Machines at Play

Jean-Pierre Gauthier

Machines at Play

January 8, 2010 - March 21, 2010

The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie recognizes the national importance of Machines at Play, a kinetic sound installation by Montréal based artist, inventor, musician Jean-Pierre Gauthier.

A virtuoso of everyday reality, an artisan of contemporary art, an entomologist of sound, Gauthier sees, and hears, all the acoustic and metaphorical potential of the found object. Pipe fittings, funnels and electrical wires are transformed, in the artist’s hands, into an astonishing investigation of order and chaos, permanence and fragility, usefulness and gratuitousness.  In his hybrid practice Jean-Pierre Gauthier incorporates visual arts and audio exploration.  His kinetic installations combine humour and poetry in a highly rigorous artistic approach.

Jean-Pierre Gauthier’s Marqueurs d’incertitude (Uncertainty Markers) are part of the artist’s ongoing series of kinetic drawing machines.  The title alludes to the Uncertainty Principle in quantum physics, a theorem that asserts the impossibility of predicting the behaviour of the universe.  The movement of each work is activated by visitors circulating around it.

The graphite attached to the wires produces drawings that evolve gradually throughout the duration of the exhibition, more visitor traffic generates increasingly dense markings.  Not only do the rods and tubes assume lifelike shapes (a spider, a cockroach, a skater), but the drawings themselves are real-time records of each machine’s interaction with the wall, further illustrating the temporal dimension that is at the heart of Gauthier’s practice.

Consider this:  Using HB pencils, these drawings change daily.  The drawing becomes more opaque, dense, thick and has more body with time.   There is a notion of an event in which Gauthier’s work integrates the process of transformation, of evolution.

What purpose has the dog leash in the Uncertainty Markers?
The dog leash and the various rods installed here and they act as weights or counterweights or obstacles that make an exploration of different paths of the drawing machines through space possible, and thus different tracings.

About The Artist

Born in Matane, Québec, in 1965, Jean-Pierre Gauthier has lived and worked in Montréal since 1986. He earned an M.F.A. from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1995, and has exhibited widely in Québec, across Canada, the United States and Europe. His one-man shows include Uncertainty Markers and Commotion Machines, at the Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton (2006), and Échotriste/SorrowfulEcho, presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as the third project in the Freeform Series (2002). Notable among his group exhibitions are Electrohype (2006), Lunds Konsthall, and Transmediale.06 – Smile Machines, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2006). His work was first shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1997 in the group exhibition Of Fire and Passion, and later on in 1999, in the major exhibition entitled Head Over Heels – A Work of Impertinence that marked the transition to the new millennium. Gauthier is also the recipient of such prestigious honours as the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, in 2005, presented by the Canada Council for the Arts to mid-career artists and, in 2004, the Sobey Art Award, the highest distinction awarded to a Canadian artist under 40.  His work was also shown in the second edition of the Montreal Art Biennale entitled Every Time.


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