Jean-François Cooke was born in 1974 in Chicoutimi. Pierre Sasseville was born in Québec City in 1978. They live in Québec City and have worked as a duo since 2000 under the name Cooke-Sasseville. Their installations have been presented in several major events in Québec and abroad. They have won numerous grants and awards, among others the Bourse Plein Sud in 2007, a grant from Loto-Québec in 2008, as well as several research grants awarded by the Conseil des arts et lettres Du Québec and the Canadian Council for the Arts.
Cooke-Sasseville’s art is absurd, scathing, and often very cynical. Their themes mimic our daily preoccupations: the quest for happiness, love, sexuality. Their Manif d’Art 5 installation staging disproportionate children surrounded by bloody headless birds has been celebrated as a great success. Their Hit List is comprised of their favourites from the rest of the Québec City Biennial.
(Interview and translation by Claude Chevalot)
1. Le loup gris
Folie/Culture has suspended a giant fabric wolf above the crowd. Everyone is waiting impatiently for the gutting of this amiable gray monster. Once disembowelled, the great wolf drops a multitude of small fabric wolves, each one bearing a message, the written expression of some kind of fear. Under the sunny sky, in the seasonal warmth of early May, the whole event feels like the rambunctious opening of a dishevelled Piñata. We applaud and cheer the spill from the bowels of the great wolf. People rush to grab the deceptively cute cubs. In their hands the spectrum of anxiety crumbles, leaving only the pagan and joyful killing of the big bad wolf.
2. Plan B
In this installation from Doyon/Demers, the vertiginous reaches its full extent in the contrast between the claustrophobic aspect of the containers and their contents. Once inside, the scenery is surreal. We find ourselves walking on a precarious mesh floor, launched over the void. This meeting with the vacuum leaves us hanging between the nausea of vertigo and euphoria of floating in space.
3. Daniel-Joseph Martinez
His work, Redemption of the Flesh: It’s Just a Little Headache, It’s Just a Little Bruise; The Politics of the Future as Urgent as the Blue Sky, is a scary mechanical mix between a rabbit and a human arm shooting fake blood all over the small room that houses the installation. The title of the piece fascinates us the most. The mix of organic and mechanical makes it a hit, not to mention the impeccable realisation and the sickening smell of fake blood. It is now impossible for the public to enter the room of the installation: the floors and walls are so covered with "blood" that viewers left with splattered shoes and were contaminating the surroundings with bloody footprints. What a statement!
4. Amelie-Laurence Fortin
We like her Triomphe drawings firstly for the rarity of this medium in the Manif’ d’Art 5, but mostly for the great quality of the works and the relevance of the topics illustrated. The “catastrophe” takes a very personal and mundane tone in these large illustrations.
5. Death with Friends
This video by Maryam Jafri is a classically formal work with beautifully shot images and a narrative that brings a vaporous and seductive quality to the whole piece.
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