Born in Montréal, a city notorious for its counterculture, Éditions 8888 nestles itself between the disciplines of postmodernism, brutalism, punk, sci-fi … we could go on. Founded by Jean-Michel Gadoua as a place for Québécois creators to showcase their work under a common theme; this season’s concept was ‘Wet Metal’. Through an experimental curative process, Gadoua’s Éditions 8888 questions our ideas of what a contemporary artistic movement is.
FRONTRUNNER speaks to Gadoua about the ‘Wet Metal’ collection, the ‘Brutaluxe’ concept, and what Éditions 8888 plans to incorporate in its vision next.
Tell me where you got the idea for Éditions 8888 – how is it representative of both your practice and something larger?
I wanted to create a group of creators where everybody would feel free to create without constraint such as making money, pleasing people or making something useful. A movement where inspiration and instinct would lead the way. With my background in furniture galleries, it is natural that the focus would be on furniture and industrial design, but I also wanted to see how I could blend that with other crafts, music, poetry, sculpture etc. to create a more holistic project. I could not help but feel nostalgic as to how there used to be artistic movements that would blend in all sorts of arts and crafts, such as dada, surrealism, Fluxus etc. I really hope 8888 can reach that status one day.
You said that 8888 can be summed up by the term “Brutalux”, how does this style draw from brutalist elements? How does it diverge?
It draws from Brutalism mostly with the simple forms we design and the materials we use, such as steel and concrete. But Brutalism also influenced other aspects, such as not glazing ceramics on some pieces to keep a “raw” finish or as an influence to poetry. We also played with the word Brutalism, coming out with Brutal and Brutality, which are terms commonly used in Metal music. Same goes for Wet Metal, which references both the materials we use and the musical genre. We added the suffix “luxe” because some of the pieces use more luxurious materials and end up being more expensive too. We like to play with contrasts and confront them!
What does your curatorial process look like for Editions 8888? Where do you source products to feature, and is the process always the same?
I am extremely curious and in constant need of aesthetic and artistic stimulation. I am always on the lookout to discover artists I don’t know, and be surprised or shocked! I like all forms of art so I always look everywhere. Since 8888 is mostly visual, I do spend a lot of time on Instagram and this is where I discover most of the artists I end up working with but I do like to go see shows, look at magazines etc. When I find something I like, I usually don’t hesitate one second to contact them right away to see if we connect and if they are up to collaborating. The process is always a bit different; sometimes I commission a very specific design to someone who masters a medium, sometimes I will just ask someone to come up with a design and other times I just want to collaborate on a piece with someone.
In the Wet Metal collection especially, it seems like the materials used are one of the defining features of the collection. Is this true (or not), and what does your material creative process look like?
It’s totally true. As I mentioned before, even the name “Wet Metal” refers directly to the materials we use. Furthermore, some of the materials (metal, concrete) also informed the creative process behind pieces that were not using these specific materials. For Wet Metal, it started with a very classic mood board. It contained a lot of metal! The name came from a conversation I was having with Gauley brothers, we were going back and forth with words trying to define a style and I ended up coining the term. We were totally joking but I really liked the name and kept it!
Photo Credit: Éditions 8888
Are there specific goals you are working towards with Edition 8888, and with the Wet Metal collection specifically?
I really want to surprise, and to explore a lot of territories with the project. Wet Metal is coming to an end and soon a new collection will start to see the day. As opposed to being driven by materials, the next collection is informed by a name/concept. It will continue in the vein of Wet Metal, but it will definitely be more poetic and it will be a little bit more “luxe” than “brutal”.
Furniture is also at the centre of this first collection, but do you see 8888 going in different directions for the future?
I think that furniture will always be the core of all 8888’s collections. Looking back at Wet Metal, I think that it was a little overwhelming to debut the collection with an exhibition featuring such an array of eclectic work! It was impressive to some, but confusing for others. Going forward, the bigger shows will focus almost entirely on furniture, lighting and sculpture but I would really like to focus on certain mediums (clothing, jewelry, small goods) for smaller capsule collections in between. I was actually thinking of creating a weapon collection with visual artist Olivier Bonnard. 8888 is a project that sees no boundaries, I just have to be a bit more strategic about it!
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