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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
13 Dec 97until31 Jan 98

French Kiss

Ghada Amer, Jean-Sylvain Bieth, Bernard Lallemand, Dany Leriche, Patrick Raynaud

555 Hamilton St

A low wooden bed frame is placed on the gallery floor, on which a silver kids crown sits. A set of white mortar and pestle and 14 oyster shells are placed on the floor next to the bed.

The Contemporary Art Gallery and Artspeak Gallery are pleased to present an exhibition that brings five artists from France to Vancouver. In their artwork, these artists move between the terrain of aesthetics and sexual content. While researching this exhibition, it became evident that sexual content in visual art is not widely promoted, addressed or even accepted by many French critics and curators. This is somewhat of a paradox in light of the ubiquity of sexual references and imagery in French film and advertising.

The artists in this exhibition are each clearly concerned with the aesthetic and material aspects of their work, however, underlying these considerations is an exploration in representing sexuality on a psycho/social level. Ghada Amer makes what appear to be lyrical abstract patterns delicately embroidered onto canvas, but these patterns are in reality representations of women in graphic sexual acts that confuse the relationship between high and low culture, between women's work and pleasure. Jean-Sylvain Bieth presents a multimedia installation with references to sexual desire, but it is also a place of solitude and suffering. Bernard Lallemand employs the materials and surfaces of the hospital to make pristine minimalist objects, but their shapes, often erogenous yet devoid of a body, refer to service and constraint, like strange objects of bondage or ritual. Dany Leriche meticulously re-stages famous paintings to create large allegorical photographs, but the central figures are all women whose nudity is confrontational and challenges the role of the viewer's gaze. Patrick Raynaud presents nude figures illuminated by the seductive surface of back-lit transparencies, framed in various coffin-like casings these bodies hover at the edge of eroticism and death.

At Artspeak Gallery: Dany Leriche and Patrick Raynaud. At the Contemporary Art Gallery: Ghada Amer, Jean-Sylvain Bieth and Bernard Lallemand.

This exhibition has been funded by the Association Française d'Action Artistique, and the Consulate General of France in Vancouver.

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