CERJ LALONDE

 

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 BORN: MONTRÉAL

 LIVES AND WORKS:

 MIAMI

 

Contemporary Artist

 

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

 
 

 

THE MULTIPLE GAZE

of  

CERJ LALONDE 

 

 

FRANÇAIS

ESPAGNOL

GERMAN

CHINESE

JAPANESE

HEBREW

ARABIC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As former curator-director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; former curator of Canada’s largest and most important corporate art collection, the Lavalin Collection, since acquired in its entirety by Montreal’s Museum of Contemporary Art; as independent curator of significant Canadian and international exhibitions; as former art critic for Montreal’s major diaries (English and French); as writer for art magazines (In USA, Germany and Canada) and exhibition catalogues; as two terms President of the Association of Quebec’s Museums, it is my pleasure to state that the artist CERJ LALONDE, whose work I have followed for some twenty years, qualifies as a major artist, both nationally and internationally, on account of the quality of his work and the recognition it has received.

 

His work is highly valued for its original content, as well as for the integrity of its execution. His artwork and paintings have been acquired over the years by both public and private collections; they have also been chosen for exhibitions organized to show new and significant trends in visual art and painting. 

 

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Leo Rosshandler / I.A.C.A, I.C.O.M., A.M.Q.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black & white

photography of the artist:

Céline Blais

 

 

THE MULTIPLE GAZE

 

of  

 

CERJ LALONDE 

by 

Amalia Caputo*  



     Cerj Lalonde is an artist, and certainly not an ordinary one. He moves smoothly from the canvas to the camera, from computers to installations, producing and showcasing an extraordinarily rich and complex body of work created during the last 20 years. His purpose is to pursue a direct, and, in each case, a different communication with the spectator. 

      It can be said that Lalonde works as a team with himself, not only to develop his artwork, but also to sharpen his personal ideas about contemporary culture, trends, criticism and, more importantly, as a critic to the art system’s meritocracy. Lalonde is putting a lot of time, energy and thought into his new media and technology productive structure, where he can directly address his issues, mainly those regarding the art world.

      His paintings, installations, photographs and web pages, are intended to function each in its own way, as an overt revision and critique of the contemporary art system, as they establish parallel dialogues between the artist, the public, and the curatorial values.
 

 

Lalonde, the painter / The Fine Artist


     Cerj Lalonde works his painting with a conceptual approach, as an attempt to restate the validity of painting as a practice per-se. His abstract language ranges from lyric abstractionist pieces to many personal interpretations on art history masterpieces, as specific reflections upon geometric abstract paintings like Malevich´s black square series, or Albers study of color, among others.
 

     Lalonde holds many layers as an artist. His years of experience as a painter and thirst for art history and critique have helped him develop into a consciously literate artist. Formally, his domain of techniques ranges from drawing, printing, and primarily acrylic painting by means of a wild contrasting palette. But more than any type of formalism, Lalonde´s work is a strong statement about painting itself and how he approaches abstraction from a conceptual viewpoint. His paintings celebrate the power and meaning of color and texture, the imperative voice of contrast and stridence, and the million of possible solutions for a white canvas. I also see in his artwork a psychoanalytical interpretation of art, and a curiously unintentional approach to oriental philosophy appears throughout his multi sized body of work. 

     In many of his canvas, the presence of the square has been integrated as an element of equilibrium and unity to the soul of the artwork itself. Lalonde is specifically interested in the qualities of painting as a media: “What Painting and only Painting can do”. Of all arts, painting is perhaps the most intimate and personal of art languages. It reaches the viewer at a last phase, in the gallery, or museum, or exhibition space.

     In the meanwhile, there is a time frame between the moment when the artist finishes his work and it gets shown. This space of time is silence. It can be said that the gap between the act of painting and its way out of the studio has had Lalonde wondering about other strategies of approaching the viewer, the critic, and to challenge the art world as a system.

 

New media's and technology


     In his body of work related to the Internet, the use of language can be established as the first notable addition where the silent scream that comes from his paintings invades the screen and transforms it into words. We can feel the imperative urge to communicate. Lalonde addresses everyone and no one, and a certain/uncertain dialogue is established between him and the anonymous viewer/Web surfer/browser who reads it.

     Lalonde has produced multiple web sites (www.myartbaselmiamibeach.com / www.hirokomusic.com). With this media, he has taken over a physical/nonphysical space to express his ideas about the act of seeing, of looking, and getting intoxicated by the gaze, by the sight, by the cognitive look, and the subjective one. Another interesting aspect is the inclusion of his images as an artist in several ways. For example, in SELF PORTRAIT AS A FAMOUS ARTIST he presents himself in all the archetypical attire of the romanticized representation of the artist. Lalonde has reverted all his irony and sarcasm as images that appear as brushstrokes on his Web sites. Another image that frequently appears is the sweet face of a very young woman, who looks at the browser with sweetness and nostalgia. As websites are build through layers, Lalonde has as well, constructed layers of impact, thought, and reflection, by means of the multiplicity of images that appear, ranging from his own paintings, installations, portraits, and text.

     He is interested in what defines art, who validates artwork, how artist’s success has a strong pull to media and critic dependency. Lalonde points out these issues as loud as a silent scream. Phrases such as the Dominance of Curatorial Ideology, Global Mono Cultural Art Discourse or Hegemony of the Global Curatorial Class are samples of titles that frame parts of his Web visual discourses. 

     In his installations and performances such as THE NO SHOW, and WORKING TO BECOME RICH AND FAMOUS SO YOU CAN LOVE ME FOREVER, Lalonde discusses the notion of the self and identity, the artist as a social figure, and the severe critique of the contemporary art system, and society at large. He questions the validity and the ideology of the curatorial establishment, the marketing methods, and the issues of the self - as he queries the conventional paradigm of the artist.

     On his Web pages, Lalonde metamorphoses from an anonymous painter in his studio to a more public personae. His gaze looks at the viewer, his open mouth screams and questions the browser constantly, sometimes as an outsider and sometimes from the hypothetical voice of the viewer’s conscience.

     In SEEING, a photographic installation that can be considered as a milestone in his work, he presents a dark room that has many different sized eyes that are looking at the viewer. An interesting aspect of Lalonde’s digital work is the presence of a perpetual reflection that not only shows the act of seeing itself, but in a more profound way it presents the subconscious mind of the viewer. He inverts his role of an artist and establishes a dialogue with the unconscious of the spectator, both through his installations and digital art work. He talks directly from the anonymity of the Internet to the subconscious of the viewer with phrases like HI!, WHERE ARE YOU? Or I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW YOU. Lalonde suggests a dialogue of affection and proximity with the anonymous viewer. He cries out for attention, asks questions, and asks for small reflections to be answered silently by the person who is on the other side of the computer, establishing a metaphor for the notion of the multiplicity of the self. But above all, the artist states that communication as art is always subjective.

     Last but not least, we should briefly acknowledge Lalonde´s work in public places, within the streets of Miami’s main art areas, mainly the Wynwood and Design Districts. Lalonde has taken over the front of galleries, sidewalks, and walls with the graffiti ://eye_luv-you:)), the eye installation WHO IS LOOKING AT WHO and the FREE sign.  

     These street interventions are a courageous attempt of blasting pedestrians’ consciousness to an impermanent moment of reflection. By this strategy, he is inserting human condition to human creation, relating in a logical discourse; human being makes art, human being sees art, therefore, art sees us, and art is human. Why does he do it? Who is it addressed to? The probable answer is to all of us and to him. Cerj Lalonde has decidedly captured a huge space of silence that historically has isolated the artist from the spectator of the artwork. As silent as painting itself can be, it is as loud as his digital work and public space interventions are.

     It would not be fair to separate all these different facets as an artist, as if we were speaking of different persons. Lalonde´s whole body of work is connected through formal elements that appear in any media he uses. The square, for example, is an important image, as well as the silhouetted eye that appears in paintings, installations, graphics, and throughout his Web pages. Lalonde formally uses certain elements as creating a personal specific language that conveys additional meaning to every art piece he develops.


    
The artist is interested in the notion of the spectator, in conveying messages to the unconscious in a psychoanalytical way, whether it is in painting or in the direct phrases he lets go by browsing through his web pages. Does he expect answers from us? Is he angry? Is he talking to us? Is he looking at me? Is he really talking to me? Can he see me? These are questions that rise once we know his work.

     As stated before, Lalonde points out the silence, the introspection. Furthermore his work comprises a wide variety of forms and media and has articulated a strong and powerful aesthetic research on the many issues of art itself, its appreciation, circulation, diffusion and agendas as well as the non-communication that exists nowadays, not only in the art world but also in general. He wants to make a difference, a statement to contemporary numbness. Against all odds, he is decidedly willing to be understood, to be looked at, and to be heard.
 

*About the author.
Amalia Caputo is a curator and a contributor to the publications Extracamara Magazine, Caracas and Arte Al Dia International, Miami.  She was born in Caracas,Venezuela. She holds a Bachelor of Art and Art History from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, where she graduated with honors in 1988. In 1995 she received a Master of Arts in Photography at New York University and the International Center of Photography.  Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Caracas, Barcelona, Mexico City, New York and Miami. She lives and works in Miami, Florida.