Vexations: sugarcoated delights

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Hiding just around the corner of Main Street on East Georgia is a proverbial playground made of paper, courtesy of Montréal’s Séripop (Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum). Having seen their work in the past, I quickly made my way to Access Gallery — like a fat kid going to the Smarties factory — knowing my satisfaction would be guaranteed with Vexations.

Even from the rainy sidewalk, the window space seemed full of eye-candy. Two large accumulations of paper are given impossible weight through the use of a simple hanging device made of hardware store pulleys, netting and yellow nylon rope. Lum and Desranleau have pushed to the limit the art of silkscreening by creating precarious installations that question the printed page.

Folding, crumpling, crushing, pasting and layering: no creative stone is left unturned.

Where most conventional print shows would have single framed pieces lined up side by side to be viewed individually, here the very material specificity of paper is being explored. Folding, crumpling, crushing, pasting and layering: no creative stone is left unturned. Even the boyish pleasure of chewing up spitballs and tossing them on the wall is evoked by one of the various installations, to grand effect.

In another instance, the window space is defined from the main gallery by a wall made from paper admitting black on black pinstripes. This massive patchwork sheet then makes its way to the ground, where it coats the floor, as wallpaper would in a typical room.

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As you’ve probably guessed by now, a Séripop show is anything but ordinary; it is no surprise that sitting on the somewhat tattered paper flooring is a larger than life, folded up piece that recalls the paper fans so often crafted out of brochures and scraps of paper when the summer heat wave settles in.

And ironically enough, the dark sheet then bumps up again, settling on two larger masses that are blowing air: inflatable baubles of bold contrasting colours.

The use of both colour and form mould the gallery space into a battlefield where entropy and utopian architecture duke it out. This conflict is less a war than a healthy snowball fight between friends, as the monochromatic earth-toned sheets seem to get along with the acidic neon constructions that bolster the eye out of apathy, despite their formal differences.

Other sheets are pasted on the wall over and over again, in different patterns and colours, with the last of these rippling under the pressures of accumulation. They sag and distort, demonstrating the limits of their flexibility, and calling us to doubt the structure of the gallery itself.

Lively and somewhat apocalyptic all at once, Vexations is a paperwork jungle gym.

Séripop: Vexations will be presented until March 8 at Access Gallery, 222 East Georgia St.  

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