Luis Jacob

Sphinx, 2015
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

The imposing nude, athletic, headless statue of a young man immediately conjures up an ancient sculpture. More contemporary references are revealed in his pose, which recalls that of a photographer framing a picture with his hands, or someone taking a selfie. The contrast is reinforced by the work’s title, which refers to another age, as well as to another geographic and cultural territory. Sphinx is the product of a deliberation on perception and transformation, focusing in particular on alterations in the urban fabric, whose architectural and social configurations are continually changing.

Jacob’s historical and urbanistic considerations are coupled with a philosophical and anthropological approach that characterizes his artistic, literary and curatorial practice. The act of looking is the focal point here.Jacob opens up the dialogue onto our way of observing ourselves as individuals, and our ways of looking at the external world and our position within the space and collectivity around us. This figure with classical contours speaks of the passage of time and the changes occurring in modes of perceiving oneself and the other. The anachronistic references that run through the work also hold out the thought of the continuity of a future that will not escape the inexorable, even exponential, rate of sociocultural adjustments.

Album XII, 20132014
The Demonstration, 2013
Galerie de l’UQAM

The act of observing a representation that itself is observing also highlights the subjective framework of the aesthetic experience, which is projected from the work of art into a broader perception, toward the gaze we cast on what we are made up of individually and collectively. The bank of images found and then assembled by Jacob in Album XII links up with this reflexive approach. Grouped together according to a principle of free correspondence, the images suggest analogies that are to be constructed, developed or completed by the viewer. Analogy is offered as form and content, both in the dialogue between the images and in the meeting of the perceiving subject and the perceived object. The philosophical extensions of Jacob’s research also come through in the silkscreen print The Demonstration, whose central subject, a white monochrome held by a pair of anonymous hands, frames the personal, complex experience of the viewer, who is responsible for a large part of the content. These three pieces reflect the conceptual basis of Jacob’s art, whose many different, unpredictable forms work to neutralize artistic nomenclatures at the same time as they interrogate them.

Album XII and The Demonstration are presented by La Biennale de Montréal in partnership with Galerie de l’UQAM.