Vicky Sabourin’s work arises out of her imaginary, made up in part of many stories heard over the years. This world is elaborated out of a fantasized inner landscape taking the form of a narrative or tale. Through her installations and performances, she attempts to provoke a strong emotional reaction similar to what she has experienced. Her work is both a tableau vivant and a diorama, in which she tells stories tied to our relations with nature.
This new installation brings the visitors into a game-piece still life with a dead bobcat. Derived objects from hunting—shotgun shells, traps made of ceramics—adorn the diorama as fatal jewellery reminding us of the vanitas. The animal presence, for its part, transcends the representation of a hunting trophy. Danse Macabre refers to the medieval pictorial genre of the same name that depicted the vanity of social classes. Here, it is the death of the animal that confronts our own mortality and raises the debate between the civilized and the wild.
The idea for the project emerged after viewing a YouTube video from Richard Hiltz, a hunter from Nova Scotia. Alone in the woods, Hiltz films himself while hunting and clearing his trap lines. During the winter 2009, Hiltz kills a bobcat off camera after finding it caught but still alive in one of his traps. Later, while resetting the trap, the inanimate animal abruptly starts to move post postmortem. The camera is left running and captures Hiltz’s reaction; stunned and frozen in the frame while the animal does a Danse Macabre. This recorded scene illustrates the paradox of experiencing a moment of solitude in the wilderness and the opposite desire to perform in front of a broad audience via YouTube. During the exhibition, the viewer is invited to trespass. Confined in the cycles of death and rebirth the bobcat is left wandering at the ineffable boundary between reality and fiction: where the supernatural and realism coexist.
Becoming Invisible is a multi chapters body of works that confronts the artist’s anxiety as she tries to disappear. In the first chapter, she draws various tactics from the universe of Falconry to create an installation with a performative video. Questions related to becoming invisible raises other painful issues: it confronts us once more to our own mortality, it carries the political weight of all of the missing and disappearing women and children and it echoes to the ecological disaster of the extinction of some flora and fauna species.
The artist thanks CALQ and Banff Center for the Arts and Creativity.