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Philippe Caron Lefebvre, Cétacé fantôme, 2015.
Polyuréthane, polystyrène, peinture, 130 x 200 x 75 cm | Polyurethane, polystyrene, paint.
Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.
Photo : Guy L’Heureux

Philippe Caron Lefebvre
From January 23rd 2016 to March 19th 2016
La position de l'apex

The evolutionary adaptions of living organisms reveal a prolific capacity to ensure survival by fashioning vital forms from inert materials. With his sculptures and graphic creations, Philippe Caron Lefebvre has devised a vocabulary to transpose elements of these vital mechanisms. Exhibiting traits of bizarre and unspecifiable organic entities, the works evoke strange, unlocatable, albeit natural, environments. These outlandish creatures appear to inhabit a world that simultaneously points to a primeval origin and a far-off future. An ambiguity that is further conveyed in certain sculptures, which exert a fascinating attraction through their well-crafted textures, shapes and surfaces, while their sharp protrusions or globular orifices trigger a sense of impending threat. In crafting strange entities by drawing features from nature, the artist conjures up a world in which the familiar and unknown, the recognizable and unfathomable are juxtaposed eliciting both wonderment and disquiet. More specifically, in harnessing the remarkable inventiveness of biological adaption this approach draws on the mimicry strategies deployed by various organisms to maximize survival.

This concept of mimicry, though present throughout Caron Lefebvre’s work, is foregrounded in the current exhibition. Biological mimicry designates the operations whereby certain animals or plants use aesthetic and formal means to alter their appearance, behaviour or even scent in order to be perceived as something other than they are. In the exhibited works, mimicry is operative in a twofold manner. At first, through a transposition of visual, textural and behavioural characteristics derived through observations of plant and animal organisms; and second by mobilizing mimicry directly in the works through a crafty manipulation of materials aimed at producing an illusion of shared traits, mirrored appearances and reciprocal behaviours. It is thus not so much an imitating of nature, but a mimicking of nature’s mimicry that is at play here. In thus blurring the borders between natural dupery and anthropic artifice these singular works suggest more inventive ways to shape our role within the natural web, where things are not always quite what they seem to be.

Author: Bernard Schutze
Bernard Schutze is a Montréal-based independent critic and curator.



DELGADO, Jérôme (2016). "Entre mer et monde (de l’art)", Le Devoir, Saturday February 13. Web, "http://www.ledevoir.com/culture/arts-visuels/462774/entre-mer-et-monde-de-l-art". (Accessed February 13, 2016).

School Workshop
This winter, Philippe Caron Lefebvre will be mentoring fifth- and sixth-grade students at the Saint-Enfant-Jésus elementary school. During the creative workshop he will be giving, schoolchildren will come to familiarize themselves with the artist’s work, while works created by the students during the workshop will be put on display in March, in the centre’s AGORA space.

Schoolchildren Opening
The students will exhibit their masterpieces at centre OPTICA's new AGORA space from March 12th to the 19th. There will be an opening on March 8th from 6 PM to 7 PM.

For more information on OPTICA's educational program, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille à mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal (as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal), and the Caisse Desjardins du Mont-Royal, Caisse Desjardins de l'Est du Plateau, and Caisse Desjardins des Versants du mont Royal.

Entente sur le développement

Philippe Caron Lefebvre holds an MFA from Concordia University and a BFA from UQAM. His works has been exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions in Québec, Mexico and Japan. He recently undertook residencies in Japan and in Mexico. He lives and works in Montréal.