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Project for the Don River

APRIL 22, 2008 - June 29, 2008

The lower Don River will be the location and inspiration for No.9’s inau­gural installation, a new work by Jasmin Bilodeau, Sebas­tien Giguere and Nicolas Laverdiere, oth­er­wise known by the acronym BGL. The trio has become known for work that looks slyly but with affection at the commercialism and consumerism that so often define our cul­ture. As a counter­point, the nat­ural world plays a big role, and the colli­sion between the two is often their subject.

Their collab­oration with No.9 marks the cre­ation of their most signif­icant public work out­side of Quebec, and expands on their themes of nature and consumption by taking as its starting point the site of the Lower Don River.

BGL's installation consists of a shrunken cruise ship - chris­tened the Nowhere II - 30 feet long, completely blackened and anchored on the turgid waters of the Lower Don. It is faced by a giant life buoy, totally out of proportion to the ship. With these absurd shifts in scale the function of these objects is brought into question. In case of emergency, is the buoy intended to save the entire ship, or is it meant for the river itself? If the ship is seen as full size, then what monstrous waterway is the Don? And what tourists have cho­sen its charms as the backdrop for buffets and shuffleboard?

The Nowhere II and its life buoy is an emblem par excel­lence of luxury, idleness and mate­rialism, rep­resent­ing a leisure activ­ity gone slightly wrong. They points to the pos­sibility of being in a place with­out really see­ing it, like tourists taking pic­tures from the deck but never going ashore. The life buoy introduces an ele­ment of anxiety, but also BGL's trademark humour. With their belief in the capacity of art to elu­cidate the consciousness of an era, BGL are reflecting back to us the con­ditions of our time, while subtly bring­ing attention to the eco­logical issues of the site.

BGL (Jasmin Bilodeau (1973), Sebas­tien Giguere (1972) and Nicolas Laverdiere (1972)) have been making exhi­bi­tions in gal­leries, muse­ums and public spaces through­out Quebec, Canada and abroad for over ten years, including the The 1er Bienal del fin del mundo, Ushuaia, Argentina; the Musée d'art con­temporain de Montréal; Musée d’art moderne Lille Métropole, France; Mer­cer Union, Toronto; The Havana Biennale, Cuba; and The Montreal Biennale. In 2006 they were short-listed for the Sobey Prize, and in 2007 were winners of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award from the Canada Council for out­standing work in the visual arts.

BGL are rep­resented by Diaz Con­temporary in Toronto, www.diazcon­

This documentation of the BGL installation of Project for the Don River, 2008 was generously supported by the