Thematic 2020


Homo sapiens has been shaping the world for over fifty thousand years. In the course of evolution and revolutions, aggressions and regressions, he is the sole inhabitant to have climbed to the summit; he is sometimes astonished by the precarity of his constructions and the fragile state of his host planet.

Economic, political, cultural and philosophical systems, gradually developed by humans to make the universe habitable and orderly, tread as never before on shaky ground in the face of collapsing ecosystems, social tensions and antagonistic entrenchments. Understood as natural laws or an ineluctable march towards so-called progress, these systems are nevertheless born from ideas, beliefs and desires that only imagination can voluntarily and infinitely distress, destroy and reinvent.

Made to believe or believe

Thrust beyond excessiveness, stretched to the breaking point, hegemonic systems generate monsters. Overconsumption, environmental crisis, migratory waves, extreme iniquities and despotism are only a few of the new manifestations of this monstrosity. Gazing blankly at our screens, at the mercy of a whirlwind of news, real or false, are we not overwhelmed by a sense of powerlessness? Or are we unyielding witnesses, perfectly cognizant of the plasticity of ideas and the power of imagination, both already moving towards individual and collective transformations of society? It all depends on what we believe in. The verb believe is ambiguous, it does not presuppose verifiable facts. Since the dawn of times, credulity, credence and credibility have competed on equal terms.

Believe as source of action or inaction

Fortunately, the planet is not a homogeneous mass; it continues to react to local and globalised realities while remaining a space of persistence and renewal of aspirations; it provides reasons to rethink collective and individual life.

The 2020 edition of the National Biennial of Contemporary Sculpture wishes to echo the desires, convictions and beliefs - regardless of how contradictory, real or invented, transitory, permanent, destructive, unassertive or mobilising they are – that take shape behind our earthly organisational modes. Action or inertia, gatherings of every kind or refractory isolation, our reactions are on the whole motivated by beliefs. To scrutinize the objects and the intricate patterns of these beliefs through a diversity of points of views and strategies, is to explore the territory of artists who are willing, at this point in time, to actualize the imaginary, either personal or collective. To Believe leads to a reflection on the one and the value of the us in this world. This reflection is a multidimensional and limitless investigative enterprise.

Text written by Dominique Laquerre and Julie Alary Lavallée, curators, members of the artistic orientation and selection committee of BNSC 2020.

Dominique Laquerre is director of the Centre d’art Jacques-et-Michel-Auger, artist and independent curator. Julie Alary Lavallée is general coordinator of Studio XX, independent curator and art historian.

Text inspired by discussions between the curators and Audrey Labrie, artistic director of the BNSC and Art Historian and Lynda Baril, general director of the BNSC.

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