Janick Burn

Editor : Est-Nord-Est, résidence d'artistes
Location : Saint-Jean-Port-Joli
Year : 2023
Language : French / English
Author : Galadriel Avon

Artist and author

Janick Burn

Janick Burn plays multiple roles in the visual arts field – in turn artist, author, curator, and cultural worker. At Est-Nord-Est she explored self-publishing as an art practice; this has already been the focal point of her research for some time. Active work around the new iteration of her group exhibition Exposer avec l’autoédition To expose the self — (AdMare, 2022), which highlights six artists’ projects, took up part of her residency, as the exhibition will be presented at Magasin d’Arprim (Montréal) in fall 2023. Shelves, installation devices, and small supports carve out a path in the studio: they will shape the new face of this exhibition, whose intention is to have us (re)think about how we understand artist books on the basis of their political, sensitive, accessible, intimate, and subversive aspects.

During her residency, Burns changed how she works. Although she often adopts the book as a subject of study, during her stay at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli she was impelled to probe it as a space of material and narrative explorations. Therefore, from an approach based on analysis, thought, and concepts – in which she is often sitting at a table and surrounded by specialized books – she shifted toward a daily routine that resembled a studio practice, with movements and activities from which her own artist book project emerged. On the wall were laid out the pages of a non-linear narrative under construction: taking an experimental approach, Burn sought to grasp how frames engender margins. She thus examined gaps in time, the imagination’s distortions of memories, and inconsistencies between reminiscences and the present as so many back-and-forths that force the normalized structure of the narrative plot to bend and allow the notions of point of view, periphery, and offscreen to emerge through the book. In her view, this is how the self-published object is conceived as an alternative means of exhibition: it addresses the hidden side.

Burn’s book dummy explores edges, interstitial spaces. As if we were entering a house, she highlights a passage into a den, a sliding into an in-between: a place that in her draft book shelters both body and thought, welcoming us by the light filtering through the photographed windows. For viewers who visit her temporary creative space in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, this project is a gateway into her current concerns. By relating an experience in these pages, Burn creates an Other: one of apprehension, comprehension, readings. Because it is performative, the narrative thread conceived for the object reveals, in its materiality, the multiple potentialities of the field’s acute angles. In the end, is it the book that ties everything together?