Sylvain Sailly is a Vancouver-based artist. His animations and sculptural installations explore contemporary information systems used by technology industries. The works, which might be constructed as immersive multimedia installations or intimate web-based GIFs or videos, reference the contexts and histories of image-making technologies and the relationships between the screen, the viewer and the material world. Sylvain Sailly has exhibited at Mains d’Œuvres, Paris; Today Art Museum, Beijing; Jakarta Biennale XIII; Vancouver Art Gallery; Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff; Western Front, Vancouver; and 221A, Vancouver.
September 9–October 28, 2017
In The Ormolu Clock a short story by Muriel Spark the narrator is staying in the well kept but modest Guesthouse Lublonitsch. The focus of the story revolves around the narrator’s observation of Frau Lublonitsch, the proprietor of the guesthouse. Despite her rumoured wealth she still maintained the modest dress and work habits more reminiscent to that of a peasant. At one point in the story the narrator catches a momentary glimpse into a room through a door, that up until that moment, had remained locked. The narrator’s description of the magnificence of the room revealed a canopied bed, stacked with plush pillows, highly adorned quilts and Turkish carpets all in hues of deep crimson, dark wood and flashes of gilded gold, a glistening tiled stove and an elaborately decorated clock. The narrator is struck by the opulence of the bedroom, seemingly the antithesis to the rest of the establishment with its humble scrubbed and polished wooden interior. Before closing the door an employee mentions that the room is Frau Lublonitsch’s bedroom.
Anne Low’s new body of work Witch With Comb carries a similar sentiment to this momentary glimpse into the bedroom as described in The Ormolu Clock. Beginning with ingress to The Ugly Room (2017), the shutters at the entrance; viewed from the street, partially opened, they hint at a space lived in. In their form and material the sculptural works within the exhibition consider our relationship to the domestic spaces we inhabit, raising questions about the ways we chose to decorate and adorn these spaces and the objects we chose to live with.
The proprietor of the room is present, but only in the form and material of the sculptural works. We’re clued into the daily rituals and the relationships they’ve formed with these objects within the space. These works were formed by the familiarity and intimacy of their proprietor. Accumulated crumpled notes and papers, unopened letters, a cut out of Durer’s Avarice, sit atop a well worn, discoloured pillow and bed. Their haptic arrangement is as if they’ve been emptied out from the bottom of one’s bag or bottom drawer, temporarily forgotten, only to later be revisited. How do collections of found objects, trinkets and miscellany, placed alongside and within sculptural works, affect each other? Has their former utility been completely relinquished? Is there a sense that they’ve shirked their preciousness, or a need for preservation as they adorn and share the surface of the handwoven fabric. The presence of these sculptural works adheres not only to the private sphere of their owners taste, habits and desires, but also expanded interpretations of objects and materials and our subsequent relationship with them.
ANNE LOW, SYLVAIN SAILLY
October 21, 2017
A formal conversation between Anne Low and Sylvain Sailly about the materialistic and artistic formations of Low’s exhibition Witch With Comb.