Solo (2003) is a video exhibited as a video/sound installation depicting shots of drum, voice, guitar, clavier/synthesizer, and a melodica player cut into segmented fragments from the perspective of a studio recording set. Rather than deploying a narrative strategy, Grandmaison focuses on the gestures of the musicians and the repetitions they carry out when recording their individual tracks. The musicians are portrayed nodding, dancing, improvising, strumming, creating resonance that is repeated over and over– however, Grandmaison is sure not to document their entire faces or expressions while they perform, just details. Similar to that of a “jam,” close attention is granted to the exertion of the camera and how it portrays the framing of sequences. What one can pick up from the segments, especially those of voice recording, is a modified reworking of Anne Clark’s 1980’s track “Sleeper in the Metropolis.”
Marked by an apparent austerity and meticulousness, Pascal Grandmaison’s works display a disconcerting aloofness from the world, a clearly asserted detachment from reality. The subjects that interest the artist primarily deal with the means by which humans try to grasp their world, both visually and intellectually. The artist employs photography, video, and sculpture in order to compose a vision of what some have termed “troubling strangeness.” Overturning conventional codes of visual analysis, Grandmaison focuses on inanimate subjects that, once disassociated from their familiar environment, are re-contextualized through his cold gaze. His depictions do not exist as stories instead he reverses viewpoints and inverts color codes. His photographs and video works are generally black and white, giving them a monotone feel. A constant visual repetition in his work is his rigorously impersonal gaze. As a keen observer, he meticulously scrutinizes the world around him, analyzing it through the lens of a camera. Grandmaison is interested in the appearance of things and non-beings and, more rarely, of beings themselves. When human figures do appear in his work, they are presented in an inexpressive, impassive, distant way, equated to the role of an object.
Pascal Grandmaison was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1975.