anonymous (nino rodriguez)

tara bethune-leamen

michael daines

frédéric durieu


wolf kahlen


jillian mcdonald

brooke singer

carlo zanni

artists' bios






biennale de montréal

Between these two terms, the logical symbol, not of equality, but of equivalence. Since more than any other media, the Web seems to force a posture on the artist - that is, at once an ethical stand and an aesthetic gesture.

By placing between the artist and his work the action of the machine, the electronic media introduces a distance between gesture and expression. Just as the line of the drawing breaks down into pixels, the body and person of the artist appear disembodied, absent. Yet, paradoxically, many Web artists have managed to make of this place - or rather non-place - that is Internet a privileged space for personal expression, communication and communion with the spectator/visitor as well as a place for questioning and appropriating the media itself. This is because the Web, contrary to "traditional" art, is above all a "media" in the strong sense of term, that is, a communication channel between worlds, interior and exterior, real and virtual, the world of the surfers as well as the artists.

The ten works selected here show the variety of choices and means of expression of the artists who have opted for the Web as their media as well as the material and subject for their work. In keeping with the theme of the 3rd Biennale de Montréal, Life is life!... Pleasures, passions, emotions, they nonetheless have in common humour, sometimes irony ... but also elegance and beauty... in various degrees, sometimes in the simplicity of their design or, conversely, by the brilliance of their colours and their forms. Each one finally strikes by its playful aspect... and, in short, by its ease, a certain mastery, or rather a definite mastery of the media, which also knows how to involve the visitor. Thus interactive and expressive, such works undoubtedly manage to turn the Web into a "hot" media.

Between celebration and dissolution (see Michel Tournier1), these works are then divided... either by updating known artistic genres like the portrait in the work of Carlo Zanni, a.k.a beta (Electronic Soul Mirroring), which literally presents the visitor with a mirror... or the self-portrait, as in the anonymous Portrait of the Artist as a Home Page, or the work of Brooke Singer (Self-Portrait version 2.0), Wolf Kahlen (Selbst-los / Self-less) or the (very) young Canadian Michael Daines (The Body of Michael Daines), all works where the classic "self-portrait" also becomes a (biting... vitriolic) comment on the place of the artist and "artwork" on and "in" the Web, and ultimately in the world of art and commerce, or just the world.

We also wanted to underline with at least one work, Lia's expressive, visually rich Re-Move, one of the major themes of the 3rd Biennale de Montréal, drawing, to give an idea of the renewal this form of expression enjoys through the work of Web and computer artists.

Finally, a series of four works, by Frédéric Durieu (Experimental Zoo), Tara Bethune-Leamen, (Virus Corp), Jhave (Nomad Lingo) and Jillian Mcdonald (Home Like No Place), creates through various means small worlds that are as many comments, sometimes on the artist's personal life, like Jhave's work which is spread out over one year and mixes poems and animated images in a kind of personal diary taking the form of the round of seasons; sometimes the "natural" world revised humorously by Frédéric Durieu and Jillian Mcdonald; and finally the Web world, which is blithely and more or less harshly, and in any case pleasurably, ravaged by the action of Virus Corp launched by Tara Bethune-Leamen.


Anne-Marie Boisvert
Web Art Curator


1- " [Art] responds to two interdependent functions [...] A critical, subversive, antiestablishment function that finds its best weapon in humour. And a function of praise. Dissolution and celebration. "
(Michel Tournier, Le Vol du vampire, Mercure de France, 1981, p: 255)


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