Thursday, September 22, 2011

The DIY Red Carpet Treatment: Q&A with Vincent Chevalier out in today's National Post

Following on the celebrity-crazed heels of TIFF, I was even more powerless than usual to resist the charms of Montreal artist Vincent Chevalier's satirical twist on fame: The Red Carpet Treatment. With prior performances in Finland and Montreal, and a current one in Kitchener as part of CAFKA, I think Chevalier's cheeky gesture is definitely autograph-worthy. Chevalier took some time to chat with me on the phone about the project this week, and the condensed Q&A is out in today's National Post. An excerpt:

Q How does your project The Red Carpet Treatment work?

A I'm in Kitchener for 10 days, until the 26th. And for those 10 days I will be walking on this piece of red carpet, which is about my height and my width. Everywhere that I go for that period in outdoor space - doorstep to doorstep - I move forward by putting the carpet in front of me, then taking two steps, then turning around and picking it up, then putting it in front of me, taking two steps, turning around and picking it up, then putting it in front of me, and so on. In indoor spaces, I roll the carpet up and put it in a little bag and walk normally. So I'm always arriving on the red carpet in every place that I go.

Q Wow. Why did you start this project?

A I'm interested in the way that celebrity is taken for granted and given a lot of attention. Obviously, there's also a lot of capital and labour that's put into the whole production of celebrity; there's a whole slew of people working to put that red carpet down for the Academy Awards - people who "don't have names, don't have personalities." The only personalities that shine through are those of the people on the red carpet itself. I wanted to create something that collapsed the privilege and the labour of all that into one gesture. So I'm the producer and the product of my own fame. This is my fourth day in Kitchener and people have already begun to recognize me.

For more--including info on a possible evolution of the project-- read on at the Post. Check Chevalier's website for images from past performances too. And to catch Chevalier in person, check out the streets of downtown Kitchener until September 26th. Again, his presence there comes courtesy of CAFKA, the Contemporary Art Forum of Kitchener and Area.

(Image of Chevalier performing The Red Carpet Treatment in Finland in 2009 from his website)

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