Catherine Landry Gabriel Lapierre / Générateur Spectaculaire

What if the action was an end in itself and not only a means? Conceived by Catherine Landry and Gabriel Lapierre, Générateur spectaculaire comes alive through performances in which the two artists progressively destroy the result of their own labour. This performative installation therefore sets up actions that produce nothing but the fact that they have been done, in a way similar to the demolition/construction due to gentrification, which has been a major issue for the Darling Foundry.

Located on the southwest side of Ottawa street, along the Hydro-Québec building, Générateur spectaculaire is a cube of 5 small brick walls, each of them measuring 5 feet high and 6 feet long. Produced in the exact same way thanks to a mould of plaster and liquid clay, these hollow bricks distinguish themselves through various glazes characterising every wall, from the application of a red iron oxide to a range of shiny and colourful glazes. On the right side of this cube, a sledgehammer is locked in a box. This sledgehammer is used for the 5 performances, allowing the artists to activate their artwork by destroying it. The sound of the sledgehammer impact is exacerbated by a small microphone linked to an amplifier - thus reinforcing the idea of an explosion. This amplifier is set in a fake concrete wall located between the 5 small walls and the building. A part of this buffer wall is a wire cage in which the artists will collect the debris. 

The installation is destroyed by the artists at the pace of one wall per performance throughout the 2018 Place Publique nights. Armed with the sledgehammer-microphone, the artists burst the ceramic bricks and make the amplified sound of the sledgehammer resonate against the wall. Little by little, as the activations are made, the walls collapse, disclosing the various glazes and letting out a less and less muffled sound. At the end of every performance, the debris are placed in a wired cage making visible the evolution of the structure as it changes. As a result, there will be a gradient of debris showing the five different glazes. 

What is created by the demolition is the spectacle, the expectation for the liberation of the sound and the aesthetical transformation of urban landscape. All the efforts that have been directed towards producing the bricks only serve this purpose, and demonstrate the absurd link between the means and the end. Paradoxically, once there will be no wall left, there will be nothing else to demolish. Nothing else will produce a sound and there will be no installation left to perform the show. This end will lead to a silent anti-climax around the structure debris. In the end, the artwork will be the evidence of an action whose purpose was only to be done. 

The demolition that produces the sound producing the show will only have produced witnesses. 


Catherine Landry and Gabriel Lapierre are both undergraduate students at the UQÀM École des arts visuels et médiatiques. Within the context of a course entitled "Issues of sculpture: public spaces", taught by artist and professor Stéphane Gilot, they took part in a contest developed in partnership with the Darling Foundry in order to conceive the semi-permanent artwork for the 2018 Place Publique. Throughout the fall 2017, all the students following this course conceptualized, developed and presented their projects in front of the class, and then in front of an external jury of specialists. During the jury examination, they presented the concept, the model, the samples and the budget of their projects. The winning project, Générateur spectaculaire by Catherine Landry and Gabriel Lapierre, benefits from a logistical and financial support by the Darling Foundry.