An Interview with Genesis Belanger

Interview by Nicole Araya
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Your works tend to place an emphasis on products that are mass produced; can you talk a little more about why you chose to focus on those products such as prescription pills and lipstick?

These mass produced objects tell the story of our society. The things we are sold can be spectacular representations of the peculiarities of a given system, from the beauty standards and expectations of women to our dependency on prescription medications.

Beyond mass produced objects, your work also recalls Robert Gober’s whose work also recalls domestic and familiar products but with a sexual approach as well. What prompted the intersection of both the familiar and the sexual?

I am interested in creating objects that feel relatable. Objects that reflect something recognizable back to the viewer, maybe even an aspect of their own psychology. I don’t think this relationship is possible if you subtract the sexual. 

What prompted you to begin sculpting? And do you mainly choose to sculpt?

I am predominately a sculptor. It is the medium that allows for the least amount of resistance for me between thinking and making.

Could you walk us through your creative process? How do you come up with and create your sculptures?

I start by researching an idea. Then I make lots of drawings working out the basic character of the object. I then roll out flat sheets of clay and hand build each object from the sheets. I fire all my objects once, and I don’t use glaze.

The objects you chose to sculpt are mainly always products that are available to the public through the form of advertisements, how do you play with the colors and traditions of the marketing industry?

I am impressed by the advertising industries spectacular use of visual language. This mastery can be used to manipulate us in the most appalling and also fascinating ways. I hope to utilize some of these tools in the service of participating in a conversation about desire, power and inequality.

Who would you cite as your largest artistic inspiration?

This is a near impossible question. I don’t think I could narrow it down to one person. I’ll give you my current list- Domenico Gnoli, Fernando Botero, and Dorothea Tanning.