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© Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf, Nussdorf Dam, administration block, 2012. Crayon de bois sur papier, page de livre | Pencil on paper, book page, 28 x 22 cm. Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist. Photo : Guy L’Heureux

Marc-Antoine K Phaneuf
From January 24th 2015 to March 21st 2015
Études préparatoires. Dessins d'explosions 2012-2015

Opening :: Saturday January 24 (3 PM)

TOUT FAIRE PÉTER! MAKP wants to turn it all upside down, raze everything. Like the primitivists, he cries out, Zerstörung ist ein Anfang!1 But what is destruction the beginning of?

No matter: BANG! You’re dead, and the rest of us with you. Why reflect on history when we’ll be blown to pieces with it? What remains of it, and us—limbs, flesh, carcasses, bone and architectural structures, "anarchitectures", vehicles, sports, Tarzan, PET, and everything it represents. Really such a pretty sight? At least we die in style.

To die in style, just because it’s beautiful when it explodes. Just for that. For that only. All the sacrificed symbols, because "in the heat of the action, actions often outstrip one’s thoughts" (Socrates screaming behind the players' bench at the end of the second period). To see it all blow sky high and, just before it collapses, to rejoice.

If we’re going to go down with history, 'might as well finish with a splash, for our own sakes as much as for Madame Lemay, of Saint-Hyacinthe. After all, they say violence is a big draw (Socrates is still bawling). After all, there will never be enough November 5s to fill all the killing fields (in the alchemy of writing, the meaning of this passage was destined to drown in history, exploded in "la bière du chien à Molson".

With something of the prowess of a Gaétan Boucher or Nadia Comăneci, MAKP sketches out the edifice’s pending collapse, the collective heart of history pounding against its frame, on the brink of destruction. Not just any history: our history, writ both large and small. Will anything remain after the collapse? There will be some kind of follow-up to write, on what, of our beauty, may have survived intact.

And the delirious crowd will cry out, misquoting Yvon Lambert, "that violence is at the root..." (still that other guy's beer). It’ll be Byzantium’s big comeback. Roublev, fear in his bones, fists raised before Lambert at the white line; Brunet at the centre of the ice, as the referee dives into the fray.

Game’s end: I forgot! Of what, precisely, was the destruction the beginning? In the end, with the shards of our exploded heart, we’ll have to find what to say, what to do, what to write: it’ll be the start of another history, parsimonious, one hopes, in its austerity.

1. Our translation: "destruction is the beginning".

Author: Alexis Desgagnés

Alexis Desganés lives, reads, writes, photographs, and loves in Québec.

Translator: Ron Ross

Presse Release (pdf)

The exhibition Études préparatoires. Dessins d’explosions 2012-2015 is the subject of a short article : "Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf : Images du passé actualisées" written by Nathalie Parent (Vie des arts, February 5, 2015). Éric Clément also wrote about the exhibition in his article"Édification partielle" (La Presse +, February 25, 2015). The team of Formule Diaz, a program broadcast on the channel Télé-Québec, came to film an interview with Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf in our gallery space (Télé-Québec, Season 1 / Episode 21 / 05:35).

School Workshop
As part of OPTICA’s educational program, Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf will met up with 5th and 6th graders at Saint-Enfant-Jésus elementary school in the Mile End. Schoolchildren participating in the project will visit the exhibition with the artist in attendance and explore the creative process through a workshop given at their school. The works the students will produce during the workshop will be presented at centre OPTICA’s new AGORA space.

Schoolchildren Opening
The students will exhibit their masterpieces at centre OPTICA's new AGORA space from March 9th to the 21st. There will be an opening on March 9th from 5 PM to 7 PM.

For more information on OPTICA's educational program, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille à 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), and the Caisse Desjardins du Mont-Royal, Caisse Desjardins de l'Est du Plateau, and Caisse Desjardins des Versants du mont Royal.

Entente sur le développement art3

Artist and author Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf lives and works in Montréal. He has presented his work in many artist-run centres, galleries, and museums in Québec and has published three books of poetry at Le Quartanier.