Stéphane Gilot and Sara Létourneau


Un opéra pour demi-sous-sol

RESIDENCY June 18 to August 23, 2018
EXHIBITION August 24 to September 13, 2018
HUIS-CLOS June 22 to 25, 2018
OPENING August 24, 2018, 19h
A COLLABORATION with Tim Brady and the CEM

Tu n’es pas ici au bord du ruisseau
Et ce qui brille ici
N’est pas un vif poisson.
Tu as plongé à la vitesse de l’éclair
Tu as plongé très profond
Tu as plongé loin, très loin :
C’est ici, tout au fond,
Qu’est l’étoile inconnue.

– Kurt Schwitters, Collision, 1927


Collision is an installative, performative and musical research-creation that has made its way through the whole summer. It quickly became, by encounters and spontaneities, the pooling of a small group of artists and organizations. In the spirit of an spacial exquisite corpse, the residence is approached as a research platform favoring the collision of affirmed aesthetic identities and the emergence of a work-event combining a mobile architectural space and a performative work.

The title of the project “Collision” evokes the opera written by Kurt Schwitters in 1927; a Dadaist hijacking of the operatic format that evokes the arrival of a comet and the inevitable end of the world. Our collision is an opera designed for the semi-basement that characterizes the LOBE center; a Space Opera for an interpreter and a musician.

The artists thank Guillaume Thibert for his assistance.

Exhibition description

In an alcove juxtaposing the gallery is presented the video of 28:33 minutes Collision – Sara Létourneau, Stephane Gilot, Tim Brady on a large monitor lined with speakers, facing a large green couch. Next to it is an eponymous 48 pages booklet.
Inside: photos, scores of different instruments (including a music box), sketches and drawings, excerpts from books and works (including Kurt Schwitters’ opera Collision) and text / graphic exercises. The original sketches of architectures found there, entitled “scenographic variations” (18 in total) are mounted in a single display presented in the room.
The video comes from a performance that took place at the opening of the exhibition, so in the gallery itself. The many elements and objects that compose it are still there, although not necessarily where they were left, and whose central “residual” object is a celadon-colored monolith of about 8 feet in height, width and dept in the center of the room. The performance and the video let us know that it is mobile as it is mounted on wheels. Its shape, composed by many angles, is constructed so as to allow climbing with slopes of about 45 degrees inclination, to a promontory block at its summit.
At this precise location is a celadon case of ovoid shape. On the floor and at the foot of the opposite wall is an accumulation of red spherical candies (under the title of the exhibition). The performance and video let us know that they were previously contained in the egg-shaped case.
Still on the ground and not far from these sweets, full geometric shapes were drawn with the help of wax crayons, also red. They are reminiscent of the floor plans of the gallery and the office, but do not perfectly match. On the back wall, a celadon electric organ (Hohner Organetta) is plugged in, playing a chord of notes pressed by the weight of five fishing leads forming a necklace. As a color reminder, two red bells and wax crayons line the instrument.
In front of the wall facing the red candies hangs on the ceiling a garland of small metal bells. A red ribbon (the same one that makes up the garland) goes down to the floor, allowing someone to seize it to ring the bells.
This long red line looks like a long celadon stripe attached to the central mobile architecture, which is actually a music box score that was used in that same place during the performance. This score is also found within the 48 pages booklet.
Finally, two handwritten messages can be read in the gallery. The first was written on a ceiling support beam crossing the gallery on its width. It is written in attached letters, in french: “À quel point la mort doit être proche pour” (How close we must be to death to). The second message, divided into three segments of three lines written backwards (you have to stand outside the building to read them normally), half fills the three windows of the gallery with the following message in french: “Depuis que les étoiles / nous ont quittés / nous nous croyons si grands” (Since the stars / have left us / we believe ourselves so great).


Stéphane Gilot has lived and worked in Montreal since 1996. He is a native of Belgium. He holds an MA in visual and media arts from the University of Québec in Montreal. Gilot’s hybrid constructions and imaginary locales invite us to take part in an array of situations. Dubbed “plans d’évasions”, these constructions are a set of autonomous units that contribute to the construction of the “performative city,” an on-going and evolving project. The presentation of these structures—drawings, watercolors, models, shelters, video components—betray a marked interest in the social organization of cities, in our behavioural habits, and in a reconsidered anthropology of habitat. His architectural installations and video performances have been shown extensively in Canada and abroad (Belgium, France, Germany, USA, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Finland and Brazil).

Artist’s Website.

Sara Letourneau works in visual arts, performance, theater and music. Internationally recognized as a performer, she has presented her performance art actions in more than forty events in Canada, United States, Europe and Asia. Her work in visual art has been presented several times in Quebec, including her installations in duo with Magali Baribeau-Marchand, presented at the Bang Art Center, Langage Plus artists-run center, the FAC of St-Lambert, in several institutional and private galleries and at the Baie-Saint-Paul Contemporary Art Symposium. She has participated in several theatrical projects as an actress, designer or performer (La Rubrique, Le Trillium, Canada Research Chair in Sound Dramaturgy, CEM, Théâtre du Faux-Coffre). Since 2015, she has worked with Guillaume Thibert on a Francophone performative electro-folk song project, Stellaire.

Artist’s Website.

Tim Brady is a composer and guitarist who has created music in a wide range of genres ranging from chamber and orchestral music to electroacoustic works, chamber opera, contemporary dance scores, jazz and free improvisation. He has been commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles and orchestras in North America and Europe including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, New Music Concerts, INA-GRM (Radio-France), the English Guitar Quartet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Esprit Orchestra (CBC), the Philadelphia-based Relâche ensemble, the Australian group Topology, and the British string ensemble The Smith Quartet.

Artist’s Website.

Collision: Un opéra pour demi-sous-sol –  Performance (vidéo intégrale)

Exposition Collision

Photo credits: Tom Core

Photo credits : Sara Létourneau