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Jean-Pierre Gauthier: Machine Magic

Jean-Pierre Gauthier Thorax 2010 Installation view Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery New York

Few might think of a janitor’s room with a motley cache of industrial-grade cleaners, spray bottles, metal lockers, toilet brushes and mops as an ideal site for a sculptural intervention—except, perhaps, Montreal artist Jean-Pierre Gauthier. Indeed, Gauthier’s installation Le grand ménage, a highlight of the 2000 Biennale de Montréal, brought this exact space alive in an uproariously inventive display of clanging, bubbling and whirling kinetic activity. It was a work that cemented Gauthier’s reputation as an artist to watch, and, as writer Katie Addleman reports in our Winter 2012 magazine profile “Ghost in the Machine,” he has continued to bring that same playfully sophisticated edge to everyday materials in the years since. Here, a survey of images and videos offers a look at the mechanical poetics of Gauthier’s sculptural practice from Le grand ménage to his latest solo exhibition in June 2011 at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.

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