â€śYouâ€™re not a multidisciplinary artist, you just kind of suck at a lot of things.â€ť
In an exercise in incisive writing in the first person singular, artist Antoine Larocque has created a story in which the protagonistâ€™s reality could easily be mistaken for his own. His narrative, materialized in the form of hundreds of drawings, offers a pessimistic view of the QuĂ©bec art scene as told by a disillusioned I who criticizes the conditions artists face as they try to launch their careers and gain recognition.
The storyâ€™s main character doesnâ€™t mince words as he describes the ups and downs of life as an artist, drawing a sharp line between art student and professional artist while painting an acerbic portrait of the context in which he gravitates and tries to get noticed. Part self-criticism, part institutional critique (artistic, academic, and media), the artistâ€™s irreverent account is delivered in short statements rendered in bright coloured oil pastel on white paper.
This exhibition unfolds like a long poem written in sometimes coarse, but definitely direct, language in which the main characterâ€™s frank and virulent observations of the art worldâ€™s practices and customs are laid bare. In a consciously awkward writing style peppered with spelling mistakes (as if urgently spoken or dashed off), the disillusioned artist captures pop culture codes, social media slang, and very specific art-world references.
Tearing a strip off of artists, the art world, art students, academia, social networks, and news media, this subjective manifesto takes aim at the established validation processes that should eventually lead to a career in art. In the face of such critical discourse regarding institutions for art and higher education, Galerie UQO is the ideal place to present the work of this emerging artist who claims to be Antoine Larocque. Hereâ€™s hoping he doesnâ€™t call it quits.
Born in the region of Arthabaska in 1995, Antoine Larocque is a visual artist whose work is inspired by the social fabric of rural and suburban QuĂ©bec. He became known for his book Notes dâ€™atelier, a collection of texts published by PiĂ¨ce jointe Ă©ditions in 2022. His videos have been presented in Canada and internationally, and he is represented by Laroche/Joncas. His work is characterized by a subjective, raw, and experimental approach to images and words that uses photography, painting, video, text, social media and print techniques. His favours the most rudimentary methods to express his daily life and the aesthetic codes of QuĂ©bec culture.
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