Steel notes (Il y a certainement quelqu’un qui m’a tuée)(A.2019.024) [Steel notes (Certainly Someone Killed Me) (A.2019.024)], 2020, Modified metal filling cabinet, metal cabinet, projected light, 183 x 88,5 x 89 cm

The title of this piece gives it a somewhat incongruous narrative dimension since it is non-figurative and does not explicitly express what it describes. Here, Desjardins imagines the vault (and more specifically the storage drawer) as a crime scene: the work has been pierced by some kind of projectile. The object she chose for her response—a mysterious industrial filing cabinet with slanted drawers—has only slightly been modified by the addition of the holes.

On October 27, 2020, at 9:36 a.m., to Camille Blachot, Communications and Digital Projects Coordinator, sent Chloé Desjardins a description of the object A.2019.024.

The object I chose is a sculpture by Betty Goodwin. It is called Steel notes (Il y a certainement quelqu’un qui m’a tuée) and was created in 1993.

My research process was pretty simple. In our database not all the works are photographed, so I made do with the titles. When a title caught my eye, I looked at the artist’s name. If the artist was a man, I moved on to the next one. I had one criterion: I wanted to describe a work by a woman.

When I came across the title Steel notes (Il y a certainement quelqu’un qui m’a tuée) [Certainly someone killed me], I was immediately drawn to it. Behind this work was an investigation, a question, a relationship with this person who may have killed her.

When I went down to the Museum’s storage spaces, I found myself in front of a metal file. Nathalie opened a small drawer and I saw Betty Goodwin’s work for the first time. It was, as I expected, a medium-small object. I couldn’t touch it, but it looked heavy to me.

Steel notes (Il y a certainement quelqu’un qui m’a tuée) is composed of three levels or “tiers.” The first tier is a rather thin plate of raw metal. The title of the work is written in capital letters on this tier with what looks like white chalk. On the second tier are two metal bars about an inch thick that are placed in the centre and seem to serve as a “base” holding up the third tier. The third tier is made up of the thickest piece of metal; it must be about an inch and a half thick. It looks like a puzzle piece that seems to me like it was cut with a plasma cutter. The cut is not clean but has fine burrs. On this piece there are four small holes that clearly pierce through the piece. They are arranged like the stars that outline the dipper of the Big Dipper constellation. These four holes made me think of bullet holes that hit their target with great precision. Finally, there are also drawings or marks—or, rather, traces—on this third tier. It seems to me that these were executed spontaneously, but I confess that I do not know if they were done violently or lightly. They are in shades of red, beige, and white.

The work did not answer my initial question, but I left the MAJ’s storage spaces with many more questions. When I stood in front of the work, I had a feeling that it was incomplete, that somewhere there was another piece that would complete it or embrace it protectively.

Betty Goodwin, Steel notes (Il y a certainement quelqu’un qui m’a tuée) [Steel notes (Certainly Someone Killed Me)], 1993, Steel, magnets, wax and pastel, 40,9 x 30,8 x 2,5 cm

Collection of Musée d’art de Joliette. Anonymous gift. A.2019.024