By Maude Lipsett
The Karsh-Masson Gallery at Ottawa City Hall welcomes artists Raymond Aubin and Hugo Gaudet-Dion, who have created a surreal and interactive exhibition entitled Agitation. The gallery is filled with interactive moving images, three-dimensional objects, projections, flat murals and musical accompaniments.
“There are essentially four works,” specifies Raymond Aubin, contemporary photographer and confirmed artist. “The two interactive rooms are where I spent most of my time, that’s where my main contribution is.”
Aubin holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from the University of Quebec in Outaouais, where he also met Gaudet-Dion. “I had known him for several years. We were actually in school together, ”he says.
Many parts are either printed and mounted on the wall, or digitally dismantled and added to the interactive parts. These works correspond for the most part to Gaudet-Dion’s approach as a visual artist and illustrator.
The main interactive piece of this exhibition is a large video image projected with a rapid array of abstract colored shapes made in the illustrative style of Gaudet-Dion. The shapes descend from the top of the projected image, some of the figures clumping together at the base of the projection. The viewer has to move their body to recreate the original drawing made from the falling shapes.
“My drawings are always a kind of puzzle. So even when I only draw the face of a fictitious person, you can take it piece by piece, ”explains Gaudet-Dion.
As explained in the exhibition booklet, this exhibition focuses on the brutality of the world by bringing monstrous figures to life. Seen through the contemporary prism of technology and its power, these pieces interact with the people using the technology.
“It’s a lot about the human condition, our daily struggles, trying to fix things, our problems. The chaotic side of life and the stressful part of it, ”says Gaudet-Dion. “I always think about the dark side of humans and how we use it to entertain people.”
Both artists are extremely happy to collaborate on their work and to be able to present this exhibition together, especially with the interactive element, as it is new to them and still new to the artistic community as a whole.
“This is unexplored ground towards which the art world is moving,” says Aubin. “And we still have a lot to understand about these interactive installations. And certainly as an artist, I think one of the most exciting parts of it all is ourselves, not knowing where we’re really going, experimenting and getting viewer feedback and at the same time.
Agitation takes place from December 2 to January 28 at the Karsh-Masson Gallery in Ottawa City Hall. Free entry. Masks are mandatory and proof of vaccination is required.