Claire Fontaine, Carelessness Causes Fire
. Installation view, Audain Gallery, 2012. Photo: Kevin Schmidt.

Claire Fontaine

Carelessness Causes Fire is the first solo exhibition in Canada by the Paris-based “collective artist” Claire Fontaine, who is the Audain Visual Artist in Residence for fall 2012. Taking her name from a common brand of French notebooks and stationery, Claire Fontaine is a self-described “readymade artist,” founded in 2004 and aided by her “assistants” Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill.

Claire Fontaine’s exhibition Carelessness Causes Fire, features sculpture, writing, video and painting. These different media are used as “vectors of a specific intensity” to critically explore what the artist identifies as the “crisis of singularity” and the political impotency she sees in contemporary society.

The exhibition presents old and new works to examine the psychological and political consequences of the Arab Spring on the Western perception of reality. The ambiguity of the exhibition’s title, lifted from a security warning found by the artist under an office chair, evokes both the metaphorical fire of the uprising as it invaded streets and buildings, and the actual fire of weapons that often accompanied it.

A climate of blind, even careless violence is also recreated through a number of works in the exhibition that quote the aesthetic codes of abstraction and minimalism. These enduring visual languages, although removed from figuration, still have ethical consequences. Here, the artist confronts these languages directly with the real world economic and political violence that they do not portray but, nonetheless, still intimately relate to.

The series of digital paintings entitled Studies for Tactical Entry, for example, faithfully transcribes the representation of the “cones of action” of firearms held by two armed people as they traverse various corridors and stairways. Although these geometrical figures on the canvases appear very similar to the visual language of Suprematist painting, in reality they are schematic representations used by the armed forces to display dangerous movements in interior spaces.

As part of her residency, Claire Fontaine will work with students from the MFA Visual Arts program at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University and the MFA in Visual Art program at the University of British Columbia, through the screening of films and presentation of seminars exploring the artist’s notion of the “human strike”. Claire Fontaine’s work with students will culminate in a final public presentation featuring a talk and a screening of excerpts from the selected films, on November 24 at 7pm in the Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Carelessness Causes Fire is realized with the support of the Consulat général de France in Vancouver and presented in partnership with the Institutions by Artists conference, which runs from October 12 - 14, 2012, at Simon Fraser University at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Curated by Sabine Bitter.


Claire Fontaine: Carelessness Causes Fire

October 12 - December 22, 2012
Audain Gallery

Opening Reception

Thursday, October 11, 8pm

Artist Talk

Thursday, October 11, 6pm
World Art Centre


Lech Kowalski – East of Paradise (2005)
Wednesday, October 3, 6pm

Claude Lanzmann – Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4 p.m. (2001)
Wednesday, October 10, 6pm

Tamar Yarom – To See if I'm Smiling (2007)
Wednesday, October 17, 6pm

Marco Bellocchio – Devil in the Flesh (1986)
Wednesday, October 24, 6pm

Jean-Luc Godard – La Chinoise (1967)
Wednesday, October 31, 6pm

Sam Green and Bill Siegel – The Weather Underground (2002)
Ralph Arlyck – Sean (1969)
Monday, November 19, 6pm

The General Strike: on the Work of Santiago Sierra & Claire Fontaine

Talk and panel discussion with Jaleh Mansoor, Randy Lee Cutler, Jeff Derksen, and Kathleen Ritter.
Tuesday, October 30, 6pm
World Art Centre

Watch the talk HERE.

Lecture and Screening: Claire Fontaine: Human Strike Within Moving Images

Satuday, November 24, 7pm
The Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema

Presented with SFU Galleries.

Claire Fontaine, Carelessness Causes Fire
. Installation view, Audain Gallery, 2012. Photo: Kevin Schmidt.