Gilles Tarabiscuité

IGBOS no 1


Photograph, UV ink on polystyrene

Original work
91 x 91 cm

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121-131, rue Loring, Drummondville

Description of the work

This work is part of the Appropriation culturelle project in which Gilles Tarabiscuité explores the theme of the Igbo Jews of Nigeria. To conduct his artistic research, he ponders identity models and questions their perceptions. Considering that cultural identities are fluid and shifting, the artist aims to construct and deconstruct them through photography.

IGBOS no 1 stems from Gilles Tarabiscuité’s formal examination to ultimately negate photography’s flatness. He creates, assembles and captures cardboard triangles that form suspended polygons. The dark drippings enable the image to convey a feeling of floating and, at the same time, an impression of materiality. Facial features emerge from the heavy viscous drips. The final result remains relatively abstract, and the issue of the Igbos is not addressed from a documentary perspective.

Gilles Tarabiscuité therefore seeks to elicit questions from the viewer and manipulates the notions of perceiving and receiving the image.

Gilles Tarabiscuité

About the artist

Gilles Tarabiscuité, who holds a PhD in art history, has delved into curiosity cabinets and the history of collecting in the XVI and XVII centuries. Currently focused on an approach that explores photographic construction, the artist’s main interest is contemporary photo. He relies entirely on full-frame and medium-format digital cameras (SONY A7R or Phase One). In addition to his creative practice, Gilles Tarabiscuité teaches multimedia arts and photography in the department of graphic design at Cégep Marie-Victorin.

He has won numerous awards for his photography, including second prize at the 2017 Tokyo International Foto Awards, and his work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions in Québec, Canada and around the world (Japan, France, Germany, Netherlands).

Artistic approach

Perceiving what is real

Gilles Tarabiscuité’s projects consist of a series of photos of the steps to create what he has coined an image-fiction. His artistic approach is at the frontier of a number of movements in photography, including New Objectivity and Straight Photography. First, seeking to create shots as objectively and realistically as possible, the artist factually registers reality. Then, through an image-fiction, he stages a composite image. In the end, the three-dimensional rendering of his work remains rather abstract. However, through successive interventions, he then tends to move closer to pure photography.

Of his approach, Tarabiscuité has said: “Simply put, I redirect objective photographic elements to create a result that is overly ornate but also potentially visually plausible as a shot of what is real to recreate an image that may—or may not—be perceived as a trace of what was.”

Gilles Tarabiscuité also aims to produce three-dimensional effects with an avowed intention to free himself from the flatness associated with the photographic medium. To materialize three dimensions, he first works to build triangular shapes he later assembles into polygons. On the polygons, whose volumes occupy the space, he applies and affixes additional layers of photographs taken earlier and then captures the work again. Like visual layers that keep stacking up, the perspectives intertwine, accumulate and combine to create new visual effects. The artist’s attachment to showcasing triangular forms stems from his fascination with architect and designer Buckminster Fuller (Montréal Biosphère, the US pavilion for Expo 67). Tribute or inspiration, the triangle cuts across much of the artist’s work, enabling him to express three-dimensionality.

Like the multiple layers and dimensions that emerge from his formal work, the themes that drive Gilles Tarabiscuité are anything but one-dimensional, as he explores ideas ranging from immigration to religious symbols, gender and sexual diversity, the environment, contemporary art and cultural appropriation. He is especially interested in ethical issues and the controversies that arise from these multidimensional polysemous matters.

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