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© Programme l Program, 2002.

Exposition de groupe
From September 13th 2002 to December 7th 2002
La survivance : La demeure

Curator : Marie Fraser

Artists : Kim Adams, Michel De Broin, Constanza Camelo, Claudine Cotton, Alexandre David, Marie-Suzanne Désilets, Rachel Echenberg, Marie-Ange Guilleminot, KIT + Artengine = Borderline Developments, Lani Maestro, Shelley Miller, Janet Morton, Daniel Olson, Jean-François Prost, Ana Rewakowicz, Danielle Sauvé, Steve Topping, Mary Sui Yee Wong

Maintaining a connection between artistic experience and everyday, even domestic life, this exhibition brings together artists who interrogate the notion of the dwelling,opening it up to a reflection on mobility, nomadism, housing shortages, and on the encounter between private and city life. Today, from our living space, and in the midst of cultural motion, the dwelling is fashioned by its own quest and by the idea of inhabiting the unusual.

Original works presented in public and private spaces throughout the city of Montreal, from September 13th to November 3rd, 2002. Exhibition of artists' documents and archives - September 13th to December 7th, 2002.

Go to publications catalogue

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Daniel Olson
Cultural Services, Inc.
A division of the Free Man Detective Bureau

An intervention in private spaces. People could request the service until September 18 by calling Optica for an appointment: the files and archives of Cultural Services Inc. could be consulted at the gallery.

Daniel Olson is a multidisciplinary artist interested in basic household objects that he playfully and audibly transforms, either for presentation in exhibitions or for use in performances. The question of the domestic universe — of how the body interacts with everyday objects and the immediate environment — and the private and public dimension of people's lives are likely the most important aspects of his artistic practice in recent years. Discretely and on request, like a detective under the aegis of a cultural services company, Olson will infiltrate private life and lead an investigation into people's habits and cultural commodities, consulting their books, magazines, art, and CD and record collections. In turn, like a shadow, he leaves hidden traces of his passage. The results of his private investigations are compiled and available for viewing at the gallery.

Rachel Echenberg
Body-house : les paroles autonomes

Belgo Building
September 13 (5 to 7 p.m.)
Lafontaine Park in front of the Calixa-Lavallée centre
September 19 (2 to 6 p.m.)
Place des Arts metro station, South-East exit on Jeanne-Mance and de Maisonneuve
September 28 (1 to 4 p.m.)

Rachel Echenberg works on the threshold of the private and the public. Attempting to provoke highly intimate experiences in often anonymous spaces, her performances attest to the body's extreme vulnerability in public space. In recent years, her work has lead toward an approach in which her public presence, sometimes eliciting interactions with passersby, outweighs the object. Echenberg describes her performance body-house: les paroles autonomes as an attempt to dwell within herself while remaining simultaneously present in the exterior setting. Her body appears as a metaphor for the dwelling, on the border line between the individual and the social. Echenberg will sit for several consecutive hours, transmitting sounds produced by her body in the surrounding space. These sounds, broadcast over loudspeakers, mix with the noises and presence of others. The idea of the “body-house” is here that of a “transmitter-body,” projecting its interiority in the space of the other.

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Shelly Miller

Belgo Building
305 Ste-Catherine street W.
The intersection of Clark street and Ste-Catherine street
The lot between St-Laurent boulevard and Clark street, on de Maisonneuve boulevard.
The lot at the exit of St-Laurent metro station.

Shelley Miller creates an interstice between the domestic universe and industrialized city space. Fragments of ornamental motifs, sketched with cake icing, partially cover the graffiti on the brick walls of residential and commercial buildings in various spaces throughout the city. At once trimming and wall-covering, Trimmings recalls interior decorative spaces and the opulent life style associated with them. Turned inside-out like a glove, however, this interior becomes exterior, and private space breaks out into social space. The colourful motifs, made of sugar and meringue, seem suspended between an aura of ornamental sumptuousness — the kitsch world of excess associated with popular culture — and the social gestures that graffiti represent. Beyond the interwoven critical references, by using a perishable, self-disintegrating material, Miller also underscores the expunction and disappearance of signs of private life in public space.

Michel De Broin

A wandering trailer appears on the street, in a perimeter delineated by boulevard de Maisonneuve and Ste-Catherine street, including St-Laurent, Clark, and St-Dominique.
September 13 to October 13, 2002

Michel de Broin uses the caravan motif here to push the utopian idea of housing to its limits, while toying with notions of security and comfort associated with the dwelling. “My initial project, Il y a péril en la demeure, consisted of suspending a lived-in trailer a hundred feet in the sky using a stationary crane. Suspended from its cord, the trailer was thrown, unprotected, into space. With this new project, entitled Trou, I wanted to create the conditions of security and comfort characteristic of the dwelling by creating a bubble within the trailer in which one could curl up. I made an opening in the back of the trailer where one could crawl in and give oneself over to the retreat. Open, available, and offered to passersby, the trailer is parked on public downtown thoroughfares, moving several times (sometimes just to cross the street) within a delimited area.”

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Alexandre David
Construction sans titre

The Balmoral street block

Midway between sculpture and an architectural pavilion, Alexandre David's installation occupies a place of passage, with which it integrates perfectly, fully taking advantage of its transitory potential. Minimal in appearance, the wooden construction entices one to stroll about and affords passersby the experience of place in several manifestations: veranda, house, living-room, and garden. Neither inside nor out, neither private nor public, it presents itself as a series of interstices and gradations that subvert the very idea of place. As in a passageway or an ambulatory, the space that surrounds us makes us aware of the constantly postponed presence of another. This spatial complexity is reinforced, from within as from without, by the presence of trees that at once enclose and open the structure. And it's rather the notions of place and of threshold that help describe our experience, as if each space actually presented itself as a connection, thus obliterating its own limits.

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Lani Maestro
The Room in Space

Place Albert-Duquesne, on the corner of de Maisonneuve Boulevard and Clark street
Parc Jeanne-Mance, along Duluth avenue
Parc Lafontaine, close to Duluth

Lani Maestro connects the dwelling with displacement. Many of her works have sought to show how the quest for home and the notion of exile are the very conditions of existence. If only by its title, The Room in Space evokes the idea of an empty place and of isolation, but it also presents itself as incentive to create our living space ourselves. Consisting of a set of sculptural installations placed in three city parks and leading us through the city, the work invites us to different experiences of place. These structures of wood and bamboo dwell in space like small oases that one may find almost by chance, following one's course through the parks, trees, branches, and people. Intimate in scale and placement, the compartments await habitation, as it were, the investment of our presence. Facing the act of appropriating this space, we are involved in a poetic experience that invites us to view the dwelling not only as the place in which we live, but as a way of being and living in the world.

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Ana Rewakowicz
The Occupants (Les occupants)

5470 Casgrain
Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
230 Marie-Anne East, outside
4123 de Bullion, inside
Friday through Sunday

Over the last few years, Rewakowicz has produced a set of inflatable works, including a room and some clothes that one can handle, carry and move, but that, in a playful spirit, place people in strange situations of comfort and discomfort. The disorienting experience of mobility and instability helps re-examine the dwelling's definition as a set place of belonging where identities are forged. The Occupants pursues this interrogation by inviting people to interact with sounding-balloons residing in various apartment spaces. Flexible and formless, the balloons can take possession of the room, occupying it completely, blocking a door or window, or simply floating within the space. This intrusion metaphorically evokes the presences of a foreign body in one's own living space. Rewakowicz deliberately places us in a situation of negotiating with this intrusion such as to bring our attention to the distance that separates us from others, from those who surround us and whom we meet every day.

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Mary Sui Yee Wong

Parc du Carmel Carmel Avenue, between Henri-Julien and Drolet

Mary Sui Yee Wong proposes a metaphorical experience of the dwelling by connecting it with a reflection on memory and the notion of place. How does a place come to “haunt” our memory, lodging itself and dwelling within it? Based on childhood and the utopian space of play, she builds an installation that plays with the oscillation between day and night, pleasure and fear. Near a playground, a structure that recalls children's play houses combines two ancient Chinese traditions: the houses, cars and objects made of paper that are burned to appease the ghosts during the Festival of Hungry Ghosts; and the lanterns that light up to celebrate the new moon. Wanshàng is also the Mandarin word for “evening,” used for qualifying the passage of time: “That moment,” Wong explains, “when life is transformed from day to night, from public to private, from the place of work to the home, from business to pleasure, from outside to inside. It is the time when night (wan) rises (shàng) to replace day.”

September 13 to October 13, 2002
Danielle Sauvé
Chambres paupières

6846 St-Denis close to Jean-Talon metro
Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

For several years now, Danielle Sauvé has presented objects taken from our household environment, objects that seem at once familiar, intimate, yet also strange, as if dispossessed of their properties. Through exaggerations of scale and by interchanging the qualities of objects and a variety of everyday instruments, she distorts them and steers them into the fabricated, constructed, and yet so poetic universe of sculpture. Chambres paupières is a video installation that explores the same feeling of familiarity and strangeness. The dwelling appears as a quest, here, as a place to reach, yet one that constantly eludes us. Scenes of urban wandering and intimist scenes drawing on the domestic universe crisscross and follow one another in image sequences projected on small screens. The images accompany the furniture and various household objects in the space of an apartment. Sauvé began working on her first filmed images during a residency in Barcelona two years ago.

October 21 to November 3, 2002
Marie-Suzanne Déslets, Jean-François Prost
Co-habitations hors champ

Temporary residence on the roof of the Multidick company's building, at 4495 Côte-de-Liesse Road, visible from the Metropolitan highway.

Each having developed a critical reflection on the presence of the body and on its relation to urban space, Marie-Suzanne Désilets and Jean-François Prost are collaborating on a first temporary shelter project. Installed on the roof of a building near a highway, their dwelling strangely occupies an extreme, densely concentrated urban environment marked by anonymity and movement. Their immobile trailer is immediately visible to drivers on the raised, high-speed highway. Lit up at night, its presence is all the more evident in erupting from the urban landscape and road-traffic atmosphere, appearing like a fictional construct of the imagination. For two weeks, the artists live in their refuge, sharing their existence and quotidian life in this weird location, isolated from any private space or domestic environment. Investing an impossible site, they underline the precariousness and vulnerability of housing, while also helping to shift the function of architecture toward process, placing more emphasis on living the everyday, on survival, and on solitude.

September 13 to December 7, 2002
Kim Adams
Research Slides

At the gallery

Kim Adams' work often alludes to the dwelling. Notions of habitation and mobility are playfully dealt with through extreme, derisory and far-fetched environments evocative of as many human constructions and inventions. Since the end of the 1970s, Adams has built up a very peculiar “collection” of images, a kind of personal archive that she refers to in her work — some two hundred slides, many of which display strange temporary dwellings, mobile homes, vehicles, and all kinds of altered, doctored and reinvented means of transportation. These images attest to the way people invent themselves and conceive unusual ways of inhabiting the world and of moving within it, ways that appear eccentric, yet strangely charged. They translate life styles and speak to us of mentalities. The exhibition also presented some of Adams' maquettes.

September 13 to December 7, 2002
Constanza Camelo

At the gallery
A thirty-minute performance presented in 1995 as part of the Bienal de Vencia, held in Bogota, Columbia. Taking place at the same time as the Venice Biennial in Italy, this event is organized by the Columbian artists' collective Las Matracas, in Venecia, a poor neighbourhood in the city.

Performers: Constanza Camelo, Santiago Echeverry, Sara Yepes.

“I conceived this action for the median strip of the main avenue crossing the Venecia neighbourhood. In the evening, these spaces separating the streets of Bogota become dwelling areas for the homeless, garbage dumps, witnesses of the dead bodies of violent deaths. Inspired by the children who built these ephemeral shelters, this intervention used felt coverings emblazoned with the Columbian flag. The military police also uses them to shield its soldiers against the cold and to cover them when they die in battle. By turns, the performers played at covering each other's body, exchanging places, postures, becoming heaps of bodies, garbage, shelters. The cover was at once hiding-place, envelope and dwelling. The movement of bodies recalled a child's game: covering, being covered in turn, and in turn uncovering; erecting a private space in permanent reconstruction, but also evoking the state of those who are forced to occupy public space for their everyday private life, for sleep, and for death.”

September 13 to December 7, 2002
Claudine Cotton
Une vraie famille doit faire son lit petit à petit

At the gallery
Performance presented as part of "Émergence 2001: La famille", in Quebec City, August 19 - 25, 2001.

For the last few years, Claudine Cotton's performances have been increasingly based on a presence with others and on human interaction. They provoke situations of encounter and congeniality, in an exchange at once with the strange and the familiar, with the public and the private, and in which people are invited to participate and engage. Une vraie famille doit faire son lit petit à petit pushes that quest still further by seeking to establish an intimate rapport with people in the street. As in a form of vagrancy, Cotton moved around every day in the St-Roch district of the city of Quebec, inviting people to sleep in her “strolling-bed.” Literally intruding in city space and in a public place, the image of the bed becomes the basis for encounters with people and evokes a familiar universe, even domestic comfort. This welcoming of the stranger in one's own space — where shared intimacy becomes the basis for encounters — bears some connection with the dwelling as a quest for a home.

September 13 to December 7, 2002
Marie-Ange Guilleminot

At the gallery

Mobile, portable and intimate, the works of Marie-Ange Guilleminot are conceived in a relationship with the other and function as a gift. The virtual project transformationparlor.com is built in the same spirit of interface. This Web site brings together artists, their works, and personal accounts to form an exhibition space that appears in a constant rapport with living space. Part of the site is articulated around the house plan of Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, Construis toi-même l'espace où tu vis (1960). By clicking on the room-modules, the plan opens on new spaces where one discovers works connected with the body, with clothes, with places we live in and that live within us. For its presentation at Optica, the site has developed to include a project produced in October 1994, in Tel Aviv. Marie-Ange Guilleminot had then occupied the terrace of the Bograshov gallery for a month, transforming the exhibition space and gallery office into a living space in rapport with the street. That momen was for Guilleminot the beginning of Salon de transformation, a work that has been travelling the world since 1997.

September 13 to December 7, 2002
KIT + Artengine = Borderline Developments
Greylands Project

At the gallery

KIT (founded in 1992) : Manchester, London and Montréal
Artengine (founded in 1996) : Ottawa

Greylands is the title of a project and the name of an artist, architect and engineer's collective, active in several cities in Europe and the US, that develops in situ and Web interventions with a critical and socio-political perspective. Under the cover of a real estate company, with its fake sales office, Greylands proposes a satirical commentary on the use and planning of urban space. After KIT's first intervention in Widnes, England (1997), the collective produced other projects for the redevelopment of “grey zones” in residential spaces on a contaminated lot in downtown Ottawa (1999) and on a public square in Mexico (2002). From a home PC, via , one could purchase land on residential development allotments and draw out the virtual plans for one's residence. The company set up its offices on the real site and operated as a housing development business. The projects are archived and documented on the company Web site.

September 13 to December 7, 2002
Janet Morton

At the gallery
Installation presented in Toronto, at 13 Third St. Wards Island, November 7 to 21, 1999, and at Trinity Square Park, in April 2000, as part of the wool works exhibition organized by the Textile Museum of Canada.

To cover a house at Wards Island, Janet Morton produced a kind of clothing made of some 800 pieces of used knitwear, buttoned and decorated with hand-knit architectural details. First clothing an inhabited home, the project was then reinstalled for three days on a scaffolding structure at Trinity Square Park. Normally used to cover the body, clothing here takes outlandish proportions, reaching habitable dimensions (7.62m x 8.53m). Although Morton seems to refer literally to the dwelling as a symbol for warmth and refuge, the covering, acting as protection, reveals its fragility and vulnerability. The inside is turned toward the outside, provoking a reversal of private and public spaces, and still more emphatically, of intimacy and exteriority. Accentuated here by the scale of the object and of the material (knit clothes), the contradiction between public experience and private space seems to domesticate the notion of the public.

September 13 to December 7, 2002
Jean-François Prost
Convivialités électives

At the gallery
Installation-performance produced and presented during the Lobe residency-projects in Chicoutimi, on the Saguenay, close to the village of Ste-Rose-du-Nord, February 19 to March 10, 2000.

As an artist and architect, Jean-François Prost has a hybrid practice that combines installation and performance. The projects he has produced in recent years eschew the traditional framework of architecture, seeking rather to invest residual areas, kinds of no-man's-lands or vacant lots. Working on a household scale, his attention is drawn to the idea and to the day-to-day dimension of a living space closely related to the environment. His reflections include such themes as urban life, nomadism, and de-territorialization, together with thoughts on shelter and human relationships. Convivialités électives took shape following an invitation from the Lobe in Chicoutimi. Prost set up a temporary shelter on the iced-over Saguenay and lived there several weeks during the winter. Near the fishing sheds, the abode becomes a shelter and refuge. The dwelling is here inspired by a dialogue with the setting, the people, and the environment, and is informed by the vulnerability and precariousness of survival and by the observation of everyday life.

September 13 to December 7, 2002

Steve Topping
Home Projects

At the gallery

In recent years, Steve Topping produced temporary housing projects in different places throughout Quebec and Canada, including Cartier, Ontario (winter 1997), and downtown Montreal (1998-99). By developing his shelters and alternative spaces as ephemeral and portable dwellings, he reexamines the status of the household environment. In particular, he questions how the development and organization of residential space can affect and transform our everyday live. In Montreal, he lived for six months in a household space that he set up on the roof of a commercial building on the corner of St-Laurent and de Maisonneuve, in a space that once housed old freight elevator machinery. His living space was entirely thought out in terms of very limited, even restrictive housing space, and of objects he could recycle. What redefines the dwelling here is not the housing itself, but a process oriented toward the daily experience of a living space that remains entirely adjustable, changeable, and adaptable to recycling and a nomadic life style.

Public presentations

Saturday, September 28, 1 p.m to 5:00 p.m.
Guided tour with the artists
Journées de la culture

Saturday, October 5, at the gallery, 2 p.m.
Round table: Habiter l'inabituel
At the gallery
Marie Fraser, Marie-Paule Macdonald (University of Waterloo), Shauna McCabe (Confederation Centre Art Gallery)

Saturday, November 23rd, at the gallery, 2 p.m.
Meeting with the artists
At the gallery

- «Artist Run Culture - A portfolio of recent and upcoming work from across the country», Mix V 28.3, hiver 2003, p.16.
- Charron, Marie- Ève, «Espaces à occuper», Le Devoir, 28-29 septembre 2002, p.F10.
- Delgado, Jérôme, «Mexico, Mexico, Mexi-iii-co!» La Presse, 7 septembre, 2002, p.15.
- Delgado, Jérôme, «Visites libres», La Presse, 22 Septembre 2002, p.E6.
- Devine, Shannon, «No Birthday Cakes Here, Local Artist elevates baking materials to high art», the LINK, 29 octobre 2002.
- «Fast Forward», Canadian Art Fall 2002, vol. 19, no 3, p.34.
- Giguère, Amélie, «La demeure Inventer la demeure», ETC Montréal, vol 61, mars-avril-mai 2003, pp.27-31.
- Lamarche, Bernard, «En tous lieux», Le Devoir, 24-25 août 2002, pp.C10-C11.
- Lamarche, Bernard, «Art contemporain et logique événementielle», Coranto #1, novembre 2002.
- Miller, Marcus, «News, Montréal», Contemporary, décembre 2002, pp.23-24.
- Miller, Marcus, «Highlights, Montréal», Contemporary, décembre 2002, p.30.
- Monfort, Mikaëlle, «Rue des plaisirs», Quartier Libre, 10 septembre 2002.
- Paré, André Louis, «La Demeure», para para, no 10, avril-mai-juin 2003, pp.2-3.
- Redfern, Christine, «2002/ the year in review / Visual Arts Off the wall», Mirror, vol. 18, no 29, 24 décembre 2002 - 8 janvier 2003.
- Rochefort, Jean-Claude, «Improvisation no 2 : Un bilan plutôt dont on attendait beaucoup plus», Le Devoir, 2-3 novembre 2002, pp.E11-E12.
- Woodley, Matthew, «Space invader», Mirror, 19-25 septembre 2002, p.41.
-«Tranches radicale dans l’année d’art 2002 au Québec», INTER, no 84, pp.4-33.

- Couillard, Claude, «Arts Visuels : Artiste Détective», 5 octobre 2002, [www.radio-canada.ca/culture].
- Couillard, Claude, «La Demeure», 19 septembre 2002, [www.radio-canada.ca/url.asp?/culture/expositions/v2/].

- Entrevue à Radio Canada CBC , Émission «Montréal Ce Soir» de Raymond St. Pierre, 1 novembre 2002.
- Entrevue à Radio Canada CBC, Émission «Tous Les Matins» de Dominique Bertrand et Paul Houde, 8 novembre 2002.