Bertrand Carrière | Signes De Jour

22 February - 22 March 2003

Exhibition Dates: February 22 - March 22, 2033


"Premonitions unheeded carry terrible, guilty freight. This is not the effect of Signes de jour, for despite its palpable sadness, there is no self-reproach, only a desire to elegize, to remember."

- Martha Langford [1]


The career of Bertrand Carrière has spanned over two decades, during which time his work has been consistently autobiographical, rooted in day-to-day life and starring his family and friends. His latest body of work is more ambiguous in its imagery, although ultimately no less self-reflective in its content. 


Weighted heavily in the themes of memory and mortality, Signes de jour draws on our tendency to interpret and intuit personal symbolism within photographs. The work emerged out of a time of personal turmoil for Bertrand, as he dealt with the inevitable death of a close family member, and the unexpected loss of several friends. Previously exposed rolls of film, which had been set aside so as to be discovered anew when processed, began to elicit eerie premonitions: the face of a woman under water foreshadowed the drowning of a friend. The landscape of rural Québec, fragmented by a treacherous ice storm, spoke of chaos and death. 


The resulting photographs hold us with a tension that is tangible. There are few horizon lines in the work, and none at all in its installation, which utilizes grids of gelatin silver prints. Often our visual entry into the images is blocked by earth, air, fire, or water. At the same time, we are drawn in by the format of the square image, in which we inherently search for a centre. Once secured, our gaze is continually diverted in different directions throughout the grid, breaking the traditional sequential reading that we so often follow. It is a dynamic narrative that encourages our participation and suggests, but never constructs, our interpretation.

[1] Carrière, Bertand; Signes de jour; Les 400 coups, Montreal, Quebec, 2002; pg. 11