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image
Yoshua Okón, Pulpo [Octopus], 2011. Projection vidéo à 2 canaux, son, 17 min 12 sec, seaux, épreuve chromogène, 49, 53 cm x 33,02 cm. |
2-channel video projection,
17 min. 12 sec., buckets, chromogenic print, 49, 53 cm x 33,02 cm.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Bertille Bak
Lisa Jackson
Yoshua Okón
Helen Reed
May Truong
Commissaire | Curator: Zoë Chan

From January 20th 2018 to March 17th 2018
Vies performatives

Opening, Saturday, January 20,_3 PM to 6 PM
Guided tour by Zoë Chan, 3:30 PM


Featuring recent video works by a selection of Canadian and international artists, Performing Lives explores—and bridges—the supposed gap between documentary and entertainment, information and spectacle, fact and fiction. Making references to and borrowing methods from TV, film, theatre, dance, and music, these videos represent various groups using strategies that venture beyond the expository approach characteristically associated with documentary cinema.

The expository approach indisputably plays a crucial role in informing the public, especially in the face of deceptive propaganda, the phenomenon of “fake news,” and the dissemination of other sorts of misinformation. In Performing Lives however, the featured videos eschew straightforward didacticism, instead embracing an array of performative strategies to draw in the viewer. They offer new awareness of and insight into the experiences, perspectives, and interests of groups whose collectively shared identities intersect with a multiplicity of factors—from ethnocultural origins and gender to leisure activities and life experiences: a Roma community living in the outskirts of Paris, Indigenous survivors of Canada’s residential school system, undocumented Guatemalan labourers in suburban Los Angeles, Twin Peaks fans, and young Asian-Canadian women.

In Recording Reality, Desiring the Real (2011), film studies scholar Elizabeth Cowie writes that in the world of cinema, there is often a perceived divide between information and spectacle—the former being associated with documentary and non-fiction and the latter with entertainment and fiction. This division is illusory, she argues: instead, these categories are inherently interconnected, as documentary is characterised by “a narrativizing of reality” that “engages us with the actions and feelings of social actors, like characters in fiction.” Cowie thus prefers to describe documentary as “embodied storytelling.”

Blurring the traditional binary categories of fiction vs non-fiction and their commonly associated attributes (lies vs truth, frivolity vs seriousness, etc.), Cowie’s definition of documentary offers a useful entry point into the hybridised narratives articulated in the videos comprising Performing Lives. Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film The Outsiders, based on the popular young adult novel of alienated masculinity by S.E. Hinton, is re-cast with an all-female crew of Asian descent (May Troung, The Outsiders). The ongoing trauma of residential schools is played out in a hip-hop dance sequence inspired by zombie movies and the creepy music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller (Lisa Jackson, Savage).

Though less brashly “mashup” in their respective approaches, the other videos in Performing Lives place equal emphasis on storytelling through embodied performativity: Twin Peaks enthusiasts act out the roles of their favourite characters from David Lynch’s cult series in scenes written entirely by fellow fans (Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks); the day-to-day struggles of the inhabitants of a Roma camp are evoked in a series of folktale-like vignettes (Bertille Bak, Transports à dos d’hommes); a Home Depot parking lot in Los Angeles becomes the unlikely setting for displaced Mayan migrants performing choreographed movements that allude to Guatemala’s bloody civil war in which they fought (Yoshua Okón, Pulpo). While these videos display a range of production values ranging from the DIY aesthetics of community theatre to the professional polish of mainstream cinema, they share a focus on so-called real people— often amateur or untrained performers—who are intimately and intrinsically linked to the stories expressed.

Employing familiar performative conventions from a range of pop cultural platforms (musical numbers, dance sequences, role play, costume, and so on), these videos compel viewers to focus not only on the content of the stories but also on how their subjects actively embody their roles. Scholar Carrie Noland contends in Agency and Embodiment (2009) that “culture is both embodied and challenged through corporeal performance”; to study the body’s many gestures is to understand how “human beings are embodied within—and impress themselves on—their worlds.” In this way, the body is written on by socialising forces—but also has the agency to write its own story. Noland argues that we should consider “how the body might speak to us—not beyond but through cultural frames.” Working in this vein, the videos in Performing Lives share a discernable interest in highlighting the agency of the body within rather than despite the codified structures of dancing, singing, or acting. Asking what new understandings we can glean from the performing subjects, the exhibition offers viewers a window into the perspectives, subjectivities, and experiences of the groups depicted.

Bertille Bak, Transports à dos d’hommes, 2012
Video with sound (15 min)
Courtesy of the artist and Xippas Gallery, Paris

French artist Bertille Bak is known for her commitment to the collaborative process. She gathered footage for Transports à dos d’hommes after spending time living in a Roma camp on the outskirts of Paris. Bak and members of this Roma community have created a playful folktale that hints at the many challenges they face: ongoing demolition of their camps by French authorities, the possibility of expulsion from France, poverty, homelessness, and unemployment.

Lisa Jackson, Savage, 2009
Video with sound (6 min)
Courtesy of the artist, Vtape, and Moving Images Distribution

A striking mashup of historical drama, melodrama, musicals, hip-hop, and horror movies, Savage examines the profound trauma—but also the resilience—of Indigenous children removed from their families and placed in residential schools. Featuring no dialogue and two stunning musical sequences, it tells the story of a young girl (interpreted by Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a performer and activist from the Tla’Amin First Nation), who is taken away from her mother (movingly played by Skeena Reece, an artist of Tsimshian/Gitksan and Métis/Cree descent).

Yoshua Okón, Pulpo [Octopus], 2011
2-channel video projection (17 min 12 s)
Home Depot buckets
Courtesy of the artist

Pulpo features a group of Mayan men who fought in the Guatemalan Civil War of the 1990s. The video was shot in a Home Depot parking lot in Los Angeles where these men, now undocumented migrants, met daily to look for work. Reenactments of the American Civil War are typically played out by hobbyists who in fetishistic detail recreate historic battle scenes; in contrast, Pulpo evokes its subjects’ experiences through a performance of simple choreographed gestures, far from home, sans heroic spectacle.

Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks, 2010
Video with sound (18 min 34 s)
Production materials (posters, newsletters, photographs, call sheets, auditions video)
Courtesy of the artist

Entirely shot and interpreted by Twin Peaks enthusiasts on a minimal budget, Twin Twin Peaks is the realisation of a screenplay written by fans of the original series who were upset by its abrupt ending after its second season in 1991. Helen Reed highlights the creativity and esprit de corps of the writers, cast, and crew in this unpolished DIY passion project that melds aspects of TV, community theatre, and social practice.

May Truong, The Outsiders, 2016
Video, no sound (5 min)
Ink on paper
Courtesy of the artist

May Truong riffs on S.E. Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders and Francis Ford Coppola’s film based on the book, as well as Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” (featured in the book and film). Replacing the white male protagonists with an all-female, Asian-Canadian cast selected from her own circle of friends, Truong composes brief vignettes that draw from the alienation experienced by the young anti-heroes of Hinton’s book.

Zoë Chan

Zoë Chan thanks the artists in Performing Lives, OPTICA, Vtape, Galerie Xippas, Antonio Loro for his editorial feedback, ICI (Independent Curators International), and the Canada Council for the Arts.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

SIROIS-ROULEAU, Dominique. « Vies performatives, Optica, Montréal », Esse arts + opinions, no 93, Spring-Summer 2018, [p. 106].

EL-SHEIKH, Tammer. "Performing Lives at OPTICA", Akimbo-Akimblog, March 7, 2018.

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas.
«Vies performatives» : jeux de rôles à Optica, Le Devoir, February 3, 2018.

MOCKLER, Veronica Florence. Coverage of the exhibition "Vies Performatives" at OPTICA, contemporary art centre, Les Étangs d'Art, Radio CISM 89.3 FM, January 30, 2018.

ALLARD, Benjamin J. Couverture de l'exposition "Vies Performatives" à OPTICA, un centre d'art contemporain, Le Retour, Radio CIBL 101.5 FM, January 2018.

Canadian Art, "Must-Sees This Week: January 18 to 24, 2018", Canadian Art, January 18, 2018.

BEHA, Claire-Marine. « 11 expositions à découvrir en ce début d'année à Montréal», Le Baron, January 15, 2018.



Zoë Chan is an independent curator and critic. In her research, she has focused on youth and youth culture, food, documentary, and discourse around representation and identity. Her curatorial projects have been presented by Kamloops Art Gallery; MSVU Art Gallery, Halifax; Articule, Montréal; Foreman Art Gallery of Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke; and the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels). She has contributed to Canadian Art, C Magazine, esse arts + opinions, and Momus, among other publications. She is a two-time recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts' Project Grant to Curators and Critics, and in 2015, received its Joan Lowndes Award in recognition of excellence in critical and curatorial writing. She has a Master’s degree in art history from Concordia University. cargocollective.com/zoechan

Bertille Bak was born in 1983 in Arras, France. She lives and works in Paris. She studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at Le Fresnoy - Studio national des arts contemporains in Tourcoing, France. Recent exhibitions include Boussa from the Netherlands, Artissima, Turin; Bertille Bak: Usine à divertissement, Plateau multimédia, FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille; Complexe de Loisirs, Espace d'art Le Moulin de la Valette-du-Var; Bien arrivé. Temps splendide., Galerie Xippas, Geneva; Bertille Bak, A Frac Ouvert, FRAC Normandie Caen; Radice, The Apart, Rome; Bestiaire, Galerie Xippas, Paris; Le Tour de Babel, Grand Café, Saint Nazaire; Nettie Horn Gallery, London; Ô Quatrième, Les Églises, centre d’art contemporain de la Ville de Chelles, France; Urban Chronicle, Bielefelder Kunstverein; Circuits, Musée d'Art moderne de la ville de Paris; L’Institut des archives sauvages, Villa Arson, Nice; and Paroles des images, Palazzo Grassi, Venice. She is represented by Xippas Gallery in Paris. xippas.com

Named one of 10 to Watch by Playback Magazine in 2012, Lisa Jackson comes from a background in documentary, including the CTV "W5 Presents" 1-hour Reservation Soldiers and acclaimed short Suckerfish, and expanded into fiction with Savage, which won a 2010 Genie Award for Best Short Film. Jackson’s work has played at festivals internationally, including the Berlinale, SXSW, London BFI, HotDocs, and Edinburgh, as well as broadcast on CBC, CTV, TMN, Bravo!, Knowledge, SCN, and APTN. In 2013, she co-wrote an episode of the 1-hour teen supernatural series The Reckoner. Her short satire Intemperance premiered at imagineNATIVE as part of their Embargo Collective II commission project and she directed 21 drama segments for the 8-part docudrama series 1491, based on Charles C. Mann’s best-selling book. Jackson’s films have garnered numerous awards and in 2012 the ReelWorld Festival named her a « Trailblazer ». She is Anishinaabe, has a BFA in Film Production from Simon Fraser University, and has completed the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab. She is the Director Mentor for the National Screen Institute's Aboriginal Documentary Training Program. lisajackson.ca

Yoshua Okón was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives. In 2002, he received an MFA from UCLA with a Fulbright scholarship. His solo shows exhibitions include: Yoshua Okón: Collateral, Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo MUAC, Mexico City; Salò Island, UC Irvine,Irvine; Piovra, Kaufmann Repetto, Milan; Poulpe, Mor Charpentier, Paris; Octopus, Cornerhouse, Manchester and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and SUBTITLE, Städtische Kunsthalle, Munich. His group exhibitions include: Manifesta 11, Zurich; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Antes de la resaca, MUAC, Mexico City;Incongruous, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne; The Mole ́s Horizon, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Mercosur Biennial, Porto Alegre; Amateurs, CCA Wattis; San Francisco; Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London; Adaptive Behavior, New Museum, NY and Mexico City: an exhibition about the exchange rates between bodies and values, PS1, MoMA, NY, and Kunstwerke, Berlin. His work is included in the collections of Tate Modern, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Colección Jumex and MUAC, among others. yoshuaokon.com

Helen Reed is an artist based in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Her projects take shape as public installations, social situations, and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter, and artists’ multiples. She has exhibited internationally, with work appearing in such venues as The Portland Art Museum (OR), The Dunlop Art Gallery (SK), Smack Mellon (NY), Art League (TX), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (NS), The Vancouver Art Gallery (BC), The Power Plant (ON), and Flat Time House’s first issue of noit (UK). She has a Master of Fine Arts in Art and Social Practice from Portland State University. reheardregalement.com

Based in Toronto, May Truong is a photographer and visual artist. Through her photograph and video work, she explores themes of gender, race, and belonging. Her work has been exhibited in group shows in Canada, USA, and Europe, and was most recently shown at Circa Projects in Hamilton, Ontario in 2016. Known for her dynamic portraits of musicians, artists, and other public personalities, Truong is the photo editor at PERFECTOMag.com, an online fashion and lifestyle magazine. Her photographs have been featured in Châtelaine, The Globe and Mail, Maclean's, Marie Claire, Reader’s Digest, Toronto Life, Vice Magazine and XXL Magazine, among others. maytruong.com




image
Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks, 2010.
Vidéo, 18 min 34 sec.
Matériaux de production (affiches, bulletins, photographies,
feuilles d’appel, auditions vidéo). |
Video, 18 min. 34 sec. Production materials (posters, newsletters, photographs, call sheets, auditions video).
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

From January 20th 2018 to March 17th 2018
Les samedis famille | Family Saturdays

Family Saturday - Engraving Workshop on the work of the exhibition Performing Lives - Saturday, January 27 and March 17, 2018 - 1 to 4 PM

With friends or family, enjoy the Family Saturday to discover the exhibition Performative Lives and contribute to a great collaborative story. During this workshop you will be invited to experiment with styrofoam engraving.

PRACTICAL INFORMATIONS
Free
From 1 pm to 4 pm
For children aged 4 and older.

For more information, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille: mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.



Entente sur le développement




image
Helen Reed, Twin Twin Peaks, 2010.
Vidéo,18 min 34 sec. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste|
Video,18 min. 34 sec. Courtesy of the artist.

Bertille Bak
Lisa Jackson
Yoshua Okón
Helen Reed
May Truong
Commissaire | Curator: Zoë Chan
From March 3rd 2018 to March 4th 2018
Nuit Blanche le 3 mars avec Vies performatives

OPTICA will be part of the Nuit Blanche, on March 3rd the gallery will be open from 7pm to 1 am. Get into the multi-artists video exhibition Performing Lives, curated by Zoë Chan, in which artists scramble the codes of video. Dig into the universe of Twin Peaks and imagine a sequel to David Lynch’s famous work. The youngest visitors will be invites to create a flip book, putting into images an alternative end to their favorite fairytale.
Coffee and donuts will be served!
nuitblanche



image
Lisa Jackson, Savage, 2009.
Vidéo avec son (6 min)
Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste, de Vtape et de Moving Images Distribution | Video with sound (6 min)
Courtesy of the artist, Vtape, and Moving Images Distribution


Lisa Jackson
From March 14th 2018 to March 14th 2018
Autour de l'exposition Vies performatives : visite de Lisa Jackson!

In conjunction with the exhibition Performative Lives, Lisa Jackson will be in Montreal to give a masterclass and present her work to film students at Concordia. The artist will be present at OPTICA Wednesday, March 14th, from 1pm to 3pm. This meeting offers a context favorable to the exchanges on the artistic practice of the artist. Welcome everyone!



With a background in documentary, including acclaimed short SUCKERFISH, RESERVATION SOLDIERS for CTV, and the CBC-broadcast HOW A PEOPLE LIVE, Lisa Jackson expanded into fiction with SAVAGE, which won a 2010 Genie award for Best Short Film. Her cross-genre work includes current affairs, animation, performance art film, and a musical. Playback Magazine named her one of 10 to Watch in 2012, the ReelWorld Festival named her a Trailblazer, and her work has played at festivals internationally, including Berlinale, Hot Docs, SXSW, Margaret Mead, and London BFI, as well as airing on many networks in Canada.

Lisa Jackson is Anishinaabe, has a BFA in Film Production from Simon Fraser University, and has completed the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab. She is the Director Mentor for the National Screen Institute's Aboriginal Documentary Training Program.

lisajackson.ca



image
Celia Perrin Sidarous, Vibration (Kerameikos), 2016. Impression jet d'encre. 101,6 x 122,93 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste et de Parisian Laundry, Montréal.
| Inkjet Print, 101,6 x 122,93 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Parisian Laundry, Montreal.

Celia Perrin Sidarous
Artiste à l'école
From April 12th 2018 to June 16th 2018
Exposition des élèves de 3e année du primaire et 1ère année du secondaire sur une proposition de Célia Perrin Sidarous

As part of the Artist at School program developed since 2014 by the OPTICA center, artist Celia Perrin Sidarous invites students in grades 3 of St-Arsène Elementary School (Petite-Patrie) and grade 1 of Jeanne-Mance High School (Plateau Mont-Royal) to think about the poetics of space. Following a tour of the Outre-vie/ Afterlife collective exhibition with the artist, they will undertake a series of film photography workshops using different cameras and a studio designed in the manner of Perrin Sidarous. In the end, the students will produce a collective publication that will be launched at OPTICA on June 13, 2018.

OPTICA would like to thank the staff and students of St-Arsène Elementary School and Jeanne-Mance High School.

To get more information on our educational programming, contact Tanha Gomes: mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.




image
Raymonde April, Portrait de groupe
à la Société des plantes
, 2014.
Impression jet d’encre,
76,2 x 114, 3 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste.
| Inkjet printing, 76,2 x 114, 3 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Raymonde April, Jessica Auer, Jacques Bellavance, Velibor Božović, Gwynne Fulton, Katie Jung, Jinyoung Kim, Lise Latreille, Celia Perrin Sidarous, Marie-Christine Simard, Bogdan Stoica, Andrea Szilasi, Chih-Chien Wang
From April 14th 2018 to June 16th 2018
Outre-vie/ Afterlife

Opening, Saturday April 14 - 3PM to 6PM

“Afterlife is when one is not yet in life, when one watches it, when one seeks to enter it. She is not dead but already almost living, almost born, perhaps being born, in this passage beyond borders and outside of time which defines desire. Desire for the other, desire for the world. That life may flow as into a swollen waterskin. And one is still far away. Afterlife is like overseas or beyond the grave. One must pass beyond the rigidity of the obvious, of prejudice, of fears, of habits, pass beyond the obtuse real and enter into a reality at once more painful and more pleasant, into the unknown, the secret, the contradictory, open one’s senses and know. Pass beyond the opacity of silence and invent our existences, our loves, where there is no longer destiny of any kind 1”.

Marie Uguay, L’outre-vie, Éditions du Noroît, Montréal, 1979, p. 9.

Outre-vie/ Afterlife was formed by Raymonde April in 2013. The group is made up of thirteen image practitioners whose work aims to develop a concept of afterlife that belongs to the language of images. Taking its name from a work by the late Québec poet Marie Uguay, the group is united by a shared dialogue about storytelling and the vicissitudes of memory. The group has exhibited large-scale photographs, video projections, experimental writing, and sound installations in Québec and abroad. These collective engagements have generated new collaborative modes of production and dissemination, including a practice of archiving their collective art-making process.

The exhibition introduces photographs, videos, texts and archival elements that reflect the collective’s daily activities, including individual works by some of its members.

I imagined forming a group that could collectively map the existence of photographic images—their past and their future. I wanted to create a community that could consider the way images have their own space and their own lives, and how they respond to you when you look at them.

Then India broke this all open. When I went to India for the first time in 2012, for a residency in Mumbai, this project was still living in me but was not yet born, in a sense. I needed to make images just to understand what was going on in Mumbai. When I came back to Montreal, Mumbai was like a surreal fantasy that inhabited me, because no one else around me had been there. I invited more people into the story that was emerging and they had their own affinities. Our practices as image makers began to reflect and expand the concept of afterlife so that it gained new values and meanings. Some members of the group explored geographies that resonated with spectral traces of disappearance. At the same time, others found, in the sculptural forms of objects, ways to observe or distinguish layers of history and memory embedded in the material world. Eventually, more and more members of the group went to India. It’s a biographical thing. It just happened this way.

Our first collective activity was storytelling, which is an exercise in memory. It’s also a way to revisit our archives, which is something that has been important to my practice for a long time now. It was logical, then, that we would create a living archive that continues to multiply and proliferate. Through this collaborative process of montage and juxtaposition, overlooked fragments of memory were recorded and gathered in a shared space, giving rise to unexpected new trajectories. This mode of collective work has allowed us to examine the fluid boundaries of self and other, memory and forgetting, reality and fiction, and continuity and fragmentation in generative ways. It has also had the effect of dulling our individuality as artists while simultaneously preserving it. We share generously as our individual roles become more and more anonymous. The archive is a visual commons that has the power to open up new pasts and to explain or even call into being new futures. In this sense, Afterlife became about developing modes of community through art-making.

From an interview between Gwynne Fulton and Raymonde April for the book Outre-vie/Afterlife, Québec, VU, 2018, p. 6.

1. Translation by Outre-vie/Afterlife

Program

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 - 7 pm
Screening of the video project Our Other Lives from Outre-vie/Afterlife collective
At Cinémathèque québécoise, 335 Boul de Maisonneuve Est, Montreal

Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 3 pm à 6 pm
Book Launch Outre-vie/Afterlife, editor: VU, centre de la diffusion et de la production de la photographie
ISBN 978-921440-30-1
Texts in French and English
At OPTICA

Saturday, May 5, 2018 - 1 pm to 3 pm
Round-table
In the presence of the artists
At OPTICA



PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

CAMPBELL, James D. «In Pursuit of the Afterlife [En quête de l’outre-vie]», published in Ciel variable, no. 110, «Migration», Montréal, 2018, pp.48-57.

L’HEUREUX, Chantal. « Interview avec Raymonde April», Magazine radio In situ, June 13, 2018.

DELGADO, Jérôme. «Raymonde April et la vie seconde des images», Le Devoir, April 14-15, 2018.



Outre-vie/ Afterlife was formed by Raymonde April in 2013. The group is made up of thirteen image practitioners whose work aims to develop a concept of “afterlife” that belongs to the language of images. Taking its name from a work by the late Québec poet Marie Uguay, the group is united by a shared dialogue about storytelling and the vicissitudes of memory. The group has exhibited large-scale photographs, video projections, experimental writing, and sound installations in Québec and abroad. These collective engagements have generated new collaborative modes of production and dissemination, including a practice of archiving their collective art-making process. Outre-vie/ Afterlife was formed by Raymonde April in 2013. The group is made up of thirteen image practitioners whose work aims to develop a concept of “afterlife” that belongs to the language of images. Taking its name from a work by the late Québec poet Marie Uguay, the group is united by a shared dialogue about storytelling and the vicissitudes of memory. The group has exhibited large-scale photographs, video projections, experimental writing, and sound installations in Québec and abroad. These collective engagements have generated new collaborative modes of production and dissemination, including a practice of archiving their collective art-making process

outrevie-afterlife.art (in construction)

Raymonde April lives and works in Montreal, where she teaches photography at Concordia University. Since the late seventies, she has been known for her minimalist approach of everyday life, between documentary, autobiography and fiction. Her work has been exhibited in Canada and abroad. In 2003, Raymonde April received the Prix Paul Emile Borduas, the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Quebec to a visual artist, and in 2005, her contribution to the development of Canadian photography was recognized by the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography.

In Raymonde April’s photographs, moments of everyday life are captured and magnified through the formal qualities of the photographic image. Her work happens where she finds herself with the subjects that surround her. Most of her photography was created in black and white, until 1999-2000, when she started to introduce colour and digital photography, writing, film and video, juxtaposing found images from her archives with new ones.

raymondeapril.com

Jessica Auer is a Canadian photographer and visual artist who divides her time between Montreal, Québec and Seydisfjördur, Iceland. Her work is broadly concerned with the study of landscapes as cultural sites focusing on themes that connect history, place, journey and cultural experience. Jessica received her MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia University in 2007. Recent exhibitions include: The Movimenta Biennale, Nice, France 2017; La Quadrilatère, Beauvais, France 2016, Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse, Yukon 2016; Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Montreal 2016; Oslo, Norway Basel, Switzerland 2015; and The Gotland Museum of Art, Visby, Sweden 2015. Jessica currently teaches photography at Concordia University

jessicaauer.com

Jacques Bellavance is a Montréal based visual artist who is intrigued by concepts of simulacrum, non-spaces and Virtual Reality. He also uses photography as a means to explore his hybrid cultural identity through an extensive investigation of the city of Shanghai. His photographs draw upon the intertwining of documentary-style and narrative driven self-exploration to unearth aspects of his Chinese heritage. He received an MFA in Studio Arts from Concordia university in 2017. Co-founder of Galerie Éphémère, he’s currently working on an unannounced VR project.

jacquesbellavance.com

Velibor Božović grew up in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. When he was in his twenties, the country of his youth became a war zone and Velibor spent the duration of the siege of Sarajevo honing his survival skills. In 1999, Božović moved to Montréal where he worked as an engineer in aerospace industry before he devoted his time fully to image creation.

Subsequently, Božović earned MFA degree in Studio Arts at Concordia University. His projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and by Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. In 2015 he was awarded the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art.

His work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally.

veliborbozovic.com

Gwynne Fulton is an image theorist and practitioner based between Tio'tia:ke (Montréal), in Kanien'kehá:ka territory and Bogotá, Colombia. Her work interrogates the intersection of sovereignty and photography in contemporary necropolitics. She holds an MFA in Cinema and is a PhD candidate in Philosophy, Visual Cultures, and Curatorial Studies at Concordia University. She was a SSHRC Fellow at the Center for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University (London) and a Fulbright Fellow at Villanova University (Philadelphia). She has published essays on death penalty photography, contemporary painting and installation art and has programmed public screenings about the carceral state and the trajectories of illegalized migration in the Black Mediterranean at Slought Foundation (Philadelphia). Her films have been included in programs at Dazibao, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Montreal), and the Ann Arbor Film Festival (Ann Arbor).

GwynneFulton

Katie Jung finds no comfort in business-as-usual work efficiency. Instead, she seeks out tedious and time-consuming tasks in an effort to undermine the limitations of conventional practice (and what it can, should, and will produce). Katie is happiest when she is collaborating with materials. This takes different forms: making images, repairing ceramics she spun on the wheel, transcribing conversations, arranging flowers found in the church dumpster, building a tiny-house, or walking with her service dog, Spoons. Through these engagements of continuous making she seeks a present that is different from itself.

Jinyoung Kim translates personal narratives into poetic visions through symbolic and metaphoric visual condensations. Her work resonates with everyday experiences, imbuing them with meaning by appropriating them into different contexts. She is interested in conditions of liminal self-identity and displacement. Kim holds a BFA from OCAD University in Toronto and received her MFA from Concordia University. Her work has been exhibited in Toronto and Montréal, including exhibitions at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Galerie Lilian Rodriguez, and Espace Cercle Carré. In 2014 Kim was shortlisted for the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art; in 2012 she received the Roloff Beny Foundation Fellowship in Photography. Kim lives and works in Montréal.

jinyoung-kim.com

Lise Latreille is an artist working with photography. Her work explores the poetics of space through looking at the surfaces, materials, and boundaries of public and private places. Latreille was born in 1984 in Shawville, Quebec, and is currently based in Montreal, where she is completing an MFA at Concordia University. Her work has recently been included in exhibitions at FOCUS Photography Festival (Mumbai), Galerie VU (Quebec City), and Galerie La Castiglione (Montreal).

lise-latreille

Celia Perrin Sidarous holds an MFA from Concordia University with a concentration in Photography. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions at Arsenal Contemporary, New York; 8-11, Toronto; Parisian Laundry, Montréal; Esker Foundation, Calgary; Campbell House Museum, Toronto; Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; The Banff Centre, Banff; WWTWO, Montréal; VU, Québec City; Gallery 44, Toronto; and was featured in the Biennale de Montréal 2016 – Le Grand Balcon. She is the recipient of the 2017 Prix Pierre-Ayot and of the 2011 Barbara Spohr Memorial Award. Her works are part of several private and public collections, including the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. She lives and works in Montréal.

Marie-Christine Simard lives and works in Montreal. Her work has been presented in several group shows in Quebec (Dazibao, Vu, Vox, Séquence) and Canada (AceArt, Richmond Art Gallery, AKA). She holds an MFA from Concordia University where she has been teaching since 1995. Her work stems from observations of nature and the everyday. In her recent video work titled Gagnon, a man revisits the landscape of his childhood where nature has reclaimed an abandoned mining town in Northern Quebec. It is in the spirit of a photographic series, Héros, presented at Les Territoires in 2010, that explores representations of unexpected heroic figures.

Bogdan Stoica is a Canadian artist, Filmmaker and Director of photography. He holds a bachelor's degree in cinema and photography, and a master's degree in studio arts. Using photography, sculpture and cinema, his artistic work focuses on the boundaries between documentation and fictionalization and is particularly interested in questions of ethics, sharing and the encounter with the other and oneself. His works are exhibited in Canada and abroad, and are highlighted and promoted through institutional and government scholarships. His first feature documentary, Omni: An Act Against Gravity (2018), will have its World Premiere at the renowned HotDocs Film Festival.

Andrea Szilasi lives and works in Montreal. She holds an MFA in Studio Arts (Photography) from Concordia University (2016), a BFA in Studio Arts (Painting and Drawing) from Concordia University (1991), and a BA in Film Studies and French Language and Literature from the University of Toronto (1988). Andrea Szilasi is a photo-based artist whose work examines the representation of the human body in the photographic medium.

Since 1994, her work has been presented in many solo and group exhibitions across Canada, the United States, Mexico, Europe and India.

Andrea Szilasi’s work is included in several public and private collections including those of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Laurentian Bank of Canada, Cirque du Soleil, and Loto-Québec.

andreaszilasi.com (coming soon)

Chih-Chien Wang was born in Taiwan and has resided in Montreal since 2002, where he obtained a MFA degree at Concordia University. His recent solo exhibitions could be seen at gallery PFOAC in Montreal (2017), Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin (2016), Art Gallery of Mississauga (2015), Darling Foundry in Montreal (2015), Expression in Saint-Hyacinthe (2014), Musée régional de Rimouski (2013) and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2012), and group exhibitions at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, Quebec Triennial at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, National Gallery of Canada, Zenith Gallery in Beijing, Aperture in New York, Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne Switzerland. The Canada Council for the Arts awarded Chih-Chien Wang 2017 Duke and Duchess of York Prize in photography.

chihchienwang.com




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Jinyoung Kim, Watching Birds, 2015.
De la série Seuls, ensemble
reproduit en page couverture.
| From the series Seuls, ensemble, reproduced on cover.

Raymonde April, Jessica Auer, Jacques Bellavance, Velibor Božović, Gwynne Fulton, Katie Jung, Jinyoung Kim, Lise Latreille, Celia Perrin Sidarous, Marie-Christine Simard, Bogdan Stoica, Andrea Szilasi, Chih-Chien Wang
From April 14th 2018 to April 14th 2018
Lancement de la publication Outre-vie/ Afterlife

Saturday, April 14, 2018 - 3PM to 6PM

Book Launch Outre-vie/ Afterlife
Editor: VU, centre de la diffusion et de la production de la photographie
ISBN 978-921440-30-1
Texts in French and English
262 pages
Launch Price: 40$
At OPTICA

Pre-Launch Website: vuphoto.org/outrevie




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Tanha Gomes, Préparation d'atelier, 2018. Objets divers. | Workshop preparation, 2018. Various objects.

Les samedis famille | Family Saturdays
From April 21st 2018 to June 16th 2018
Atelier de création : carnet de voyage autour de l'exposition Outre-vie/ Afterlife

Through the use of photography, video, experimental writing, and sound installations, Outre-vie/ Afterlife explores themes such as memory, reality, fiction, and the space between the self and the other. This collective composed of 13 artists, often gathers to informally discuss their individual and upcoming projects. In the spirit of the collective, a table will be set up with crayons, pens, paper, and material for collage and photo transfers. Come join us to create a travel journal where you can inscribe your impressions of the exhibition and more!



PRACTICAL INFORMATIONS

Creative family workshops will be held on the Saturdays April 21st and June 16st from 1 PM to 4 PM. the workshop is open to the whole family and will run continually. Feel free to join in at any time.

Suited for children aged 4 and older.

Free

For more information, please contact Tanha Gomes at mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.


Entente sur le développement




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Raymonde April, Outre-vie/ Afterlife, 2017, maquette du livre.
| Mock-up.

Raymonde April, Jessica Auer, Jacques Bellavance, Velibor Božović, Gwynne Fulton, Katie Jung, Jinyoung Kim, Lise Latreille, Celia Perrin Sidarous, Marie-Christine Simard, Bogdan Stoica, Andrea Szilasi, Chih-Chien Wang
From May 5th 2018 to May 5th 2018
Autour de l'exposition Outre-vie/ Afterlife : table-ronde

Saturday May 5 2018 - 1PM to 3PM

In conjunction with the exhibition Outre-vie/Afterlife OPTICA hosts a rond-table from 1 pm to 3 pm in the presence of the artists: a nice way to discuss about the thematic.

Welcome everyone!




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Carton d'invitation, 2018. Photo : Élèves de l’école Jeann-Mance

Artiste à l'école | Artist at School
From June 13th 2018 to June 16th 2018
Exposition des élèves de 3e année du primaire de l’école Saint-Arsène (Petite-Patrie) 
et 1ère année du secondaire de l’école Jeanne-Mance (Plateau Mont-Royal) sur une proposition de Celia Perrin Sidarous

Launch of the publication the June 13, 2018, at OPTICA in two periods:
from 2 pm to 3 pm (Saint-Arsène School)
and 5 pm to 6 pm (Jeanne-Mance School )



This spring, the Artist at School program is in its 8th edition. On a proposal by Celia Perrin Sidarous, students in grades 3 of St-Arsène Elementary School (Petite-Patrie) and grade 1 of Jeanne-Mance High School (Plateau Mont-Royal) have been invited to think about the poetics of space. Following a tour of the Outre-vie/ Afterlife exhibition with the artist, they undertook a series of film photography workshops using different cameras and a studio designed in the manner of Perrin Sidarous. In the end, the students produced a collective publication that will be launched at OPTICA on June 13, 2018. OPTICA would like to thank the staff and students of Saint-Arsène and Jeanne-Mance.

To get more information on our educational programming, contact Tanha Gomes: mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.




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Maryse Larivière, Under the Cave of Winds, 2017.
Film 16mm avec son, 4 minutes 3 secondes | 16mm film with sound, 4 minutes 3 secondes. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Maryse Larivière
From September 7th 2018 to October 20th 2018
Under the Cave of Winds

Opening, Friday, September 7 - 6PM

Family Saturdays: September 15 and October 20

In her poetry and in essays of an often fictionalized autobiographical nature, Maryse Larivière puts her own voice on the line by going beyond oppositions between affective lived experience and the symbolic construction of sexual difference. Under the guise of research in art history, Larivière also produces analyses of artistic practices of the 1970s-among them Joyce Wieland-that were contemporary with the emergence of women's writing in the literary field. The epistolary novel Orgazing, one component of her installation at OPTICA, Under the Cave of Winds, continues with her own practice of assembling referential fragments in a mix of stylistic modes (poetry, theory, autobiography). The action is set on Staffa Island, Scotland. From her cell at the top of Fingal’s Cave, the narrator writes letters to her lover, weaving an amorous discourse that places the auditory pleasures of language before recognition of one’s desire by the “other.” As readers, we adopt the role of the hypothetical—and apparently male—subject addressed by the author, while remaining a third party, outside the transference relationship. Yet the exhibition encourages transgressive gestures in the literary space by way of an intentionally inadequate “adaptation” of the book. Thus, a 16-mm film strings together narrative fragments drawn from a breakdown of this “source text.” The artist plays the figure of the captive author, though she avoids showing her face, while the craggy landscape and prison architecture make surreptitious appearances. Saturating the cinematic apparatus, the scene of the writing, and the space in which we are strolling, the sculptures act as hinges or pivots. Some have a dissimulative function, like the rock that hides the film projector and thus emits a single beam of light, while the back of the screen becomes a load-bearing structure for an absent parrot. Yet these apparently motionless markers also change shape during our visit. In the parallax, their configuration alludes at once to the translation process Larivière undertook in composing Orgazing (English not being her mother tongue) and to the fluid movements of the character’s psyche as she invents her own language, made up as much of words uttered as of air exhaled.

Author: Vincent Bonin

Vincent Bonin is a writer and curator. He lives in Montreal. He has recently published D’un discours qui ne serait pas du semblant/Actors, Networks, Theories, Dazibao, Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal.

Public reading of the book Orgazing at OPTICA, Friday, September 7 - 7PM

Maryse Larivière, Orgazing, Calgary, Untitled Art Society, 2017, 64p.
Epistolary novella, prose and poetry
Available at OPTICA, 20$.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)




Maryse Larivière is a researcher, author, and artist. She lives in Montreal. She has exhibited at Walter Philips Gallery, The Banff Centre, AB, Oakville Galleries, and galerie Division, in Montreal.




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Paul Litherland, Running, 1996.
Image tirée de la vidéo | Video Still | Photo: Deb VanSlet

Paul Litherland, Monique Moumblow
From September 7th 2018 to October 20th 2018
47 Storeys

Opening, Friday, September 7, 6PM

Family Saturdays: September 15 and October 20

“It’s all life until death”
Grace Paley

The experiences we render into story are integral parts of who we become. Yet some stories remembered are more significant than others. These stories are often comprised of “vital memories” (Brown and Leavy) that recall a moment of drama or trauma in a life. Vital stories are not always coherent, or consistent. We may tell them slightly differently, only recall fragments, or embellish. Although we may share them with others, we may also repress or forget details over time.

47 Storeys is one such vital story. In 1996 Paul Litherland went to a bar at the top of a very tall building, drank a beer, waited until the other patrons and staff left, then parachuted into the night-time sky, landing safely on the street to the astonishment of two late-night revelers. Three months after the jump, afraid of forgetting significant details, Paul commemorated his adventure to video. 20 years later Paul revisits the event with Monique Moumblow. They re-edit the original 43 minute tape down to 11 minutes. Paul then attempts to re-enact his original mediated performance. On one screen we see Paul who sits, listens to himself through headphones, and speaks over his original narrative. On a second screen Paul attempts to duplicate his original performance word-for-word and gesture-by-gesture. On the third screen is the edited original. These three different renditions of the tale, from 3 different moments in time, are almost the same, but they never perfectly align. No matter how much we practice, the story is never exactly as it was.

47 Storeys is a brilliant and slightly comedic rendition of the “performative act of memory-making”(Kuhn). Narrating the past re-activates and catapults memories into the present, often with the help of souvenirs such as the video-tape and parachute equipment that Paul still keeps in his care. Paul’s fumbling narrative recollections lay bare this performative process of memory-making as past and present collide in a single temporal moment superbly visualized in this 3 channel video.

In the re-telling of this vital story grey-haired, bespectacled Paul moves in imperfect harmony with his former self. This temporal collision invites reflection upon both memory re-enactments, story-telling and the vagaries of ageing: “the permanently fluctuating relationships between younger and older selves” (Segal). We see, hear and feel these fluctuations, experiencing a vertigo of narrative mediation: Paul’s post-hoc memory is rendered into story and captured on video tape, which is then digitally remastered in the present for the future. It is the absence of documentation of the original event –no pictures, photos or go-pro video–that makes the re-telling of the story so necessary and so compelling. Thankfully, Paul lived to tell the tale, again and again.

Author: Kim Sawchuk

Kim Sawchuk est professeure et directrice de Ageing-Communication-Technologies (www.actproject.ca), Université Concordia.


Director: Monique Moumblow
Performer: Paul Litherland
Camera 1996 et 2016: Deb VanSlet
Performance Coach: Alexis O’Hara
Sound Mix: Steve Bates
Translation of the video: Jo-Anne Balcaen
Text: Kim Sawchuk
Video synchronizer: Nelson Henricks
Location: Maerin Hunting
Equipment Loan: Frederick Masson
Painting: Karen Elaine Spencer
Team at OPTICA: Esther Bourdages, Philippe Chevrette, Marie-Josée Lafortune
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association
Nicole Gingras
Lorraine Oades
Yudi Sewraj
Karen Trask

Performance of Paul Litherland at OPTICA, Saturday, October 20, 2018
PRESS RELEASE (pdf)




Monique Moumblow is a video artist and a fan of spectacular storeys.

Paul Litherland is a gentleman adventurer, a closet scuba diver in a room full of wingsuiters.




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Maryse Larivière
From October 13th 2018 to October 13th 2018
Lecture publique du livre Orgazing à OPTICA

Friday, September 7 - 7PM and Saturday, October 13, at 3PM.
Maryse Larivière, Orgazing, Calgary, Untitled Art Society, 2017, 64p.
Epistolary novella, prose and poetry
Available at OPTICA, 20$.

Orgazing is an epistolary novella set on the remote Scottish island of Staffa. A woman, held captive in an institution built atop Fingal’s Cave, addresses her beloved about their failed revolution, her attempt to transform writing into telepathic singing, and her effort to develop this mode of communication while incarcerated. Shifting between prose and poetry, word and birdsong, Orgazing explores the limits of body and voice, articulating an unsettled longing for metamorphosis. The themes explored in the artist’s book Orgazing include the sinuous paths of feminine desire, the wandering fluxes of nature and culture, and the concerted and agential relationship between mind and body in the making and thinking of art.




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Paul Litherland, Monique Moumblow, 47 Storeys, 2018. Installation vidéo à 3 canaux, son, circa 10 min.
Paul Litherland, Monique Moumblow, 47 Storeys, 2018. Three-channel video installation, sound, circa 10 min.
Crédit | Credit: Paul Litherland.


Paul Litherland, Monique Moumblow
From October 20th 2018 to October 20th 2018
Performance_47 Storeys

Next Saturday October 20th, performance of Paul Litherland from 4PM to 5PM_the artist completes the cycle!


As part of his exhibition at OPTICA in collaboration with Monique Moumblow, Paul Litherland presents a performance that sheds light around the jump.
Closing Performance - the complete story of the jump!!

Paul Litherland:"22 years ago, I jumped from a building without a camera, but with a parachute. A few months later, wanting to have some kind of document, I made a video recording of the story. 20 years later, I repeat the process. In collaboration with Monique Moumblow, we present the premiere of the work 47 Storeys, a video installation about memory, age, and technology".

Public live feed of Paul Litherland performance.


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Geneviève Chevalier, Bord d'attaque / Bord de fuite - Leading Edge / Trailing Edge, 2018.
Image tirée du carnet. Impression jet d'encre sur papier coton, 43,18 X 60,96 cm.
| Still from the booklet. Inkjet printing on cotton paper, 43,18 X 60,96 cm.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist


Geneviève Chevalier
From November 10th 2018 to December 15th 2018
Bord d’attaque/ Bord de fuite

Opening, Saturday, November 10 - 3PM to 6PM

Family Saturdays: November 17 and December 15

Since the publication of J.J. Audubon’s Birds of America in 1838, bird populations have constantly decreased, for some to the point of extinction. They are now but paper memories and preserved bodies in natural history museums. Artist Geneviève Chevalier tracked one species that has acclimatized and adjusted remarkably well to climate change. The “fou de Bassan,” or Northern Gannet, chose to make its home on craggy cliffs of Bonaventure island, where its colony of 100,000 individuals faces some reproductive issues, and on Bass Rock, off the coast of Scotland, which has a more prosperous population. The Gannet succeeds where many other species have great difficulty enduring the impact of climate variations on food and water and air temperatures. Chevalier observed these specimens in their habitat and met with scholars in Quebec and Scotland. What she learned is reconstituted in a video diptych and artist book, the titles of which conjure a world of aeronautics.

This Anthropocene era, in which man has become the most powerful of disruptive geological forces, has ushered in the Sixth Extinction event. The previous one, in the Cretaceous period, had, among other things, eradicated the dinosaurs. But the most devastating, dubbed the Great Dying, took place at the end of the Permian period; it resembled the current one in that it, too, was due to climate changes. Humanity had no part to play in that extinction, which stretched over a long period. But today the problem is exponential. The artist observes its collateral damage on the seabirds. The impact of current civilizations on wild flora and fauna also requires adjustments in how extinct species are collected. Now even animals impacted by oil spills are worthy of conservation, according to Bob McGowan, curator of bird collections at Edinburgh, as he confides with the artist in a section of her book, an essential counterpoint to the film. What was the cause of death for these bodies meticulously labelled and preserved in environmentally controlled chambers? Chevalier’s film prompts as many questions as it provides answers. The remains still have something to say, despite their silence. The film, too, is overcome with silence, the loop coming full circle, though not quite the same. Experts’ voices start to fade, subtly reflecting the difficulty in being heard, an auditory attrition of ecosystems, an extinction that devastates animal populations. More than ever then, Bass Rock, which dominates the view in Leading Edge/ Trailing Edge, takes the appearance of a fortification, a bastion of resistence, an outcrop of stability in this environmental debacle.

Author: Bénédicte Ramade

Bénédicte Ramade is an art historian specialized in ecological questions. She is currently conducting research on the anthropocenization of knowledge and art practices. She is an independent curator and art critic and a lecturer at Université de Montréal.

Public conversation at OPTICA, Saturday, December 1st, 3 pm to 4:30 pm between Geneviève Chevalier, Bénédicte Ramade (Université de Montréal) and Kyle Elliott (McGill University).

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)


PRESS REVIEW

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas. «Les arts visuels sous le signe de l’engagement», Le Devoir, August, 25 and 26, 2018.



Geneviève Chevalier was a CALQ artist-in-residence at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, in 2017, the context in which the work was produced. Her work has been exhibited at the Musée régional de Rimouski, the Symposium de Baie-Saint-Paul, the Musée de Lachine, La Chambre Blanche at Manif d’art 7, and the Thames Art Gallery, Ontario. She lives and works in Eastman, Quebec.




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Virginie Laganière, Ex colonie marine Rosa Maltoni Mussolini, Calambrone (Italie), 2018.
Image tirée de la vidéo | Video still
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Virginie Laganière
From November 10th 2018 to December 15th 2018
Le Prisme

Opening, Saturday, November 10 - 3PM to 6PM

Family Saturdays: November 17 and December 15

In her sustained residency work, Virginie Laganière adopts an attitude akin to that of an anthropological artist, mindful of immersing herself in the material and emotional texture of the spaces she studies. She conducts field work in which architectural structures in need of redefinition reveal an abundance of current and future potentialities. Developed during a stay at Studio du Québec à Rome, Le Prisme furthers this endeavour by dwelling on the formal and ideological universe of the colonie marine, or Italian seaside colonies.

In the first period of their existence, beginning in the mid nineteenth century, these colonies were health-care facilities meant for children with TB. Ideally located on the coast, their tended cure was based on the purported benefits of sunlight and saline air. Under Mussolini’s reign, their purpose shifts toward indoctrination as they take on the aspect of somewhat militaristic summer camps. Often borrowing from the stylistic vocabulary of the ocean liner and deeply influenced by modernist architectural principles, the imposing buildings convey Party values and constitute veritable spatial instruments for influencing children’s behaviour. After World War II, the seaside colonies eventually establish a pedagogical vocation aiming to promote individual and collective emancipation through non-hierarchical learning activities. Some, in fact, have since been transformed into schools. Most, however, are in a state of neglect, still overlooking the sea, their great carcases strangely punctuating the landscape around seaside towns.

Juxtaposing documentary and fictional fragments, Laganière proposes a free interpretation of the legacies of these heterotopias. Arranged with photographs, videos, low reliefs, small constructions, and even a light, aromatic mist, the exhibition space creates a total environment inspired by what the seaside colonies had once been. The outcome is less a commentary on their controversial past than a subtle look at current issues, in particular with respect to the practices of mass tourism: the accelerated privatization of the coastline and the impact of massive summertime migrations on local communities.

Author: Josianne Poirier

Josianne Poirier is a doctoral student in art history. Her research concerns the fantastical nature of city lights.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)


PRESS REVIEW

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas. «Les arts visuels sous le signe de l’engagement», Le Devoir, August 25 and 26, 2018.



With an MFA from UQAM, Virgine Laganière lives and works in Montreal. Her works have been exhibited in Canada, Mexico, Spain, Finland, Japan, and Switzerland. In winter 2019, partnering with Jean-Maxime Dufresne, she will take part in a group exhibition presented at Gallery de l’UQAM.




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Virginie Laganière
Le Prisme, 2018.
Livre d’artiste.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | The Prism, 2018. Artist's book. Courtesy of the artist

Le Prisme, livre d'artiste de Virginie Laganière | The Prism, artist's book of Virginie Laganière
From November 10th 2018 to December 15th 2018
Publication disponible à OPTICA

The Italian colonie marine—or seaside colonies, children’s summer camps set up along the Italian coasts—whose origins go back to the middle of the 19th century, were once established as institutions dedicated to children’s physical and “spiritual” health. These heterotopias functioned on the fringes of society, yet were configured as full-fledged instruments of control. Geographically positioned on the periphery of inhabited areas—before urban sprawl and the development of coastal tourism—they had their own regulations and value systems. The maritime cures took place during a summer vacation, in which the children, removed from the familial cocoon, would live in a geographic, social, and architectural environment framed by the horizon and set to a different temporality. From a historical point of view, the seaside colonies fall into three main periods: the seaside hospices, the Fascist colonies, and the pedagogical colonies.

Virginie Laganière
The Prism, 2018
Artist' book, $10
ISBN 978-2-9817858-0-0
© Virginie Laganière

The publication, produced in collaboration with the TagTeam studio, is composed of three booklets each corresponding to a period of the Italian marine colonies (60 pages). It includes text and images of the artist..




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Geneviève Chevalier
Bord d’attaque/ Bord de fuite, 2018.
Livre d’artiste.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Leading Edge/ Trailing Edge, 2018. Artist's book. Courtesy of the artist

Bord d’attaque/ Bord de fuite, livre d'artiste de Geneviève Chevalier | Leading Edge/ Trailing Edge, artist's book of Geneviève Chevalier
From November 10th 2018 to December 15th 2018
Publication disponible à OPTICA

While filming and sound recording in Scotland (Ailsa Craig, Bass Rock, Isle of May, Outer Hebrides, Troup Head) during a residency at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, and in Eastern Quebec (Parc national de l’Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé, Parc national Forillon), I became interested in the North Sea and North Atlantic Seabirds. The video Leading Edge / Trailing Edge loosely evokes, through seascapes, portraits of birds and recent scientific data, the actual situation of boreal seabird species, in the era of climate change.

Geneviève Chevalier
Leading Edge/ Trailing Edge, 2018
Artist’s book
$20
ISBN 978-1-7752726-0-1
© Geneviève Chevalier

A book produced in collaboration with Principal Studio, presents a series of booklets showing photographs of birds and landscapes, as well as specimens and images from scientific collections and scientific publications.




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Esther B., Sans titre, 2018. Photographie numérique, taille variable. | Digital Photography, variable size.

Les Samedis ensemble en famille | Saturdays with the Family
From November 17th 2018 to December 15th 2018
Sur la route des oiseaux! Autour de l'œuvre de Geneviève Chevalier

Geneviève Chevalier’s Trailing Edge/ Leading Edge looks at how climate change threatens the survival of seabirds. In this collage workshop, we will look at different birds form North America and explore the theme of migration. Where do they go, where do they come from? We will create a collaborative artwork tracing different trajectories, from those of birds to our own.

Practical Information
November 17, 2018
December 15, 2018
1 PM to 4 PM

The workshop is open to the whole family and will run continually. Feel free to join in at any time.
Free | No reservation required
For children aged 4 and older
Duration: up to 1 hour and 15 min.

NEW: also offered in Spanish and Portuguese

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Geneviève Chevalier, Bord d'attaque / Bord de fuite - Leading Edge / Trailing Edge, 2018. Image tirée de la vidéo, dimensions varaiables. | Video Still, variable size. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

From December 1st 2018 to December 1st 2018
Discussion publique à OPTICA, samedi le 1er décembre - 15h à 16h30

Public conversation at OPTICA, Saturday December 1st, 3 pm to 4:30 pm between Geneviève Chevalier, *Bénédicte Ramade, art historian, Université de Montréal, and **Kyle Elliott, Assistant Professor; Canada Research Chair (Tier II) Chair in Arctic Ecology, McGill University.

*Bénédicte Ramade is an art historian specialized in ecological questions. She is currently conducting research on the anthropocenization of knowledge and art practices. She is an independent curator and art critic and a lecturer at Université de Montréal.

**Kyle Elliott received his PhD in 2014 from the University of Manitoba, where he was a Vanier Scholar and Garfield-Weston Fellow. He received his two BSc’s in Physics & Math and Conservation Biology from UBC, followed by a MSc at the University of Manitoba. He completed NSERC postdoctoral research at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Guelph prior to starting at McGill in 2015. Kyle recently received the Ned Johnston Young Investigator Award from the American Ornithologists Union. He serves on the board of the Society of Canadian Ornithologists and on the Editorial Board of the Marine Ecology Progress Series. He has conducted research on four continents from the Amazon to the Arctic, but specializes in the Canadian Arctic where he has studied birds on 14 of the islands in the Canadian Archipelago over the past 15 years. The sustainability of Arctic communities depends on their access to clean and abundant food, which is the subject of Dr. Elliott’s research at McGill.