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Jean-François Côté



Jean-François Côté lives and works in Quebec City. He conceptually and poetically explores ideas relating to the image, narration and place. His work takes material form in photography and video and is marked by a particular interest in installation and the transfer of media. His solo exhibitions include La Symétrie des différences atthe Studio d’essai of Méduse (Prix René-Richard 2002); L'Ombre survivante at VU, Personnes at Galerie Le 36 (allin Québec City), Citésat the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in the context of the 8th Bienal de Video Y NuevosMedios de Santiago, Chile; L'Imagein the context of the Mois Multi in Quebec City; Constructing the Image at Yuanfen Gallery in Beijing; and The Chorus at YYZ Gallery in Toronto. He has also created permanent public art works, including Les Oies for the Jonquière library.


He is professor of New Media at Universitédu Québec àTrois-Rivières. He has received grants from the Conseil des arts et 

des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Fondsquébécois de recherche sur la sociétéet la culture.

A House, A Breath, A Landscape, Jean Francois Cote, 6 channel video and sound installation, 2014

A Constellation, Jean Francois Cote, HD video, (18 minutes), 2009

Jean-François Côté Artist Statement


My work examines ways of inhabiting the world, of moving through it and in it while remaining critical of the myriad media images modern society presents. I seek to restore to images the time I feel has been taken from them. I am interested in the fascination exerted by the power of the image and the influence of technologies on creation. My work with photography and video emphasizes the movements and structure of the image, its presence and the presence of its absence, with a particular interest in transfers among media.


To materialize and construct the image, I explore the mobile relationship that can exist between the image, its presence in space and the viewer. This is in relationship with possible interactions between the photographic instant and extended video time, so as to create tension between immobility and mobility. I juxtapose image and object to create a new place within an already existing location, enabling the image’s usual presence to be transformed into a place that may be inhabited. I work with video installation to reveal another kind of image that is not tied to the medium and is more "virtual" than video. In constant transformation, the image does not correspond to predetermined dimensions or modes of presentation. The viewer moves within an image that is not seen or represented. In a certain sense, he or she walks through the material image of the video.


A House, A Breath, A Landscape


Video and sound installation with multiple projections, A House, A Breath, A Landscape proposes a fiction from images rendered as though they were paintings, integrating performative actions inspired by Greek mythology but also burning furniture, a reduced scale house, a pair of wolf-dogs... giving rise to free associations that feed the story of this virtual house. The images become the building blocks of an open narrative that the viewer creates.


The installation is laid out like an apartment whose configuration guides the viewer's path in different interiors and exteriors. It creates the illusion of a place and composes an imagined architecture contained within an imagined landscape. A House, A Breath, A Landscape is a space where each person can construct his or her own temporal frame work and explore the narrative possibilities of an arrangement in which video takes on an almost material quality.


A constellation anchored by a portrait in a landscape.

The idea to experiment with the tradition of landscape and portrait representation is the origin of this video work. Portraits of people of different ages are doing 360 degrees rotations in a desolated landscape. At one point, one portrait is superposed on the other, creating layers of landscapes and faces. One face becomes the mask of the other. Their position in relation with the sun also shapes and transforms their expressions and emotions.


This video uses a pixel-swap process that constructs and deconstructs the referent by working with different levels of representation. Swapping the position of the pixels, until the video is composed entirely of color variations and pulses of light, creates another way to perceive and organize the elements that compose an image. The referent passes through different stages in the same work from faces in a landscape, to their superposition and finally to a constellation of pixels.

Representative Works

The Chorus, 4 channel video and sound installation, 2010

L’Ombre Survivante Series, detail view, silver photographic print, plexiglass, pine and chipboard structure, white paint, (100 x 150 cm), 2003

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