April 6 to June 29, 2019
Originally from Québec City, Samuel Roy-Bois is based in the Okanagan, where he is assistant Professor of Sculpture in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus and heads an interdisciplinary lab for creative exchange The Research Studio for Spaces and Things. Roy-Bois’ artistic practice involves site-specific installations concerned with the conceptual and material definition of space and the ways the built environment contributes to our understanding of the world. Through sculpture, photography and installation, Roy-Bois examines the relational network of objects and their historical resonance: How do we define ourselves through the creation of structures? Is it possible to conceive of one’s existence outside any material linkage? We make things, but are things making us?
In his 2013 to 2015 touring exhibition Not a new world, just an old trick, Roy Bois built a large-scale model of an art gallery inside an art gallery to house objects from the collections of various art institutions, selected by the artist, as a site to question the value and role of the objects populating an institutional collection. He has also created an interactive soundproof rehearsal space, Ugly Today, Beautiful Tomorrow, 2009, within the Vancouver Art Gallery, equipped with drums, a bass, two guitars and amplifiers, all of which visitors were invited to play. The sound from this space was then piped into the gallery’s lobby. In a more recent project looking at the effect of architecture on collective memory, La pyramide, Roy-Bois reconstructed the previous architectural footprint of the artist run centre Œil de Poisson before it moved into its current location 20 years ago and invited two artists to invite two artists and so on, until 175 artists contributed artwork to fill the space in a kind of artistic Ponzi scheme. In these projects Roy-Bois foregrounds the role of the viewer by shifting the focus away from the object and bringing attention to the gallery context.
For his new body of work at the Kamloops Art Gallery, Roy-Bois has created an ensemble of constructed and found objects that consider our contemporary material knowledge. His architectural structures act as vessels for everyday objects, pointing to the ways in which human experience is inextricably linked to manufactured things and spaces and how the greater meaning of our existence is mediated through things. Referencing what the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard called “hyperreality,” a mode of existence based on the mediated real where fiction and non-fiction are indistinguishable, Roy Bois’ sculptures and photographs of momentary sculptures that exist only long enough to document, reveal our tenuous relationship with the real. Through improvisational sculptures that re-present everyday objects in new ways, Roy-Bois’ practice works within an economy of means, blurring the boundaries between art and life and shifting ordinary objects and spaces into a poetic dimension – potentially shifting the viewer’s perception.
Curated by Charo Neville, Curator, Kamloops Art Gallery
View images of the exhibition here.
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