The exhibition Françoise Sullivan chorégraphie la matière, to be held at Galerie Simon Blais, debuts a week before the retrospective of her work at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal opens. The overlap in the timing of the two exhibitions posed a real challenge for the gallery, as the number of sculptures by the artist that are not in the holdings of major institutional collections is limited. That situation, however, spurred us on to the rediscovery, restoration and even reactivation of some wonderful works.
From 1959 to 1970, Françoise Sullivan gave up dance to devote the major part of her considerable artistic energies to making sculpture. The exhibition presents twelve works that provide an overview of the decade she spent in the practice of that discipline. Such concepts as duality, simplicity, spontaneity, momentum, balance and instability, which she had previously expressed through dance, thus came to be conveyed in her sculptures. Sullivan particularly focused on the spiral, a motif that seems to have originated with a carved wood piece from 1959. Once we have contemplated her assemblages of metallic surfaces that seem like movements frozen in space, we comprehend that Françoise Sullivan has choreographed the material.
Her use of wood, steel, aluminum, bronze and plexiglas reveals the incredible coherence of this internationally renowned multidisciplinary artist’s work. A seminal work featured in this exhibition is a kinetic sculpture, once again set in motion under the supervision of the artist, with the assistance of the design studio La bande à Paul.