Cynthia Girard-Renard: La revanche des Sans-culottes

February 27 to April 2, 2016

Cynthia Girard-Renard: La revanche des Sans-culottes

Cynthia Girard-Renard, La revanche des Sans-culottes, 2016, exposition _ exhibition, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal

La revanche des Sans-culottes

For her first solo exhibition at Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Cynthia Girard-Renard proposes a body of work created during the CALQ residency in Paris in 2015 and presented last fall in Porto, Portugal, under the title Les Sans-culottes. For the present exhibition, the series has been enlarged to include several new works, and already-existing puppets, banners and paintings have been complexified and reused. Girard-Renard’s starting point is the French Revolution, from which she develops a critical reflection on revolutionary thought in our current context of neoliberal austerity.

Cynthia Girard-Renard
Sous les pavés, la plage, 2015
Acrylique sur toile libre de coton
Acrylic on unstretched cotton canvas
224 x 287 cm (88’’ 1/4 x 113’’)

La revanche des Sans-culottes borrows its irreverent and comical energy from the caricatural social satire genre in 18th century France, an important influence for Girard-Renard during the development of the project. The title of the exhibition refers to the derogatory moniker applied to working-class protesters, that wore trousers or striped skirts, rather than the “culotte”, knickers favored by the Ancien Régime aristocracy. Girard-Renard stages confrontations between the monarchy and the people through an array of works depicting the decadence of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI’s court, which she compares to the voracity of today’s oligarchs and millionaires. The luxury industry, fashion, and finance collide with the threat of debt in Greece and the ubiquitous austerity that clobbers us in Québec, Europe and elsewhere – not unlike Punch’s beating-stick.

Cynthia Girard-Renard
Petit théâtre du grand capital, 2016
Techniques mixtes
Mixed media
240 x 90 x 90 cm (94 1/2’’ x 35 1/2’’ x 35 1/2’’)

In the gallery space, Le petit théâtre du grand capital (2016) depicts this confrontation between the 99% and the elusive and shapeshifting 1%. Puppets and papier mâché props adopt the burlesque and ribald codes of the Théâtre du Grand-Guignol, active in Paris from 1896 to 1963. For its part, the theatrical curtain of Sous les pavés, la plage (2015), a reference to the famous May 1968 slogan, acts as a bridge between the exhibition and 1789, invoking past revolutionary ardor and defiantly taking a stand against mediocrity’s dominion.

Cynthia Girard-Renard
Les Sans-culottes, 2015
Papier, bois et corde
Paper, wood and rope
167,5 x 90 x 244 cm (66’’ x 35 1/2’’ x 96’’)

Cynthia Girard-Renard

For more than 20 years, Girard-Renard has been actively exhibiting in Canada and internationally, including: Esker Foundation, Calgary (2014); Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China (2011); Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina (2010); Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec (2010); September Gallery, Berlin (2009); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2009); SPACE, London (2006), not to mention her solo exhibition, Fictions sylvestres, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2005) and her participation in the 2008 Quebec Triennial. Girard-Renard’s work is found in the collections of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Carleton University Art Gallery, the UQAM Gallery, as well as many private collections. The artist lives and works in Montréal.

Cynthia Girard-Renard, La revanche des Sans-culottes, 2016, exposition _ exhibition, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal