Rober Racine

"Since the beginning, music has been my guide. I saw the dictionary as a big musical score to interpret and perform, like a pianist plays a work by Johann Sebastian Bach."

- Rober Racine, 1988

Rober Racine is a multidisciplinary artist who has created performances and installations based on his interest in the intricacies and nuances of sound, language and literary text. He was influenced by the lives and works of the composer Erik Satie and the nineteenth-century writer Gustave Flaubert. Racine has become internationally renowned for his detailed, systematic working methods and the epic scale of his conceptual works.

Mirror-Pages / Exhibition (1980-1994) is a 23-page excerpt from a 2,130-page mixed media project. The Mirror-Pages were the result of Racine's 14-year long work on the voluminous Petit Robert, the French language dictionary and icon of French cultural identity. Racine disassembled and reconstructed it, cutting out, underlining and otherwise annotating each page. In this work, put together specially for the National Gallery, he has selected all the pages with references to the word exposition, which means exhibition, and mounted the altered pages on mirrors before framing them. In seeing his or her reflection in the midst of the tiny dictionary print, the viewer becomes part of the work of art.

Racine's work has been exhibited internationally in numerous contemporary art galleries, museums and festivals and has earned him awards including the prestigious Prix Ozias-Léduc (1998). He has collaborated conceptually and musically with Quebec choreographers Marie Chouinard and Edouard Lock of La La La Human Steps and created sound pieces for Radio-Canada. In 1993 Racine published his first novel, Le mal de Vienne. He lives in Montreal and devotes most of his time to writing.