Daniel Dion et Philippe Poloni
Colour video, sound, 9 min
Conceived as a cable broadcast project for Open Space, an artist-run centre in Victoria, British-Columbia, Système des beaux-arts is a video by Daniel Dion and Philippe Poloni that features Poloni in a mock-interview setting. The piece involved the occupation of a site chosen for its representative role, in this case, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Seated in a minimalist décor, the artist recites a didactic speech in alternating French and English. His repetitive message contests a system that is perceived as elitist, directly attacking art’s critical discourse through an illogical and deliberately ridiculous mise en scène. The truncated images show partial views of the protagonist, while the out of focus shots imply the camera is being handled by an amateur. Poloni’s speech is interspersed by dizzying scenes shot from a speeding car. Fast moving and off-centre, they are uncomfortable to watch. Through these and other strategies, Système des beaux-arts rejects the conventional value measures by which art is judged, and blames these for conveying a fragmented vision of art. Powerful, political, provocative and intentionally disconcerting, this video was considered to be ground-breaking in Québec.