Bruno Billio is a Canadian artist working from an interdisciplinary background. At once an installation artist, a sculptor, and a designer, Billio creates challenging works informed by his command of each of these practices. The artist is currently living and working in Toronto, and has been the resident artist at the Gladstone Hotel on Queen West, in the fashionable art gallery district in Toronto, for the past decade. Bruno Billio has exhibited
internationally in Milan, London, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.
Bruno Billio’s artistic practice is informed by the active displacement and staging of the found object, a contemporary art strategy with a historically established lineage. The everyday is reinterpreted through its spatial and contextual re-appropriation by the artist, who presents himself by proxy as both an interventionist and an inventor. By de-familiarizing the everyday object, Billio effectively reinterprets the material and social
valence of the object in space. Whether it’s the object’s utility or physical context that is thrown into question in his installations, Billio forces the viewer to confront the fragility of material determinism and the utilitarian dictates of the familiar commodity. The conventional use of the commodity is literally evacuated when sculpturally monumentalized as installation. Thus, Billio’s practice is at once an emptying of meaning and a renewal of the proscribed object.
The architectural tendencies in Billio’s work are revealed in the structural play and whimsy of many of his installation pieces. Whether a fireplace seemingly elevated by women’s shoes, or columns of books creating literal textual armatures in an interior, the ironic negotiation of utility, culture, and aesthetic is always seemingly at the forefront of the artist’s imagination. Nickel plated suitcases, and perforated suitcases illuminated from within, reveal a tendency towards the investigation of interiors and exteriors, structural
combinations and compromises, all informed by an aesthetic sensibility which is fuelled by his sophisticated sense of design.
Also at play is the artist’s allusion to luxury culture; the contemporary phenomenon of a distorted supply and demand. At once elegant and irreverent, Billio’s co-optation of utility in the name of beautification through such objects as the chair, the suitcase, or the book, speaks to an ambivalent need for the bracketed re-insertion of nostalgia and the personal into the context of commodity culture. The artist crafts precarious towers of Babel
from chairs, (often objects from his life imbued with personal nostalgia), pillars of text made from found books, and castaway suitcases are monumentalized in nickel plating: at once masculine and commanding, handsome and precarious, these installations and altered objects speak to a metamorphic imaginary, at once transformative and insubordinate in its aesthetic co-optation