Raymond Boisjoly, An artwork in five parts
Text-based sculptures in four locations
Raymond Boisjoly is known for his densely layered artwork and process that resists a directed and singular reading. He is an educator and thinker whose work often grapples with the possibility of communicating a sense of indigeneity that is not necessarily crucial to identity. As such he extends his research and actions beyond his personal or ancestral history as Haida and Québecois from a position that is fractured between the desire for representation and the instability of image-making.
Boisjoly’s work often obscures meaning and a direct form of address. His works are to be deciphered, with meaning often intentionally scrambled, hidden and coded. Through fragmentation and distortion, he conceals his research and reasoning. For STAGES, Boisjoly has written five dense philosophical quandaries, which he places on medians near the downtown core and on one residential lawn. The texts are cut-out of standard building sheets of MDF, mounted on simple frames and painted a construction safety orange. Their placement, simple construction and colour, camouflage them into the city’s regular maintenance flow.
For this work for STAGES, Boisjoly is no more direct with the exhibition’s public audiences as he is when producing work within the frame of the gallery or museum. In a way, he has used the public art framework of STAGES to turn his artwork in on itself, starting from a point of address that questions the function of the artwork itself. He brings an internal and specialized query into the streets. But not in a manner that invites this ‘public’ into the conversation directly – as he further obscures the subject of his deliberation by never naming ‘art’ or ‘the artwork’, but generalizing his subject to ‘thing’. To make this public work even further internalized, Boisjoly, uses the Plug In ICA logo font to typeset these questions, and he selects the locations by examining the routes taken by Plug In staff and board of Directors when we travel to Plug In.
Boisjoly has a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where he currently teaches. He has an MFA from UBC and has exhibited work widely across Canada and abroad. Boisjoly has shown work at Platform Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts, Winnipeg; The Power Plant, Toronto; Vancouver Art Gallery; Camera Austria, Vienna; Triangle France, Marseille; and most recently at SITElines, Santa Fe. In 2017, he was a finalist for the AIMIA|AGO Photography Prize as well as the Sobey Art Award. Writings on Boisjoly’s work have appeared in Mousse Magazine, C Magazine, and OSMOS Magazine to name a few. He is represented by Catriona Jefferies, Vancouver.
4 Locations: a. Broadway & Main Street; b. Memorial Avenue and Colony Street; c. 78 Lusted Avenue; Mayfair & Stradbrook Avenue
Hours: 24 hours access
Additional information: Various sites; Wheelchair accessible
Image caption: Raymond Boisjoly, An artwork in five parts; detail of sketch, 2019