Raphaëlle de Groot. En exercice à Venise

Performance during the 2013 Venice Biennale

Curator: Louise Déry

Artist: Raphaëlle de Groot

Ville de Venise

May 30, 2013 - May 30, 2013

Quebec artist Raphaëlle de Groot will present a new performance piece during the opening days of the Venice Biennale on May 30, 2013, at 2 p.m. (Italian time). Produced by the Galerie de l’UQAM, the project is supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and is produced in collaboration with the Québec Government Office in Rome.

En exercice à Venise

“This is the first time I have given myself over to such a lengthy performance, and one that will be presented outdoors, in a context with a lot of unknowns. The performance is divided into three phases, each of which will last a good hour. I don’t know how people will react or if they will try to interact with me, or to what degree I will be disoriented as I move through the space,” said Raphaëlle de Groot.

During the first phase of the performance, the audience will witness the artist undergo a complex transformation by blindfolding herself and donning various materials, fabrics and prostheses. By creating such a disconcerting figure, Raphaëlle de Groot is exploring a new way to reinvent the role and image of the artist. She will then process through the city for about an hour, entangled and encumbered, faltering but invested, walking with difficulty towards the Grand Canal. For the final phase of the project, she will board a gondola. Weaving through the canals of Venice, her silhouette, before it disappears from view, will recall the baroque splendour of Venetian processions through the ages.

Louise Déry, who initiated the project, has observed many of Raphaëlle de Groot’s “exercises” over the last 10 years. “By exhibiting herself as she does,” she explains, “she locates and reveals the flip side of an idea, through gestures, constraints, and groping that is as challenging as it is ridiculous, and revisits the iconic figure of the artist. In Venice, there will be additional resonance, between past and present, between pomp and loss, between appearance and disappearance.”

The CEO of CALQ, Stéphan La Roche, stressed that the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec is proud to be a partner in this project and to enable an artist as fascinating as Raphaëlle de Groot to shine beyond Québec in conjunction with a major event. This type of project reflects CALQ’s commitment to ensuring a strong presence of Québec artists at prestigious international events.

The Galerie de l’UQAM will document Raphaëlle de Groot’s performance, notably with a documentary video that will be shown to the public in autumn 2013.

The Venice Biennale and Québec

Founded in 1895, the Venice Biennale hosts exhibitions from countries with national pavilions, as well as international exhibitions under the authority of the Biennale Foundation, which entrusts them to renowned curators. Several Quebec artists have been present at the Biennale over the last thirty years, with three Quebecers representing Canada since 1990: Geneviève Cadieux (1990), Jana Sterbak (2003) and David Altmejd (2007).

Canada has had a pavilion at the Biennale since 1958 and will be represented at this 55th edition by Ontario artist Shary Boyle.

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

CALQ supports artistic creation, experimentation and production in the fields of arts and letters in all the regions of Quebec and promotes their outreach in Quebec, in Canada and abroad. To learn more about CALQ, see: