After 25 years of working together, the artist collective BGL, comprised of Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière, is breaking up. The Quebec-based trio has represented Canada at the Venice Biennale and has won acclaim around the world. A new exhibition at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG), entitled BGL: Two Thumbs Up Arts and Crafts), will be the collective’s final show of new work.
“We are really honoured to host the final exhibition by some of Canada’s most imaginative, brilliant, and playful sculptors,” states CCAG Director Kevin Rice.
“This is going to be our last show together, so even if there are some [featured] works that seem to reflect on our end—like the replica of a 19th century hearse or the ‘crashed’ motorcycle—we want them to be joyful, fun, and humorous,” Laverdière explains. “The pleasure and freedom in making art for a living was the reason we got together in the first place. Art was always an adventure into fun for us.”
BGL is known for their amusing and critical look at our relationship with nature and disposable consumer culture. They are intent on recycling and recontextualizing their work within a gallery space and their pieces draw attention to social and political concerns. Their work is found in collections throughout Canada and has been exhibited around the world.
In Two Thumbs Up, they reprise elements of their Canadassimo project originally presented at the Venice Biennale in 2015, along with a major new body of work. Curated by Pan Wendt, the CCAG exhibition features two galleries of work. One will include the studio installation from Canadassimo, and the other will show BGL’s latest work, including a series of pieces made with birch twigs.
“Arts and Crafts is a title that makes a lot of sense for the new body of work, which really comes out of the poetry of different kinds of manual labour— things you can only say intuitively in the roughness of manual work,” expresses Laverdière. “Theres something about the handmade aesthetic that’s true for us.”
BGL: Two Thumbs Up Arts and Crafts opens July 17 and will be on display until December 2021.