Thursday, March 1, 2012

Poster Perfection: Q&A with Seripop's Chloe Lum and Yannick Desranleau out in today's National Post

Could be that I'm just a diehard print-head (yes, that's me in the morning trying to read a full-sized newspaper section on the crowded 501 streetcar) but I really love the poster/paper installations of Seripop, aka Chloe Lum and Yannick Desranleau.

Lum and Desranleau started out doing street posters for their band AIDS Wolf in Montreal, but lately have switched to doing gallery installations. I really enjoyed their installation at the Quebec Triennial, and was excited to hear they would be doing something in the GTA this winter, specifically at the University of Toronto Mississauga's Blackwood Gallery.

I was lucky in January to be able to meet with them at the Blackwood and ask them some questions about their work. The resulting condensed Q&A is out in today's National Post. An excerpt:

Q You guys made street posters for eight years, and when I step into your paper installations I often feel like I'm stepping into a giant poster - very immersive and fun. What's it like for you?

Desranleau We try to be playful; it keeps us from getting bored. One thing we really like is working with the ephemeral aspect of postering. You put something up on the street and it gets covered and destroyed.

Lum And so all our installation work is made to be destroyed. There's often elements on the floor that people will walk on, that get more and more beat up as more people visit.

Desranleau Our installations are also a nod to this idea that the poster is one of the only ways for people to express themselves in an urban context.

Lum And express themselves freely - I mean free as in not costing money, because we can't all hire a billboard or commission an architect. Other than postering, people in cities are pretty powerless to affect how the surroundings look. So we're interested in posters as markers of space.

Desranleau Posters are interesting as community-oriented art objects as well. If you are in a neighbourhood, the posters kind of speak to that neighbourhood. We're interested in how posters can create an environment.

Q You started postering to promote your band, AIDS Wolf. What comes first for you - music or art?

Lum It's shifted back and forth a lot over the years. When we started collaborating together it was just playing in bands. Starting to do posters was a happy medium between our separate lives and art practices.

Desranleau There's also something romantic about being a poster artist that was really attractive to us.

Lum Yeah, your work is, from the get go, all over the city. You don't have to get an exhibition, because everybody sees your work anyway. And that worked out great for us because within six months of deciding to dedicate ourselves to postering we were in conversations with giants of the field who were taking us on in informal Internet mentorships. In the world of contemporary art, that just would not happen!

For the rest, track down the Arts & Life section of today's National Post.

And to learn more about Seripop's work, visit the Blackwood for a roundtable on March 2 (tomorrow!) from 1 to 3pm. The show runs until this Sunday, March 4. It's worth stopping by for a taste of the general OTT-ness in their work, which I really enjoy.

(Photo of one of Seripop's installations at the Blackwood by Toni Hafkenscheid)

No comments: