Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum are Montreal-based installations, sculptures, prints and interventions artists. They have exhibited in Canada and abroad, notably at YYZ artists’ outlet, The Blackwood Gallery, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Kunsthalle Wien, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, and Whitechapel Project Space. Their collaborative work is in many private and public collections, notably the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
CHLOE: We were sharing a studio space with The Unicorns, but when we got our printing press, it didn’t fit through the door. We looked for a bigger space in Saint-Henri but everything was double the price. This place was such a fucking amazing find. When we moved in, it was still mostly factories.
YANNICK: It was just a warehouse. No other artists.
CHLOE: There was a meth lab. That’s how we found out about this building. The people running the meth lab also rented out their space for indie and noise shows. They had their meth lab in the back. Can you believe that? What a heat score. Anyway, that’s how we found out there was cheap rent in this building.
YANNICK: They were filming porn on the fourth floor too. The janitors still tell jokes about it.
CHLOE: We figured that if a bunch of scuzzy people could have gigs in a meth lab, there was probably space to rent…and they probably wouldn’t do a thorough credit check.
YANNICK: We originally met through the noise music scene and worked together in a band. In 2002, we did Seripop posters and started collaborating.
CHLOE: It developed completely collaboratively. Our individual art was very different. It was like a previous lifetime. We’ve been together for 14 years. We live together, we were in bands together, we go to school together…I’m sure a psychologist would say that it’s not healthy but we get along really well [laughs]. We’re talking about our projects and practice from the minute we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. For 14 years we’ve been talking about what we’re going to do, so there’s never any moment where we don’t know what we’re going to do.
YANNICK: We try to talk about our work as “we” or “us”. We each work on things, merge it together and pick what we like or don’t like. We’re always pitching ideas on a daily basis. When we have a show coming up, we look at through ideas we wrote down and pick one. It doesn’t matter who came up with what.
CHLOE: It’s a joint authorship. So much changes along the way. For example, we’re working on outdoor public project commissions and we just gave them a sketch to show our starting point. It’s really fluid. We’re figuring out what’s possible, what follows safety regulations, what materials are water resistant and we’re doing tests. We decide a lot of things last minute or even while we’re hanging the piece.
YANNICK: Decisions happen because as we’re handling the materials we notice that something looks cool, so we shuffle our ideas and adapt to this thing we just realized on site. We’ve been working with a lot of soft materials lately and we want to bring that to our outdoor projects–but how do you do that? Once you have an idea, it’s not necessarily going to work the way you intended, which is fine. It never goes according to plan because of the nature of the materials we’re using.
CHLOE: When you’re doing ephemeral work, it’s not archival. Most of our stuff is printed paper or moulded foam or papier mâché and you can’t keep it forever. It takes up a lot of space. Sometimes we deploy it in different ways in new projects. It’s really exciting. You see the objects as parts in different narratives. When you’re working with paper it’s so malleable. You can do anything with it.
YANNICK: It confronts the idea of conserving work. All materials eventually decay and because we’re mostly working with paper, it’s inherent to our practice. We’re dealing with stuff that falls apart.
–Seripop, as told to Studio Beat
photos by Marlon Kuhnreich
Visit Seripop’s website here.