2019 Ceramic Installation
Balancing Birds/ Oiseaux En Équilibre
Dozens of slipcast porcelain balancing birds, metal
TAP Art Space, Montréa
The balancing bird was a mass-manufactured toy developed in the early 1990’s to teach children about the center of gravity. The birds were part of an aspect of western visual culture in the late 20th century, which has aided in the excessive reproduction of goods (i.e. Dollar stores, Costco, etc.), producing a thoughtless and obsessive consumption of new objects. In parallel with this consumption, comes the capacity to discard.
This installation consists of multiple handmade ceramic duplicates of the balancing bird, which situate themselves delicately balancing across the wall of the gallery. By inviting participants to pick up and play with the ceramic birds by balancing them on one's finger, there is the risk of mistreatment - inevitably dropping it onto the floor to its death. The beauty lies in the vulnerably and responsibility the piece requests, yet does not command the viewer to comply with; it is in their hands literally. The piece begs the question: what does the future of object consumption hold for us? The birds’ mirror glaze that covers their exteriors reflects the viewer’s own appearance on the object upon interaction. Seeing one’s self in the reflection, like Narcissus gazing at his own reflection in the pond, draws the viewer into a tension with the drowning force of their own ego. The reflection suggests contemplation of the delicate reliance between nature and humans. With this year’s Nuit Blanche theme of “The Future”, Balancing Birds invites audience members of all ages to come and play for a fun night of reflection together.
[Photos by Morgane Clément-Gagnon and the artist]