Taken from what I submitted for my first MFA crit and edited for a durational performance application. Didn’t make it to the deadline cuz END OF TERM, but here we are. Succinctly.
BIO Florence Vallières was born in 1988 in Montréal. She is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Ottawa.
STATEMENT Vallières’ practice ranges from individual pieces in video, fibres or drawing, to multimedia performative projects incorporating creative writing. In these fictional histories, issues of character and narrative development unfold through fabricated evidence, factual references and meaningful coincidences.
But I did one anyway for the University of Ottawa, where I am applying for an MFA. I feel it’s pretty representative of what I do; comments? P.S.: Yes it HAD to be this long, min. 500 words. I made it to 445.
"Working primarily in performance but supported by a wide variety of media, I narrate hoaxes made tangible by created evidence in drawing, video, sound, fibres and installation. Influenced by a range of disciplines, my writing owes much to the improvisation techniques I derive from my experience in drama and my knowledge of Dada and the avant-gardes of the 60s and 70s. A longtime Art History student, my imagery is infused with references to Italian Mannerism and a personal iconography I derive from the Middle-Ages as well as later periods of European art.
As a francophone working primarily in English and occasionally in Italian, issues of language and culture are predominant in my research and reflection and while my work does not make my feminist and post-colonial allegiances explicit, the narrative world in which I evolve is a place of subtle empowerment. My work emphasizes esthetics concerns and favours playful humour over dramatic developments. An admirer of children’s books illustrators from Cruikshank and Gabrielle Vincent to Gorey and Claude Ponti, my performing style is heir to impersonators and tricksters such as Castiglione, Cahun, Beuys and Walid Raad.
I see my work as a place of escape and solace, where characters, objects and events evolve in tightly controlled environments. A practiced daydreamer, my capacity for visualizing is often at the source of my objects and stories, and evolve through automatic or improvised writing. As a performer, I tend to enact the character of an absent-minded lecturer, ploughing through her notes with no interaction with her audience; I use this and other devices to comical effect while my carefully crafted images and tampered evidence add a depth and a scholastic authority to my poetic license.
My recent projects include “The Turtledove in the Fig Tree”, an ongoing performance of and about the amateur-collector Dr. Usignolo. The performance includes text, woven birds’ nests, drawings and short videos as well as music and ambient sound recordings, and will eventually comprise rudimentary electronics in the shape of bird and tree automatons.
While essentially trained as a new media artist, I am increasingly working with sculpture and installation as further tools to enhance my performances, such as in “Simon Returns”, the final installment of the “Instant Montreal Scots” series. An upcoming album, “dawn horse”, to be released under my musician name, “early horse”, is in the early phases of recording.
I am otherwise doing a residency at Concordia’s Fine Arts Reading Room, using the composer and experimental musician Robert Marcel Lepage’s improvisation grid to create short drawn narratives, and will participate to the Montreal Nuit Blanche with my performance art collective, les Beaux-Enfants, on a dinner piece titled “Turn on a Dime”.”