Garde-fou Prize 2013 – Jean-Michel Caron

May 14, 2013
Always keen to support artistic creation on the part of young artists, Folie/Culture awarded the Garde-fou Prize on May 14 to Jean-Michel Caron, who is completing his Bachelor’s degree in Visual and Media Arts at Université Laval. The prize was awarded for a fourth year to a graduating student whose work is the result of uncommon research and is consistent with Folie/Culture’s mission.

Jean-Michel Caron’s work was displayed during the exhibition of Université Laval’s graduating students from the Visual and Media Arts program. The exhibition, ÉPILOGUE, was presented until May 26 at l’Espace 400e Bell, 400 quai Saint-André in Québec.

The prize is $400 paired with a critical text by Alain-Martin Richard:

We are attracted to this work because it awakens what is known, it shakes the foundations of what we call our “collective unconscious.” Nothing is foreign; it is correct and consistent with the terms of our historical reality. But the figurative space wobbles in its juxtapositions, in its anachronistic and ageographic combinations. Technology, famous animals, larger than life characters live together in unlikely proximity, which lends them new meaning. The beholder is thrust into his own mental universe where personal stories burst into a myriad of interpretations. The paintings function as a catalyst for the narrative. Octopi, bull moose, sumos, Native chiefs, Uncle Sam, Hitler, Buddha, space shuttles, politicians, and philosophers all trying to emerge from nothing, all at the same time.

Mythical figures come together in an unfinished pictoral background. And in this game of detail embedded in the vagueness of the setting, where fuzziness blurs the mnemonic material, the proposal becomes a tale to be invented. By playing on known icons, Jean-Michel Caron gives the illusion of the familiar, but soon enough, the familiar invokes the poison of the question of identity, because by bringing together the obvious, our beliefs that make the world unique and so insignificant are shaken. Letting oneself be taken in by Caron’s paintings is like traveling in a hyper real dream where none of the elements are in the right place. We awaken elsewhere, with the desire to put order back into our memories.

With its Garde-fou prize, Folie/Culture recognizes the efforts of a young artist interested in questions of identity and social structures, concepts that are at the heart of Folie/Culture’s concerns. Our heartfelt congratulations!

The jury was composed of Caroline Gagné, Céline Marcotte and Alain-Martin Richard.

Jean-Michel Caron’s website