Alexander Rondeau

Making an Offering, 2016

Alexander Rondeau’s photographic series, Making an Offering, adapts the concept of the holy trinity to explore a triad that establishes connections between the French language, Catholicism, and queerness. Rondeau grew up in a Catholic environment, in the French-speaking countryside of New Liskeard, Ontario, ten minutes outside of Québec. No translations exists for the word “queer” in French, and there is no positive vocabulary to discuss queer identities. There is, however, plenty of derogatory slurs, such as fif and tappette. These words are almost always preceded by a swear word, which in Canadian French, references the Catholic Church. Rondeau unpacks this queer exclusion within the landscape of his hometown.

Rondeau challenges traditional Catholic ornamentation by placing shrine-like arrangements of inorganic materials such as fabrics, cloths, wooden planks, string, and painted rocks within the countryside. As deeply personal expressions, his interruptions within the landscape posit a queer sense of place. The sculptures are photographed and presented in vertical formats to reference portraiture, thereby reinforcing a queer presence. A horizontally-oriented triptych offsets the portraits, yet reinforces Rondeau’s identity through the placement of his body in the winter landscape. The change in seasons suggests an evolving cycle, or unravelling, while his body seems positioned as though in prayer - making an offering.

Written by Heather Rigg.

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