In Dog Years I’m Dead (2018), Self, Cinema No 1 (2008), V (2017)
Video program of the works by Kenji Ouellet includes three pieces created between 2008 and 2017., At first glance, drastically different, they are devoted to emotions, nature and time, and affect the viewer with equal intensity. Looking at the screen, you involuntary begin to feel that the boundaries between the video and yourself blur. Contemplation, reflection, perception of time and attempts to look within yourself – that is what really unites these seemingly incompatible works.
In a piece “In Dog Years I’m Dead” (2013), Ouellet allows the audience to take a look at the inside of the ballet system: what it does to children, what thoughts it inspires in a child’s mind. But the harder we listen to the statements of famous personalities (from Kim Kardashian and Sasha Gray to Tony Bentley and Samuel Beckett, including dancers and choreographers, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov and George Balanchine), that the children quote, the more we see the reflection of our own thoughts on time, body and growing up.
With “Self, Cinema No 1” (2008), the artist draws a parallel between cinematic and real: emotions experienced by a performer on camera or stage are precisely the same emotions every person goes through in ordinary life. The focus is on a close-up: in complete silence, the heroine gazes at a viewer while a viewer looks attentively at the heroine and... him/herself.
Documentary footage used in a work “V” (2017) reminds of the paintings by a German Romantic Caspar David Friedrich with people standing against breathtakingly beautiful and compelling landscapes. They seem so tiny compared to the scale of cliffs and waterfalls taking pictures to remember, throwing hands in the air forming V-letter. But these snapshots are more than just spectacular photos. These images capture our relationships with nature, ourselves and the world as a whole.