Quebec City art collective BGL (from left), Nicolas Laverdière, Sébastien Giguère and Jasmin Bilodeau, at the Musée nationale des beaux-arts du Québec in 2000.
BGL, Peine débuté le chantier fut encore, 1997. Detail. Installation view at L’œil de poisson. Photo: Ivan Binet.
BGL, Perdus dans la nature, 1998. Detail. Installation view at La chambre blanche. Photo: Ivan Binet.
BGL, Rejoindre quelqu’un, 1999. Detail. Installation view at Est-Nord-Est, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.
BGL, À L’abri des arbres, 2000. Detail. Installation view at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Mathieu Laverdière.
BGL, À L’abri des arbres, 2000. Detail. Installation view at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
BGL, Profession: arbre de Noël, 2001. Installation view at Le Lobe, Chicoutimi.
BGL, Le manège, 2002. Installation view at Îlot Fleurie, Québec City.
BGL, Jouet d’adulte, 2003–10.
BGL, Bosquets d’espionnage, 2004. Performance at “Buy-Sell 2004,” Toulouse, France
BGL, Rapides et dangereux, 2005. Performance at Manif d’art 3.
BGL, Marche avec moi, 2006. Performance at the Havana Biennale, Cuba. Photo: Natalie Jean.
BGL, Le discours des elements, 2006–07. Detail. Installation view at the National Gallery of Canada. Photo: Ivan Binet.
BGL, Le piège, 2007. Photo: Guy L’Heureux.
BGL, Le piège, 2007. Detail. Photo: Guy L’Heureux.
BGL, Sausage Project, 2008. Performance at Jump Ship Rat Biennale, Liverpool, England. Photo: Mathieu Doyon
BGL, Meatballs/Tribute to the Group of Seven, 2009. Installation view at Diaz Contemporary.
BGL, Cultiver son Jardin/Hivernation 3D, 2010. Installation view at Centre de design de l’UQAM. Photo: Michel Brunelle.
BGL, Spectacle + Problèmes, 2011. Detail. Installation view at Musée Mac/Val, Paris. Photo: Marc Dommage.
BGL, Vieux soleil, 2012. Installation view at Diaz Contemporary. Photo: April Maciborka.
BGL, Taxi Chicha Muffler, 2013. Performance at Cultural Hijack, London, England. Photo: Natalie Jean.
BGL, La cloture, 2014. Installation view at Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Photo: M.H. Lépine.
BGL, Carrousel, 2014. Installation view at Festival FASS, Sudbury.
Expect the unexpected. That’s perhaps the best way to approach the work of Quebec City art collective BGL. Since meeting at Laval University in the late 1990s, the trio—made up of artists Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière—have developed a critically acclaimed practice that hinges on their own unique brand of sophisticated silliness. Whether pushing through Quebec City traffic on a racing motorcycle powered by inline skates, offering passersby a drag on a communal hooka built from the exhaust system of a London, UK, taxicab or hanging an office drop ceiling in the middle of a forest, BGL takes wry pleasure in upending the status-quo boundaries of popular culture, collective engagement and the often self-serious nature of contemporary art-making—always with a trick up their sleeves.
As the trio prepares to launch their latest art-world intervention in the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale this May, contributing editor Isa Tousignant caught up with BGL in their Quebec City studio for a Spring issue cover story that tracks the collaborative chaos and clever conceptualism that is a hallmark of their practice. Here, we take a career-spanning look back at images and videos of some key BGL projects—one for each year of their partnership—as proof positive that taking fun seriously pays off.