Making An Offering
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 Quebec. No translation 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 tapette. These words are almost always preceded by a swear word, which in Canadian French, references the Catholic Church. Rondeau seeks to unpack this queer exclusion and oppression through sculptural interventions 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 are intended to 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.