Simon Belleau’s Champs Élysées at Parisian Laundry plays out as procession. A theatre of objects lures the viewer down a path as one is greeted, beckoned, and then propelled forward into the gallery’s bunker space. The promise of paradise or the after-life in the evocation of Elysian Fields is only half kept in the scenographic backdrops and objects alluding to the sun and birth that mask the idiosyncrasies of this subterranean space. A soft yet persistent smell of lavender permeates the nostrils as we gaze around the room which is expanded into a fictive and illusionistic field. The artist’s references to images from popular culture and consumerism, paired with the bizarre materiality of sculptures of pies and a giant faux-fini egg, position us deep in the realm of what it takes to create a scene, and being privy to its inner workings rather than sheltered from them. Belleau’s space is at once domestic and public as it hovers in the zone of a sordid dream. A conflation of personal desire and the public arena is made possible by employing universal staging tropes for the freedom of artifice to propose a political theatre.
Simon Belleau is a Canadian born artist currently working in Montreal. He completed a Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 where he was the recipient of the prestigious Jacques & Natasha Gelman Trust Scholar and Fellow Program. He has shown his work in several solo and group exhibitions including: Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Italy (2018); Galerie René Blouin, Montreal (2018); Sculpture Center, New York (2018); solo at Raising Cattle gallery, Montreal (2017); Marsèlleria gallery, New York (2017); solo at OPTICA Centre d’Art Contemporain, Montreal (2016); VIE D’ANGE gallery, Montreal (2016); Beers London gallery, London, UK (2015). Simon Belleau was a finalist for the Prix Pierre-Ayot in 2017. He has also co-founded the curatorial project jeux d’été in Chicago and is a permanent member of Montreal’s gallery soon.tw. He is one of the nine laureates of the Darling Foundry’s 2019-2022 Montreal Studio Program.