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.