From January 12th 2001 to February 17th 2001 Tourmente
“I really did cloak myself in tumult, trying to pierce the gust, and succeeded only in falling out a little bit more with this effervescent world, between the disruption of low pressure systems and the troubled turbulence of the hyper-blizzard.”
– Matthew, Letter to the Sibyllines.
A tiny place. A shed perhaps, or a garage.
Inside, a video projection shows a tightly framed, huge snowfall that hides everything. Animated images, taken from a bad picking-up of Hertzian waves, appear at times through the randomly moving particles, while the walls of the place reflect more or less accurately the snowy projection. The visitor is dragged into this “media storm,” a whirlwind of chaotic images from which arise, at intervals, scraps of meaning, narrative fragments echoed and distorted by the inner walls.
Born in Shawinigan in 1956, André Clément lives and works in Montréal. His work has been presented in Québec, across Canada and in Europe (Kunst Raum Riehan, Basle, 2000; Gian Ferrari, Milan, Italy, 1995; Fotofeis, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1995). His work has often been reviewed and he has received several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. He was artist in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts in 1991 and 1994. He currently teaches Visual and Media Arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
In the past few years, his research has focused on visual perception and questioned the relationships between the photographic image, media generated images and real space. Involving representational processes such as the photographic trompe-l’œil and video broadcast, his recent work explores, through digital superimposition of various types of visual documents, perceptive and interpretative phenomena linked to the origins of the image, its definition, its resolution as an enigma and its staging in space and time.
- Lehmann, Henry, «Quirky images speak for their creators», The Gazette, 3 février 2001, p.J6.
- Rodriguez, Véronique, «André Clément», Espace, hiver-printemps 2001.
Denis Lessard, Arlene Stamp
From January 12th 2001 to February 17th 2001 Tableau
"Tableau" was described by Sylvie Fortin as a "transformance" exploring translation itself as a metaphor in an immersive experience, rather than a simply transitive one. This evocation of an evening shared by Denis Lessard and Arlene Stamp, which took place in Montréal in 1994, returns to its city of origin in the year 2001. "A visually sophisticated and compelling installation, "Tableau" presents an evocation of a dinner table set for two. Simply and poignantly, the audio component presents an attempt by the participants to reach an understanding of this shared event, an understanding shaped by their own cultural and linguistic references." (Sylvie Fortin) "Tableau" was presented in 1997 in Calgary as part of a group exhibition entitled "Tongue", curated by Cate Rimmer for Truck Gallery; and again in 1998, as an independent exhibition, at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Now "Tableau" comes to Optica with a revised audio component in which the two sound tracks, previously separated, are now heard simultaneously in a richly woven tapestry of story and sound in two languages.
While in Montréal in 1994 for a collaborative installation with Yvonne Lammerich at Optica, Denis invited Arlene, whom he had met in 1988, to share a dinner which he himself would prepare. A few weeks later, a collaborative project between the two artists began in which this single evening was remembered and re-told in terms of their own perceptions, each in their own language. "Tableau" is the outcome of this shared experience.
Denis Lessard lives and works in Montréal. Since 1982 Denis has given his performances and shown his visual work in Québec, across Canada, in France and the United States, while being active as an art critic, independent curator and translator. His multidisciplinary work has addressed issues pertaining to collection, male identity, and relationships between literature, music and the visual arts. In the fall of 1998, he was artist in residence in Rotterdam, within the collective Het Wilde Weten where he produced the photographs for his recent exhibition at Galerie VOX in Montréal. This fall, he was in residence in Saskatoon, with the collaboration of AKA Gallery and The Photographers Gallery, as well as in the St. Norbert Arts and Cultural Centre, near Winnipeg.
Arlene Stamp currently lives and works in Calgary, Alberta. Many of Arlene’s projects over a span of the last 20 years have involved an interaction with another person. The contingency of meaning is a recurring
theme played out through collaborative interaction and attention to context. "Modern Mother" is a recent and ongoing body of work based on her mother, Mary Smith, and will be shown next at University Art Gallery - Calstate, Stanislaus. Her abstract work with recursive patterns emphasizes the same theme within a singular context. Her Signs of Breathing will be exhibited next month in a group exhibition entitled "Pleasures of Sight and States of Being", curated by Roald Nasgaard for the Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University.
- Bouchard, Gilbert, «Prairie signs of a time gone», The Globe and Mail, 5 décembre 2000, p.R1.
From March 2nd 2001 to April 7th 2001 Sincère
"Sincere" is an installation dealing with the nature of the art object. For me it reflects a particular way of working developed through out the years, where the search for the minimum elements to create a presence was pursued. The three pieces that constitute the installation share in a sense of lightness, and what I would like to call a kind of sincerity. In the early 60's Marcel Broodthaers talked about making insincere art, although he was talking about the commerce of art, for me it also became the nature of art making as well as its product. So, the work could be sincere or insincere, depending on the artist's intentions, the material and its manipulation; and that became my challenge and fascination in the making of this work. The installation is shown at its barest. But it is also this bareness and straightforwardness that hides its true nature. Material becomes presence. At the end the work becomes mysterious and playful in its actual being.
Mariela Borello lives and works in Montréal. Born in Argentina she has spent more that half of her life in this hemisphere. She is an installation artist whose last solo show in 1999, "Le boxeur aveugle se prépare", was presented in Cameroon (Central Africa) at L'Espace Doual'art. She has participated in several group shows including in 1997 "The Spacebetween (L'entrespace)" at the Saidye Bronfmann Center, showing "A Mouthfu"l; and also "Art-Ménager", with "Drowning in a glass of wate"r, at La maison de la culture Plateau-Mont-Royal. In 1994 she participated in "Partly Human" at the Galeria de Arte Moderno in Guadalajara and in the gallery Temistocle in Mexico City, where she showed "My Mother Tongue", 22 photographic images on lead. Video has also been part of her production as in "Le Drapeau Brûlant", a series of street projections presented just before the 1995 referendum, a project sponsored by Articule.
- Entrevue à Radio Centre-Ville (102,3 FM), Émission «Planète», 1er mars 2001.
From March 2nd 2001 to April 7th 2001 FUZZYFACE
"Within all great art there is a WILD animal: tamed."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
Part of a series of installation works, "FUZZYFACE" explores the interval between images and the meanings produced there. When comparing two things (images, pieces of music, texts, etc.) we become conscious of what moves between them: meanings which are difficult to articulate as they lie at the very limits of language. "FUZZYFACE" juxtaposes two images in order to produce a ghostly third meaning, and attempts to materialize this immaterial "ghost" in the form of a video image.
"[...] the relationship between a musical score and a performance cannot be grasped causally (as though we find, mysteriously, that a certain score causes us to play in a certain way), nor can the rules that connect the two be exhaustively described -- for, given a certain interpretation, any playing can be made to accord with a score. Eventually, we just have to "see the rule in the relations between playing and score". If we cannot see it, no amount of explanation is going to make it comprehensible; if we can, there comes a point where explanations are superfluous -- we do not need any kind of fundamental explanation."
- Ray Monk,Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius.
Nelson Henricks was born in Bow Island, Alberta and is a graduate of the Alberta College of Art (1986). He moved to Montréal in 1991, where he received a BFA from Concordia University (1994). Henricks continues to live and work in Montréal, where he teaches at Concordia University, also at McGill University (2001) and at the Université du Québec à Montréal (1999). A musician, writer, curator and artist, Henricks is best known for his videotapes, which have been exhibited worldwide. A focus on his video work was recently presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as part of the "Video Viewpoints" series. His writings have been published in Fuse, Public, Coil magazines, and in the anthologies So, To Speak (Éditions Artextes, 1999) and Lux (YYZ Press, 2000). Henricks coedited an anthology of artist's video scripts entitled By the Skin of Their Tongues (YYZ Press, 1997) with Steve Reinke. He has just completed a new video entitled Planetarium.
- Crévier, Lyne, «Autoportrait au chat», Ici, 29 mars - 5 avril 2001, p.42.
- Lebeau, Wesley, «The animal in us», The Link, 27 mars 2001, p.9.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «Portrait de l'artiste en écorché vif», Voir, 29 mars - 4 avril 2001, p.58.
- Mcleod, Dayna, «Lightness of Being», Hour, 5-11 avril 2001, p.26.
- Rochefort, Jean-Claude, «L'artiste en proie à ses démons», Le Devoir, 24-25 mars 2001, p.C9.
From April 20th 2001 to May 26th 2001 Éléphants
The "Elephants" work series can be traced back to 1994. I had then visited many ancient sites and sanctuaries in Sukhothai province, in the North of Thailand, and found debris of stuccoed elephants whose trunks and heads someone had tried to rearrange in a presumably correct position as if to give them new life. It reminded me of chicken, duck and pork served in restaurants which, although cut into disparate parts, are arranged in a living posture when presented at the table.
Elephants have always been part of Thai culture, as evidenced in the numerous legends and Buddha stories. The white elephant has been regarded as a propitious animal and appeared on the Siamese flag. But elephants in Thailand are now threatened with extinction. They are endangered regardless of their great dimensions and strength.
Since 1995 I have worked with many mediums, in works dealing with elephants. Most of them are ambiguous and fragmented. They have never been perfect — perhaps, because I am presenting something which is becoming blurred and vanishing.
With the "Elephants" series, I found myself interested in the state of "declining," especially the process of "disappearing." The series "Inflation-Depletion," started since 1997, has fully responded to that interest. Participation from viewers is required to experience the series. Through breath donation (blowing inflatable silicone elephants), the viewer’s focus is placed on the fulfilment of something that is missing — an attempt of sorts to extend life to the dead, depletion as well as inflation. A life-size adult white elephant requires the participation of more than one person to "reanimate".
April 10, 2001
Artist's talk in collaboration with the University of Québec in Montréal
Local J -5320
Optica wishes to thank Ginette Bouchard, professor at Université Laval, who initiated this exhibition and collaborative project with the Galerie des arts visuels of Université Laval in Québec City, Stephen Schofield of Université du Québec à Montréal and the Student Association of the École des arts visuels et médiatiques for Sutee Kunavichayanont’s public talk in the context of its guest artists program.
At Silpakorn University, Sutee Kunavichayanont completed undergraduate studies in printmaking, specialising in silk-screen. He spent three years in graduate printmaking at Sydney University. Since 1986, he has participated in many group exhibitions and international shows and staged solo shows in Thailand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Germany, Bulgaria and Australia.
"The White Elephant of Siam" was shown in 1995 at the Art Gallery of the Silpakorn University in Bangkok. Kunavichayanont focused on the dwindling number of elephants in the Thai Kingdom and since then, elephant-related issues have been in the forefront of the works he has exhibited in several group shows. In 1998 the artist took a satirical look at Thai customs and the bleak perspective for some endangered animals (elephant, tiger, buffalo) with "Rain Drops — Pig’s Shit Running" at Tadu Contemporary Art, Bangkok. In 2000 he presented "4 Days, Elephant Breath Donation and History Class" at the Silpakorn University Art Gallery, Bangkok, and in 2001, "Inflatable Nostalgia", Atelier Frank & Lee, Singapore. Among group shows, he has participated in "8 Artistes thaïs à Paris" at the Maison des arts Europe-Asie, Paris (1998); "Trace," Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Arts, Liverpool, UK; "10 Asian Artists in Residence", Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, (1999); "keep your distance," Tadu Contemporary Arts, Bangkok, Plastique Kinetic Worms, Singapore, and the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur; "The Global Scents of Thailand," Edsvik konst och kultur, Sweden; and "Euro Visions," Bangkok (2000).
- Crévier, Lyne, «Mémoire d'éléphant», Ici, 3-9 mai 2001.
- Lehmann, Henry, «Elephant 'skin' depicts a fallen giant», The Gazette, 12 mai 2001, p.16 & en couverture.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «La planète en voie de disparition», Voir, 17-25 mai 2001, p.59.
- «Fast Forward», Canadian Art, printemps 2001, p.18.
From April 20th 2001 to May 26th 2001 Nuts Society
"Nuts Society" (at the present) is anybody (a citizen of Planet Earth) who is concerned about the existence of the world and tries to act so that it evolves in meaningful ways. With its name and objectives initiated in Bangkok, "Nuts Society" has been organising and exhibiting public art projects and activities since 1998. As a collaborative group (uninterested in the self-promotion of its members), the organisation is committed to produce significant art that plays a role in the world’s development and social consciousness.
Preoccupied with wider social contexts, "Nuts Society" engages in a cross-disciplinary practice, adopting different means to communicate various messages in order to achieve one main goal — to inspire and heighten social conscience towards our ways of living.
In Montréal, "Nuts Society" will display Thai written messages in the windows of the Vie en forme gym and the photography studio 901, located on the first floor of the Belgo building. Postcards with Thai inscriptions referring to moral values (concern, sacrifice, peace, honesty, etc.) will be given away to passers-by at stands in front of some St. Catherine Street shops. Like other projects and initiatives of "Nuts Society", the messages seek to trigger awareness and are addressed to any individual concerned with the current situation of the world and wishing to act responsibly to change its course. Set within people’s daily lives, the projects raise various social, humanitarian and environmental issues in this era of globalisation. In the gallery, viewers will get acquainted with traditional Thai handwriting through elementary exercises proposed by the interactive project A Learning Reform. The computer-assisted learning will take place with a CD-ROM and forty-four explanatory tables.
Optica wishes to thank Ginette Bouchard, professor at Université Laval, who initiated this exhibition and collaborative project with the Galerie des arts visuels of Université Laval in Québec City, Stephen Schofield of Université du Québec à Montréal and the Student Association of the École des arts visuels et médiatiques for Sutee Kunavichayanont’s public talk in the context of its guest artists program. The gallery also thanks Ms. Marinella Carriera from Vie en Forme andYves Barrière and François Leclerc from Studio 901 for their kind contribution to the "Nuts Society" project displayed in their windows.
In 1998 with "Bangkok Project #"1, "Nuts Society" brought art to people’s daily lives on the streets. "Nuts Society" put meaningful words (concern, responsibility, honesty, etc.) on liquid soap labels and installed them in shop, pub and restaurant rest rooms around the Rattanakosin Island area, to remind people of what is missing in urban society. "Bangkok Project #2" worked in the same sense (aiming to shake people’s behaviour) but this time the words appeared on postcards for unlimited distribution in Thailand and around the world.
One of its most recent project, "About Studio/About Café" (2000) combined objects and signs. Letters formed words and created signs that became visual objects with significant yet intangible meanings: a coffee table back-lit with the word "selflessness" or placing stickers with similar words on the windows of a café lighted with green fluorescent tubes. "Nuts Society" products, such as coffee glasses, tea boxes and limited 7-Up drinks with "Nuts Society’s" own labels, were sold during the show. At the second site — "About Art Related Activities’ Window Project" — "Nuts Society" inscribed words from a consumer driven culture in the commercial windows of Yipintsoi Co. Ltd., which echoed those of the café: "More possessing/more craving/more suffering."
Other recent initiatives by "Nuts Society" include "Buy Nothing Day", co-campaigned with Adbusters; "Nuts Society Café", recreating a saleng (tricycle) to distribute and serve old-style coffee and tea at Siam Square, Bangkok’s trendy centre; and also "Nuts Society T-Shirt Workshop", providing painting activities for children and their families to spend quality leisure time together, and also an opportunity to discuss various social and environmental problems caused by human beings.
- «Inventory», Mix, vol. 27, no 1, été 2001, pp.8-9.
Louise Bourgeois, Nicolas Baier
May 31st 2001 Événement bénéfice
For its annual benefit event, Optica offers you the opportunity to acquire a work by Louise Bourgeois or Nicolas Baier which have been generously donated to the gallery. A coupon will be issued confirming participation in the draw for every $20 donated. During a celebratory evening on May 31, 2001, the names of the recipients of the works will be made known. Profits raised by the event will be used to create a fund for Optica's publications (objective: $6,000).
Heike Mutter, Sandra Sterle
From September 7th 2001 to October 13th 2001 Souffle
Curator : Nicole Gingras
"Breathing" brings together photographic and video works by Heike Mutter (Germany) and Sandra Sterle (The Netherlands). This duo exhibition focuses on time and its suspension. It leads to various experiences grounded in the body: floating, being about to fall or drown, resurfacing, holding one's breath, breathing in and out. These actions reveal numerous bodily states fluctuating between convulsion and rest, movement and stasis.
The notion of time and its momentary suspension is dealt with here in a dreamlike manner. It implies a performative dimension based on borderline experiences, some of which are relived by each artist. One could say it is a passing from one state to another rather than exorcism.
In their own way, both Heike Mutter and Sandra Sterle invite us to witness moments when the status of the image is wavering. Sterle's and Mutter's works are destabilising. They introduce us to very small things which, as they arise, can transform a stability whose precariousness we do not readily accept. Both speak of a present renewing itself before us.
September 5th 2001, 7hPM.
Heike Mutter: Artist's talk
Norman McLaren Hall
September 6th 2001, 7hPM.
Sandra Sterle: presentation GIV, Groupe Intervention Vidéo
OPTICA thanks the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Ottawa and Mr. Bram Buijze, First Secretary and Cultural Attaché. For Heike Mutter's transportation and accomodation, OPTICA thanks the Goethe Institut and its Director, Mr. Norbert Spitz, and Ms. Caroline Gagnon, Coordinator of the Cultural Program, for their logistic support and hospitality.
Sandra Sterle is a multidisciplinary artist (video, installation, net art, performances). Born in Croatia, she lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The artist draws from daily life rituals and explores places connected to childhood. She deals with various forms of uprooting while questioning her own affective attachment to images in her memory. Her work is regularly exhibited in Europe. In 1999 she was guest artist in residence at the Wexner Art Center, in Columbus, Ohio. She is in residency at Artslink, New York, throughout this year's fall.
Heike Mutter works with photography and video. Born in Munich, she lives in Cologne, Germany. This artist sometimes borrows from performance to embody different personae. Her work often takes the form of complex installations where troubled spaces or places are recreated. She also recycles fragments of educational films, edited in loop form, then projected or shown on a monitor. She has had solo and group exhibitions in Germany, Italy and Hungary. This is her first exhibition in Canada and America.
Nicole Gingras is a Montréal based writer and curator. Since 1983 she has curated several solo exhibitions (Raymonde April, Donigan Cumming, Jacques Perron, Cathy Sisler, Michèle Waquant), group shows ("The Tenuous Image", "The Absence of Photography"), as well as numerous film and video programs which have circulated across Canada and Europe. She is currently preparing an exhibition of Mario Côté's work for the Musée d'art de Joliette in January 2002, and a publication on the work of Manon Labrecque, upcoming this fall.
- Crevier, Lyne, «Résistant poétique», Ici, 27 septembre – 4 octobre 2001, p.46.
- Rochefort, Jean-Claude, «Apercevoir l’au-delà de près», Le Devoir, 29–30 septembre 2001, p.D13.
- «Fast Forward», Canadian Art, automne 2001, p.20.
From September 7th 2001 to October 13th 2001 Game
Let the games begin. Endgame. Game point. It's a racket out there. She's got game. Even the score. Gamesome. Keep your eye on the ball. No Contest. Game plan. The dating game. Gameness. Gamecock. Game of chance. It's a no win situation. Gamely. Play ball.
On one wall a large DVD projection depicts a head shot of a young woman. At times she appears to be absorbed in concentration, at other moments she is gazing off into space; there are instances of laughter and attempts at non-verbal communication. While the video component to this work acknowledges the performative and unedited aspect of early video and conceptual art, the headphones available on the opposite wall provide a more immediate reference. In separating the visual and aural elements of the work, spectators experience the "game" alone. "Game" enacts the larger metaphor of play within a competitive culture.
The paradoxical phrase sentimental conceptualism perfectly encapsulates Laurel Woodcock's art-making. While informed by conceptual art, her work is infused with humorous and emotive qualities that work to confound the movement's disassociated aesthetic. Her installations merge, in various configurations, time-based media such as video, audio, and DVD's. At times, she invites interaction by proffering mass produced gifts to the gallery visitor. Referencing cinema, popular culture and technology, her installations resonate with wry humour and gentle pathos while staging quietly theoretical propositions.
Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Most recently, Jan Allen curated an overview of Woodcock's work in an exhibition entitled "take me, I'm yours" at The Agnes Etherington Art Centre. She currently lives in Toronto and is Assistant Professor of Video, New Media and Performance at the University of Guelph.
- Entrevue à Radio CBC (88,5 FM), Émission «The Arts Today» de Will Aitken, 1er octobre 2001.
Carl Bouchard, Raphaëlle de Groot, Rachel Echenberg, Martin Dufrasne, Massimo Guerrera, Devora Neumark
From October 7th 2001 to October 14th 2001 Gestes d'artistes
Curators: Marie Fraser, Marie-Josée Lafortune
From New York City... to Montréal
A series of street actions in various locations in New York City by six Québec artists is presented through a collaboration between Artists Space, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and OPTICA,in the context of "La Saison du Québec à New York". These urban interventions explore the precarious and complex thresholds between a "politics" and a "poetics" of daily gesture by calling up individual experience that mediates malleable boundaries of private and public domains.
Faced with the social and political constraints that have changed our relationship to the world in the past month, the ARTISTS’ GESTURES project which Optica planned to present in public spaces and streets in New York City, from October 7 to 14, had to be relocated in Montréal at a few hours notice. Participating artists Carl Bouchard, Raphaëlle de Groot, Rachel Echenberg, Martin Dufrasne, Massimo Guerrera and Devora Neumark have wished to transform and adapt their artistic interventions in response to the difficulty of interacting within New York City’s urban public space that has become increasingly occupied by security forces since September 11th.
The continuation and the presentation of the project in Montréal are also a form of resistance asserting the importance of ideas circulating, and a gesture of solidarity towards organisations and individuals who wished to accommodate us from the onset and who convinced us of the urgent need for action.
Carl Bouchard, Martin Dufrasne
South-west corner of St. Urban and René-Lévesque Streets
Near Complexe Guy-Favreau
October 12, between 3:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Marking points with rat traps snapping during a series of competitive games on green game tarps. Then sitting. Sitting for a long time. Sitting for a long time, holding and surrounded by set rat traps inscribed with "Regardez-vous" (Look at yourself!), and "Interrogez le ciel" (Ask the heavens).
Raphaëlle de Groot
"Collecte de poussières"
Cabot Square, St. Catherine Street W., surrounded by Atwater, Lambert-Closse and Tupper Streets
Métro Atwater, St. Catherine exit
October 11, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., noon to 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. to 6 p.m.
October 12, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., noon to 5:00 p.m.
From day to day and through chance meetings, Raphaëlle de Groot opens the private/public boundaries deliminating manoeuvering in a neighbourhood park by collecting specks of dust. Every day she counts and sorts out the collected bits, re-transcribing people’s reactions, responses and shared conversations. A curious and meticulous gesture. From the stories conveyed by the dust to those emerging from encounters, there appears a subtle sub-text revealing the hidden dimension of things.
"STILL (from within, to without)"
OCTOBER 12 - OCTOBER 13, 2001 (9 a.m. and 6 p.m)
"STILL (from within, to without)" is an intimate meditation that takes place in public. Wearing a special stethoscope built for two listeners, the artist and a knowing participant will hear the sounds of the inner body while the outside world echoes through its vessels.”
I am inviting the public to take appointments with me at different places in Montréal on Friday October 12 or Saturday October 13 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. When the meeting is scheduled we must agree on the “public” site (parks, street corners, bus stops, metro stations, libraries, cafes/restaurants, offices, etc.) and the length of the meeting (between 15 and 30 minutes). I am asking people to choose sites that fit into their daily schedules where I will be able to wait for them to begin this quiet action.
Gérald-Godin Place, Métro Mont-Royal
October 11, 12 and 13, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
October 14, 7:00 p.m.
At the rate of four hours a day, Massimo Guerrera occupies a thirty-three square-foot space on the sidewalk in the square where he is ready to welcome passers-by and engage in conversation. His surprising presence and the strangeness of his territory interrupt the city’s public rhythm, reversing urban activities and frenzy. Pushing the notion of exchange to the point of gift, he entrusts portable sculptures to people who promise to return them after a pre-determined amount of time. "This work has to do with confidence. Small objects will then circulate in a different way in the urban space and in the citizens’ bodies."
"she loves me not, she loves me"
10 Ontario Street W., apt. 706
October 12, from noon to 6:00 p.m.
Collective gestures in various locations across the city:
-"Cloche de la paix," Japanese Garden, Montréal Botanical Garden
- Jarry Park, near Linda Covit’s sculpture Caesura
- Jean-Drapeau Park, near the oak planted by the city to commemorate the victims of September 11, 2001
Commemorative monument, La réparation, in Marcellin-Wilson Park on Henri-Bourassa Boulevard north
October 13, throughout the day.
"she loves me not, she loves me" is a repetition of the familiar gesture consulting the "oracle" of the daisy by pulling out one petal at a time. The wistfulness of the gesture is heightened by the overwhelming abundance of daisies and the duration of this live-art relational practice.
For the Montreal presentation, we would like sincerely to thanks the Bureau de l’art public du Service de la culture de la Ville de Montréal for their support.
Artists’ Gestures is an initiative of Québec New York 2001, a major event presented in New York City and made possible with the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Commission Québec New York 2001, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (www.lmcc.net), Artists Space (www.artistsspace.org) and the City of New York / Parks and Recreation.
Moukhtar Kocache assisted by Jennifer Charron, Director of Visual Arts Programs and Services of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
Barbara Hunt, Executive Director of Artists Space, New York
Adrian Sas, Officer Special Event from the City of New York / Parks & Recreation
Andrée Daigle, Chargée des projets culturels of the Québec-New York 2001 project
M. Yves Pépin, Chef, Visual and Media Arts at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada
Regine Basha, Agent of Public Cultural Affairs at the General Consulat of Canada
Anne Girard, Cultural service consultant of the Délégation générale du Québec à New York
Carl Bouchard and Martin Dufrasne live and work together in Chicoutimi. In addition to their individual productions, they have been working together since 1998. Their individual practice has drawn attention in Québec in over forty individual and collective exhibitions.
A young artist, Raphaëlle de Groot has been actively exhibiting since 1996. Her interventions point to hidden, omitted and intimate elements that compose the latent and underground dimension of public space. Both archeologist and detective, she gathers the clues to a story which escapes our attention and acts incontexts outside art.
Rachel Echenberg’s performance-based work (staged performance, public intervention and installation-performance) focuses on situation – specific actions that set out to explore a shared live presence. Since 1992 her work has been presented in exhibitions, symposiums and art festivals in Canada and Europe, including participation in the "Performance Index Festival" in Switzerland, "Public Art as Social Intervention" in Montréal, the "3rd International Art Meeting" in Poland, and "Time/Space/Presence" in Toronto.
Massimo Guerrera has been working in the visual arts and performance since 1992 when he began a series of works in progress on food incorporation and circulation, including his famed movable canteen. Among others, he participated this October at the Festival international de nouvelle danse de Montréal, 2001, in the Biennale de Montréal in 2000 and exhibited at the Passage de Retz in Paris in 1998.
Devora Neumark’s interdisciplinary practice includes interventions and performances, as well as public installations and events. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, including "Sur l’expérience de la ville", organised by Optica in 1997. Last November, she presented "Dutch Woman at Larg"e at New York’s Metropolitain Museum of Art with the contribution of the General Consulate of Canada and The Franklin Furnace Performance Art Fund.
- Bérubé, Stéphanie, «L’automne du Québec à New York : premiers artistes choisis», La Presse, 9 février 2001, p.C7.
- Crévier, Lyne, «Des Québecois à New York», Elle Québec, octobre 2001, p.46.
- Lamarche, Bernard, «La Matière et l’éphemère, confrontation avec la capitale internationale de l’art» , Le Devoir, 8-9 septembre 2001, p.G7.
- Sparkes, Colette, «L’intelligence extraite du chaos quotidien – gestes d’artistes», Esse, printemps-été 2002, pp.66-75.
- «Fastforward», Canadian Art, vol. 18, no 3, automne 2001, p.29.
- Fraser, Marie et Marie-Josée Lafortune (eds.), Gestes D'Artistes, Montréal : OPTICA, un centre d'art contemporain, 2003.
Bhupen Khakhar, Jayashre Chakravarty, Anand Patwardhan
From November 10th 2001 to December 15th 2001 Une pratique profane : art récent en Inde / Des idées en mouvance : un dialogue culturel contemporain avec l'Inde
The work of Jayashree Chakravarty, Bhupen Khakhar and Anand Patwardhan is presented as part of "Secular Practice: Recent Art from India", an exhibition of nine contemporary artists from India that is taking place at three Montreal artist-run-centres in addition to Optica. Responding to the reality of living in a rapidly modernizing society, the work of the artists in the exhibition addresses issues ranging from freedom of expression, social justice, growing religious fundamentalism and widespread communal violence to sexuality, women’s rights, the inequities of entrenched class and caste systems, the processes of history and memory and the nature of art itself in these circumstances.
The other artists in the exhibition are Vivan Sundaram, Rummana Hussain and Atul Dodiya, whose work is being shown at Oboro, Sheela Gowda and Pushpamala N at La Centrale/Galerie Powerhouse, and Nalini Malani at Dazibao, where Anand Patwardhan’s videos will also be shown.
"Secular Practice: Recent Art from India" itself is one a number of components of the project organized by Hoopoe Curatorial and presented in Montreal in cooperation with Cargo Productions. The project also includes the exhibition Dust on the Road: Canadian Artists in Dialogue with SAHMAT at MAI (Montreal, arts interculturels), which was presented in Toronto and London (ON) with strong impact last year, as well as a film series, lectures and other programs.
Supplanting a legacy of modernism and characterized by interdisciplinary cultural projects including performance, installation and video, Moving Ideas examines what many participants and observers of contemporary Indian culture describe as a powerful shift in the form and content of representation over the past dozen years. It is part of a four-year initiative of art and cultural exchange intended to create an awareness of issues shared, in particular, by artists in Canada and India organized by Hoopoe Curatorial. In addition to the presentation of Dust on the Road last year, previous initiatives have included the presentation of a focus on Canadian visual art publications at the 1999 Calcutta Bookfair and facilitating a special number of the Canadian literary journal West Coast Line titled “Here and There: Between South Asias, New Writing from India and Canada”, which was launched in Calcutta at the bookfair. Following their presentation in Montréal both visual art exhibitions travel to Vancouver.
Organized by Hoopoe Curatorial and presented in Montreal in cooperation with Cargo Productions.
Hoopoe Curatorial is working on this initiative with the support of numerous funders and the collaboration of many partners. For the presentation of "Secular Practice" in Montréal, Hoopoe Curatorial is pleased to acknowledge the Ville de Montréal, CALQ, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation, the participating galleries, Centre d’études et ressources sur l’asie du sud (CERAS); South Asian Women’s Community Centre (SAWCC); Teesri Duniya Theatre; the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University and Concordia University Studio Arts and M.F.A. Programs; Concordia University members of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute; Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University; CARGO Productions.
Bhupen Khakhar has been upsetting aesthetic conventions of Indian modernism for close to forty years. One of India’s most important visual artists as well as a noted writer, his work has been influential for a generation of Indian artists, critics, art historians, writers and filmmakers. In his art he has brought to the contemporary Indian art scene a new awareness of the country’s urban environment, its popular and folk arts, and an eloquent and provocative celebration of gay sexuality. A major retropsective of Khakhar's work is being organized by the Reina Sofia in Madrid and was the recently subject of a major monograph. Formerly from Bombay, Khakhar lives in Baroda.
Working primarily as a painter, Jayashree Chakravarty often presents her work in the form of installations that occupy the architectural space in which they are presented. Whether as hanging banners that evoke the gritty beauty of urban Calcutta as well as folk traditions of West Bengal or as self supporting structural works that refer to her travels, her work provides a strong reflection on debates surrounding the viability of painting as an artistic medium. Based in Kolkatta, Chakravarty has exhibted extensively in India, Australia and other international centres. In 1999 she had a one-person exhibition at the Drawing Center in New York.
A filmmaker whose work addresses the conditions of India’s dalits and underclasses, religious fundamentalism and its relationship to patriarchy among other pressing contemporary issues, Anand Patwardhan has been effective at reaching a wide public through both the screening of his work in local communities and its broadcast on television, often obtaining court injunctions to do so. Patwardhan’s shorter video, made in the format of music videos, will be featured in the exhibition.
Hoopoe Curatorial is a collective that includes Phinder Dulai, a poet and journalist in Vancouver, and Peter White, an independent writer and curator living in Montreal. London (ON) artist Jamelie Hassan was a founding member of the group. The group derives its name from the Hoopoe, a migratory bird that travels between India and the West. In India the Hoopoe is commonly found in parks, gardens and wooded areas and is associated with tranquility and peace.
- Delgado, Jérôme, «Au rythme de l’Inde», La Presse, 26 novembre 2001, p.C4.
- Hays, Matthew, «Battling the bomb», Mirror, 22–28 novembre 2001, p.52.
- Lamarche, Bernard, «Mouvances de l’Inde», Le Devoir, 10-11 novembre 2001, p.C11.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «India song», Voir, 22–28 novembre 2001, p.84.
- Redfern, Christine, «Passage to India», Mirror, 15–21 novembre 2001, p.40.
- Van Hoof, Marine, «Inde : Conscience historique», Vie des arts, no 185, hiver 2001, pp.82-83.