Artist spotlight: Sabrina Jolicoeur

In today’s society people are exposed to dozens or even hundreds of commercials every day. We are nearly drowning in those images. They are everywhere: in stores, outside on the street or in our news feeds on social media. How does it influence our perception of the world? Which role does it play in contemporary art? Sabrina Jolicoeur is a good person to ask those questions. Sabrina, a multidisciplinary artist and a freelance photographer based in Montreal, can see the commercial image from both sides. This allows her to create a new perspective.

(During her BFA in photography at Concordia University) “I was mainly focused on the commodification of image forms”

Surveillance was the main topic for her Bachelor thesis. This referenced her childhood spent on the military base and addressed one of the most discussed public issues. To get a full picture she interviewed a relative who worked in the military as a drone operator. She then conducted research on the companies that make jets, cameras and weaponry for the military. She paid special attention to how they use language as a way of propaganda.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Since coming to the residency at Pilotenkueche, Sabrina has been elaborating on new ideas. Currently she is focusing on commodification of the wellness economy and its offshoots. This led to researching how wellness has been commercialized and shared throughout history. What is particularly interesting about this topic is the fact that it can be accessed on a microscopic level in a connection to a human body, as well as, on an environmental level, and as a space of a wellness.

In her work, We share our blood, she deliberated on wellness in a sense of the community.  She made an installation with different kinds of hooks and wires and all points of connection painted in red as a reference to the blood oxidation. On each end there was an avocado seed as a reminder of growth.

It is very typical of Sabrina to pay special attention to the materials she is working with in terms of their microscopic importance. For example, carbon fiber is used in the tech industry, but at the same time it is one of the essential elements for a human body. She tries to collect all kinds of materials and arrange them so that they interact with each other. Salt and rocks, massage tools and seasonal depression lamp or sea weed and wires- the seemingly random join in connection.

Sabrina usually works on more than one piece at the same time.I am trying to let the process guide the work. I don’t like to have a finished idea about what my art piece is going to be. I let it grow naturally without limiting it to a final stage. So here in the studio things are in a constant flux, things move around, things get discarded…”. After her residency comes to an end, she wants to continue working on the topic of wellness in a larger scale back in Montreal.  We are all thrilled to see the fruitful results of her work.  

written by Kristina Nizamova

feature photo: Richmond Lam