Based on the premise of Carl Jung's philosophies of synchronicity, which is the experience of two or more events that are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner, Montreal/Berlin-based artist Gabriel Coutu-Dumont presents a series of photo-based works taken during an international tour with audio-arist Marc Leclair.
Image credit: Gabriel Coutu-Dumont, 2010.
Initially trained as a photographer, having made his name as a visual collaborator through MUTEK and maintaining a career as a videographer for musicians such as Patrick Watson, Coutu-Dumont shies away from any one label in his artistic practice.
Returning to his roots in photography from his days at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, Coutu-Dumont spent some time in Spain going through his countless contact sheets that have resulted in a forthcoming book to be presented by Clark Gallery in Montréal this year and the exhibition currently at Latitude 53.
From three-dimensional polyhedrals to formal and informal presentations of people, landscapes, tattoos and other random moments, Coutu-Dumont was interested in playing with the conception of a photography exhibition.
"I can't get away from my training, which was very precise and technical, so that's why I find drawing and video much easier," he explains. "I'm more free to do what I need to do, but I do not feel comfortable with being called a photographer or anything else, because that is limiting, and there is so much more to say, but I personally find photography very hard to mix into everything else and I wanted to escape the single flat image on the wall."
Discovering underlying patterns filtered from the thousands of photographs taken in China, Europe, South and North America, the final 275 images—some figurative, some of abstract textures— are the fruit of fleeting moments captured without great intention, shots in the manner of a diary or a family album. Discovering afterwards the surprising pictorial instances of Jungian-inspired "synchronicity" between certain images, it was an occurrence that initially paved the three-year road process that led to this show.
Clarifying on his understanding of Jung's philosophy, Coutu-Dumont states, "Synchronism is a coincidence in time. The sound a glass would generate when shattering while shattering and not a nano second before nor after. Although synchronism is something that fascinates me, especially when I work with video/new media work, often in collaboration with audio artists or when making video for my own music. But to count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance."
Re-reading the images into a "remix/a sample" of his photographic data bank, the project by no means proposes to be a "best of" series from his travels. Rather, Coutu-Dumont is hyper aware of creating an interlacing between situations that commune/communicate—or not—between each other.
He shares, "For me, synchronicity is not only a content component, it very much defines the very practice of photography in which one captures pictures in one moment and then develops and fixes them in another so that one constantly finds oneself in a time-space of differed simultaneity that is rife with echoes, dialogues and resonances. Whereas 'sketches' are a way of taking notes, practising scales and improvising along the way. In my view Sketches of Synchronicity is a very personal collection of 'photographic markers' that defines me as much as they influence my work through synchronicity's dual play."
*First published in Vue Weekly