Series of exhibitions marking the end of the cycle The Burden of Objects
With the collaboration of the Galt Museum and Archives, the Windsor’s Community Museum and the Musée de la civilisation
Lethbridge, Windsor, Quebec City — Canada
September 27th to November 23rd, 2014, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AL
Curators: Ryan Doherty and Christina Cuthbertson
SOctober 3rd, 2015 to January 17th, 2016, Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, ON
Curator: Srimoyee Mitra
February 4th to April 17th, 2016, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, QC
Curator: Bernard Lamarche
Raphaëlle de Groot : Rencontres au sommet
Publication accompanying the exhibitions held at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Windsor and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
2016, 175 p.
The Summit Meetings was series of three gatherings bringing together the collection of objects from The Burden of Objects, along with some sixty others borrowed from civilization, art, history, and community museums in Lethbridge, Windsor, and Quebec City. The series of exhibitions concluded a long term research and creation cycle which explored, since 2009, the incumbency and load of the objects that we accumulate in our lives. In the Summit Meetings the placement of the objects came together on site, in real time. Their arrangement was formulated like a conversation, an exchange. Their stories intermingled. The objects cooperated, became a collective.
The elements borrowed from museums represented anomalies (“problematic” objects without a known function or kept outside the collection), episodes from a painful or inglorious history that tends to be wiped from memory (for example, a chair in which customers at a bordello sat to wait their turn, a racist board game, a hospital bedpan that was the vector for a deadly contagion), or the particularly banal, apparently uninteresting, nature of certain objects collected (an almost-depleted roll of sticky tape, a pincushion made with fabric scraps).
As the exhibition toured, I organized performative actions and produced in situ video animations in the museums’ storerooms, galleries, and outdoor spaces. In each place, this work involved the creative collaboration of the museum employees and participating volunteers. The project thus represented an opportunity to work in the institution in a different way – it offered room for improvisation and made it possible to consider certain operations usually executed backstage to be gestures important enough to perform in public (handling of objects, opening and closing of display cases).
During The Summit Meetings — Part 3, the installation was transformed midway through, to display the end of the gathering process. During a ten-day residency at the museum, I worked in the exhibition space to establish a protocol for wrapping and unwrapping my collection in the transport crate built at the beginning of the project, in 2009. I envisioned this protocol as acts recording the outcome of The Burden of Objects in the form of a bequest or an acquisition in a museum collection. Each object had to cooperate to find its place on board. The flexible and soft ones protected the fragile ones; the hollow and empty ones held the full and misshapen ones. Organizing the interior of the volume according to the contact among objects was a way of keeping alive the narratives, connections, and spirit of collaboration at work within the collection. The storage crate was considered to be alive.
De Groot, Raphaëlle. «Le musée comme terrain de création : gestes, affects, embarras et vies d’objets». Muséologies, Vol. 9, n. 2, 2018, p. 241-267.
Ménard, Sophie. « La pesée sauvage. Le Poids des objets de Raphaëlle de Groot » in À l’œuvre, l’œuvrier. Directed by Sophie Ménard and Jean-Marie Privat, Éditions universitaires de Lorraine, 2017, 262 p.
Ménard, Sophie. «L’art d’accommoder les objets», Spirale : arts - lettres - sciences humaines, n. 257, 2016, p. 64-66.
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Chen, Dalson. «Objectification: Installation at AGW explores the burden of material goods», Windsor Star, Nov. 20, 2015.