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Trevor Gould

(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

Trevor Gould, Pictural Living, 2001
Trevor Gould, Pictural Living, 2001 Trevor Gould, Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public, 1998 Trevor Gould, Pictural Living, 2001
"I work from the insight that sculpture is a form of social material and that my exhibitions involve the production of artwork that can be viewed as a form of cultural research." (1)

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Trevor Gould studied at the Johannesburg College of Art and at the University of South Africa. Gould arrived in Canada in 1980. Currently, he lives and works in Montreal, where he teaches at Concordia University.

Gould's work can be interpreted as an exploration of the way images and objects represent the beliefs, attitudes, and values in our social history. A prime concern for Gould is the interior mapping that guides and mediates our actions and our sense of presence in the world. His work thus addresses issues of our awareness and understanding of cultural space. From the constructive process to interpretative explorations, Gould focuses on recurring themes such as appropriation, power and representation. Through his work he draws on the symbolism of various flora and fauna, evoking a nature/culture relationship in order to explore issues of colonialism, post-colonialism and identity formation. Often installed in non-conventional exhibition venues, such as a botanical garden, a public park, or natural museum, his multimedia productions include photos, watercolours, drawings, life-size sculptures and site-specific installations. His works therefore embody his commentaries on the transfer of cultural patterns and the appropriation of form, or a point of view from which to contemplate world geography, history and traditions. Through his constructed flora and fauna, plants and animals serve as a metaphor for geographical locations and represent the domination of one culture over another. In most of his installations, Gould appropriates museological apparatus and in so doing questions the role of the museum. His installation, Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public, is a good example of this strategy.

Organized by the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal in 1998, Posing for the Public is an exhibition that gathers artifacts and archival material from the American Museum of Natural History, in New York, and Gould's own work. Through this project he challenges the traditional interpretations of nature by appropriating exhibition techniques - such as diorama, taxidermy, theatrical presentation and archival documents - and offers a reconsideration of our past and present relationships with nature. Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public has been presented nationally and internationally.

Trevor Gould's work has been shown in Canada and abroad, where he has taken part in a number of solo and group exhibitions. Among the most recent solo exhibitions are - Poser pour le public, Centre d'art contemporain Basse Normandie, Canadian Cultural Center, Paris, France (2002); Pictorial Living, Arte Giani, Frankfurt, Germany (2001); Trevor Gould, Art lab, Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria (2001); Poser pour le public / Posing for the Public, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (1998); African Pavilion, Galerie Rochefort, Montreal (1995); Trevor Gould: Inventing a Homeland, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa (1993). Group exhibitions in which Gould has participated are : Il Tempo Della Profezia, Casale Monferato, Italy (2002); Moving ideas: Dust on The Road, MAI Centre culturel, Montreal (2001); New Republics: Contemporary Art from Australia, Canada, and South Africa, Edmonton Art Gallery, Canada (2000); Living Sculpture - Le Grand Réservoir, C.H.U. De Bicetre, Paris, France (1999); The Leaf Thief, la Biennale de Montreal, CIAC (1998); Blaast, Galerie Rochefort, Montreal (1997); Leda e il Cigno, Galerie Alberto Weber, Turin (1996); Africus '95: 1st Johannesburg biennale, Johannesburg (1995).

In addition, Gould's works have been the subject of a number of catalogue essays. His work is also included in numerous public institution collections: the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the City of Ottawa, the Banff Centre Library Collection; and in private collections in Canada, USA, Poland, Germany and Italy.

Trevor Gould has recently finished Three Dimensional Blur with Digital Wind and Accessories. This project builds on the narrative ideas of his work entitled The Leaf Thief, (2) an interrogation of the relationship between landscape and identity and a critique of the persisting imperialist exploitation of natural resources.

Three Dimensional Blur with Digital Wind and Accessories is also an experimental work that aimed to develop existing mould-making materials enhanced through digital manipulations in 3 D printing and through muscle wire manipulations. As such, it expands on his present working methods.

Dominique Fontaine © 2004 FDL

(1) Quoted from Trevor Gould's proposal.

(2) See: