculpture and, if yes, how? The idea of trying to define sculpture according to new paradigms is not new. In her book Passages in Modern Sculpture3 Rosalind Krauss analysed the displacement at work in modern sculpture by examining the participation of viewers and their potential experience in relation to different works. In fact, as a result of its “expanded field,” sculpture opens its doors to new ways of intervening in both places of art and natural spaces, making it difficult to maintain a precise definition of what sculpture is today. During the 1980s and again in the 2000s, this stumbling block has appeared to revive the importance of questioning the future of modern or contemporary sculpture, particularly through international publications and exhibitions.4

The Rethinking Sculpture collection of essays is certainly not intended to rival these various publications. More modestly, the goal is to provide several perspectives on certain aspects of sculpture as it is practised today. What does sculpting currently mean for new generations of artists? How do those who use their talent in this medium distinguish themselves in their work from all that has been created since the 1970s? Furthermore, are we restricting ourselves to an overly limited lexicon by using an old, even classical vocabulary that is rooted in art history, to reconsider the sculptural gesture? How can we rethink sculpture through means other than an artistic language that at times distorts the artist’s activity? What are artists saying today when they express themselves through sculpture?

In the first section, Sylvie Coellier offers a brief history of sculpture from the 1960s to the 1970s, particularly its development in what Rosalind Krauss called its “expanded field.” Coellier then considers the work of several artists, including Tatiana Trouvé, Guillaume Leblon and Thea Djordjadze, in order to examine their positions relative to that of Krauss. Claire Kueny’s article deals with the notion of the projected shadow in sculpture. Though present throughout its history, the concept of shadows
has seldom been analyzed. In order to reflect on the particular form of “shadow sculptures,” Kueny looks at certain works by the duo Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Mac Adams and mounir fatmi. Lastly, an analysis chiefly inspired by the ideas of Gilles Deleuze explores several works by a young generation of artists—Francis Arguin, Chloé Desjardins and Dominic Papillon—in order to focus on what could be called aesthetics of repetition.

Translated by Oana Avasilichioaei

 


  1. The Espace Odyssey exhibition took place at Maison de la culture du Plateau-Mont-Royal (Montreal) from June 16 to September 2, 2012 (curators: Serge Fisette and Nicolas Mavrikakis).
  2. Editorial, Espace, no. 106, Winter 2013-2014, p. 5.
  3. Krauss, Rosalind. Passages in Modern Sculpture. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1981.
  4. See in particular Qu’est-ce que la sculpture moderne? [What is Modern Sculpture?] Exhibition catalogue (MNAM: Georges Pompidou, 1986); Qu’est-ce que la sculpture contemporaine? [What is Contemporary Sculpture?] (Beaux-arts Magazine, 2008); Sculpture Today (Phaidon, 2008); Vitamin 3D, New Perspectives in Sculpture and Installation (Phaidon, 2009), and Sculpture Now (Thames & Hudson, 2013).