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Systems and Iterations: A Panel discussion

OCTOBER 5, 2013 (Homecoming)
2–3:30 p.m. with a reception to follow
A conversation with Musée Nationale des beaux-arts du Québec Bernard Lamarche, artist/educator, Jocelyn Robert, and artist Diane Landry.

This panel was conceived within the rubric of the Sol LeWitt Drawing projects currently on view at FOFA Gallery. The legacy of LeWitt as a conceptual artist who used the idea of instructions for production of his works by anyone licensed to do so, allowed for repetition of the works, and negated the idea of the auratic original. These artistic decisions propel the works into the realm of the score. While these operations were intended to remove the idea of the artist’s hand or an isolated moment of genius, in actuality they indicate difference in the mark makers, thus allowing for recognizable signature, as well as suggest the idea itself as one of singular artistic distinction. In these ways the links between LeWitt’s wall drawings and time based works and digital production come to the fore.

Curator Bernard Lamarche, who has long been an innovative and eloquent voice in the contemporary cultural scene of Québec, is producing a major exhibition on systems for Le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, entitled, Les matins infidèles. L’art du protocole, opening in November.  The exhibition presents “great aesthetic diversity yet were executed in a similar manner, guided by strict methodical rules.” Here he will extend the conversation begun by Concordia with LeWitt into his own dialogue with famed art critic, Lawrence Alloway’s term, Systemic Art.

“A system is an organized whole, the parts of which demonstrate some regularities. A system is not antithetical to the values suggested by such art world word-clusters as humanist, organic, and process. On the contrary, while the artist is engaged with it, a system is a process; trial and error, instead of being incorporated into the painting, occur off the canvas. The predictive power of the artist, minimized by the prestige of gestural painting, is strongly operative, from ideas and early sketches, to the ordering of exactly scaled and shaped stretchers and help by assistants.
extract from the catalogue essay for the 1966 catalogue Systemic Painting, Lawrence Alloway

Lamarche’s interest lies in the opening and closing of systems and their increased potential within failure or abandonment.  He will expand on the idea that systems can be tools that lead elsewhere, including to the arena of affect.

This path will be further expanded upon in the presentations of the artists, Jocelyn Robert and Diane Landry. Landry’s practice has long manifested physically complex systems of simple tools, computer programming, word play, light and shadow. Jocelyn Robert, now works in audio art, performance, installation, video and writing but began with studies in both pharmacy and architecture. His practice is characterized by a particular commitment to collaborative work, such as with Emile Morin and Daniel Jolliffe (for installations), or the performances with Diane Landry, Laetitia Sonami and Bruit TTV, or David Michaud and Boris Firquet for Documenta in Kassel. Together they will present practices that suggest links to the movements of the last century while asserting a connection to the contemporary primacy of technology.  

This dialogue will be animated by noted artist and educator, François Morelli, whose own practice engages systems he enacts into mark making, and vice versa.

* The event is made possible through the support of the CUAA, Concordia University Alumni Association.


Appointed curator of contemporary art (2000 to date) the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) in winter 2012, Bernard Lamarche was employed by the Musée régional de Rimouski from 2005 to 2012 as curator of contemporary art. Previously, he worked for nearly ten years as an art critic and cultural reporter for Le Devoir, during which he has covered extensively the Quebec scene of contemporary as well as areas of alternative music art museums and cultural policy. Bernard Lamarche has also contributed regularly to magazines Parachute, ETC Space esse arts + opinions and Canadian Art, where he has authored numerous reports and essays.


Jocelyn Robert lives in Quebec. He works in audio art, digital art, performance, installation, video and writing. He has directed several performances, both solo and with Diane Landry, Laetitia Sonami  and Bruit TTV. Robert has published a dozen solo CDs and has participated in more than twenty others. He won first prize in 2002, in the image category of the Transmediale in Berlin and the Prix du Rayonnement International awarded by the Council of Culture of Quebec in 2006. He has presented numerous solo exhibitions, in addition to working with Emile Morin and Daniel Jolliffe in the realization of many installations. His work has been shown in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Chile, Australia and Europe. His writings have been published in Le Quartanier (Montreal), Ohm Éditions (Quebec), Errant Bodies Press (Los Angeles), Semiotext (e) (New York), as well as many arts events catalogs, including Ars Electronica and Sonambiante (Germany). In 1993, he founded the arts center and audio electronics Avatar in Quebec. He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts from Laval University in Quebec.


Diane Landry lives and works in Québec City. Since 1987, her works have travelled widely across Canada and in major cities in the USA, Mexico, Argentina, many European countries, Australia and China. Her works have been discussed in numerous publications and recognized by important awards in Québec as well as in the United States. She is the first recipient of the prestigious Giverny Capital Prize, a distinction awarded to a visual artist from Québec. She has been an artist in residence in many centres in Canada, the USA, France, Italy and Argentina. She has just completed a six-month stay in the Studio du Québec in New York, sponsored by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Diane Landry holds a MA from Stanford University, California. The artist is represented by SolwayJones Gallery in Los Angeles.

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