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Valerie Blass, Presque plus, 2008.

Ever since the Quebec Triennial last year, Valerie Blass has been recognized as Montreal's It-girl, making sculptures that fuse objects in the strangest way. Presque Plus is a furry concatenation of swamp-coloured yarn and raw steel machinery parts, faintly figurative but not decisively so. Seen from a certain angle, the work evokes a sexual encounter of the Last Tango in Paris variety. From another, it's just a pile of wool and steel. Blass, now 42, here displays her command of the art of signification, pulling her sculptural compositions to the threshold of recognizability and then pulling back just enough to arouse confusion. Think of this work as a scruffy update of Jeff Koons's famed porno sculptures of himself with his Italian porn star wife, Cicciolina, from the early nineties. How times have changed.

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