Much of the work produced by Chloë Lum & Yannick Desranleau requires active collaboration, not simply with each other, choreographers, musicians, and dancers, but with the objects they produce; objects that perform collectively as costumes, sets, noisemakers, and sculptures. Theirs is a performance- and material-heavy practice informed by their time in the avant-rock group AIDS Wolf—of which they were founding members—and the DIY, scrappy, screen-printed poster work made under the pseudonym, Séripop.
At the core of the meta-musical The Garden of a Former House Turned Museum are six original songs composed from a series of letters written by a fictional artist to deceased Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector. Described as auto-fiction, the letters seek worldly advice and reveal Lum and Lispector’s shared experience of living with chronic pain. Dramatic in tone, exaggerated when sung, these monologues feature several performers who, in an entwined choreography of semantics and movement, solicit guidance from the erudite and sly ghost of Lispector.
With every project, Lum & Desranleau create countless performance props (often made from a combination of papier-mâché, rubber, and/or fabric) which are firstly used as essential elements to affect the movement of the body within the choreography, then later as sculptures within immersive gallery installations. In The Garden of a Former House Turned Museum, four performers wrestle, dance, hold onto, lean on, and play with these props. The forms of these objects challenge definition: in relation to the body they are prosthetics or mobility aids; when worn, internal organs, residual limbs, or strips of flesh; and when struck or activated, musical instruments. Deeply experimental and ever inquisitive, the resulting work steps outside the material world and the flesh of our bodies to seek transformation and tranquility beyond the immediacy and limitations of pain.
The artists thank: Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre, Musée d’art de Joliette, Diagonale, Frederico Pellachin, Consuelo Bassanesi and Despina, Dani Mattos, Erik Edson and the Pierre Lassonde School of Fine Arts of the Mount Allison University, Salon 58, Oswaldo Toledano, Marie-Josée Archambault, Oboro, and James Anderson.
The artists acknowledge the generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des Lettres du Québec, Oboro, and Koyama Provides.