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Jo-Anne Balcaen, David Zwirner, Tuesday, January 13, 2015, 5:24 pm, 2015-2019.
Impression jet d'encre sur polypropylène, 106,7 x 157,5 cm. | Inkjet print on polypropylene, 106,7 x 157,5 cm cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Jo-Anne Balcaen
From April 13th 2019 to June 15th 2019
Dynamique interne/ Internal Dynamics

Opening, Saturday, April 13, 2019 - 3PM to 6PM
Family Saturdays: May 4 and June 15, 2019.
Internal Dynamics, an installation of photographs with soundtrack by Jo-Anne Balcaen, is the latest iteration of works that delve into the psychic experience of artists who grapple with what Bourdieu called the inverted economy, where artists don’t make work to earn a living but earn a living in order to make work. Conditioned by years of experience as a former exhibition coordinator, Balcaen’s candid perspective on the art world results from the artist’s own ambiguous position within the field as both an insider and an outsider and the effect this condition has on her psyche as she strives for self-actualization.

Distilled from dozens of pictures surreptitiously taken while visiting the internationally renowned galleries of New York’s Chelsea district, the large, lush architectural portraits seemingly bring the galleries’ private spaces within reach, while photos of the barriers used to limit access reinforce the feeling of distance. In contrast, others document the more humanizing details that reside in the shadow of the white cube’s persistent aura: dirt, storage, cluttered desks. The large-scale gallery images fit seamlessly into OPTICA’s gallery space, leaving one to wonder about the elusive reputational metrics that determine the spectacular gap that exists between high-end galleries and artist-run centres, and the artists who make it and those who don’t.

Overhead, a soundtrack plays an inner dialogue that will strike a chord with those who share a similar experience as artists and cultural workers nesting multiple roles within the art world, not only to survive, but to thrive, as singular subjects with agency over their destiny despite limited opportunities and bouts of crippling doubt. Balcaen’s white cube is a generative site of existential enquiry, offering opportunities she continues to respond to, at her pace, and for our experience.

Anne Bertrand

Anne Bertrand was involved at Skol, a Montréal based artist-run centre, from 2005 to 2012 and is currently the Executive Director of ARCA, a national advocacy organization that federates the nine artist-run associations from Québec and Canada.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

JANZEN, Edwin (2019). « Jo-Anne Balcaen, Any Gallery, Anywhere », Espace art actuel. no. 123, Fall, pp. 93-95.

ALLARD, Benjamin J. Interview with the artist Jo-Anne Balcaen about the exhibition "Internal Dynamics" presented at OPTICA, un centre d'art contemporain, Le Retour, Radio CIBL 101.5 FM, June 10, 2019.

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas. «Dynamique interne: le cube blanc renversé», Le Devoir, April 20th and 21st, 2019.



Jo-Anne Balcaen is a Montreal-based artist who has worked in video, installation, sculpture, and photography. Her work, which has drawn on references as diverse as popular music and the inner workings of the art world, has been presented throughout Canada, in the US and in Europe. She holds a BFA from the University of Manitoba, and an MFA from Concordia University.