Titled "Flesh and bones" (En chair et en os), it showcases some 20 bronze and wood sculptures as well as several charcoal sketches, for Garel is also a renowned illustrator. His animals, or rather their skeletal fragments, mostly skulls, present an unusual aesthetic, confusing the initial reading of the pieces. A hybrid production, both in a plastic and technical sense, it provokes a question: Is it art or artefact? Garel, a graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (1998) uses diverse materials, from wood and bronze to iron and porcelain. His at times deceptively life-like works are the result of hours of sketching, and that preparation is tangible in his sculptures, which appear drawn rather than moulded or carved depending on the angle of viewing.
Garel's bestiary includes common as well as exotic animals, but the actual designation of the skulls is secondary to their visual, pictorial resonance. The artist's subterfuge extends to the medium, where pieces that seem to be bone are in fact made of porcelain, while others are hewn from painted wood. Stylized, even sophisticated, Garel's sculptures create their own universe, and rather than presenting a memento mori to nature, they are a paean to it.
Among the sketches in the exhibition is a commission commemorating the city's 375th anniversary as well as the 150th anniversary of the Confederation, aptly titled Castor Canadensis, shown for the very first time.
Quentin Garel's recent work will also be presented at Pallazo Tiepolo Passi at this year's 57th Venice Biennale.
Flesh and bones / En chair et en os
Galerie Got Montréal
50 Saint-Paul Street West
March 31 to April 30, 2017
Quentin Garel, l’animé, by Benoit De Vilmorin.
The film documents every step of the creation of a piece, from the sculptor’s studio in Normandie, all the way to its sale in a New York gallery.