12 Dec 2018


Je ne sais jamais où je suis

The exhibition Je ne sais jamais où je suis is the result of an exchange program organised by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the Finnish Artists’ Studio Foundation, during which Canadian artist, Claudette Lemay, spent four months in Finland in the autumn of 2007. The video installation, which translates as “I never know where I am”, explores the dizzying sense of losing one’s bearings when confronted with a new environment, a new culture, even a new language.

Je ne sais jamais où je suis invites the viewer on a palpable inner journey through sensory experience. The video sequences were mainly shot on moving surfaces—a floating bridge, a boat—offering views of a wavering countryside and horizon. This echoes the perceptions of the body traversing it, such as the physical sensations of instability and disequilibrium. On the soundtrack a woman reads out a bus route in Finnish; another woman attempts to correctly repeat the words. This alludes to the artist’s own experience of having often gotten lost in Helsinki. It is also serves to explore the sound of the Finnish language, which to the first-time visitor presents a constant flow of unintelligible sounds, deep and round, of strange though poetic auditory material.

Lemay has been producing visual and media based works since 1997. Her recent works propose poetic explorations of landscape. She composes intimate worlds that awaken the senses, observe the passage of time and trace the rhythms and cycles of life. Viewers become a part of the inner universe of her installations.

The artist has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad (Mexico and France), and her single-channel work has appeared in many international festivals, including Festival du film sur l’art (Montreal), ISEA (Japon), Impakt (Netherlands). She is a member of the media arts organization Perte de Signal. Born in Quebec City (Canada), she lives and works in Montreal.