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2020 - 2021

Programming

Sandra Brewster
from October 3rd 2020 to October 28th 2020

Allysha Larsen, Estelle Bonetto, Jeff Morton, Jesse Fulcher Gagnon
from November 4th 2020 to December 11th 2020

Activité en cours_Art pour emporter ! / Current activity_Takeout Art!
from November 17th 2020 to February 13th 2021

Opuscule et entretien vidéo | Sandra Brewster, Nalini Mohabir, Opuscule and Video discussion
from December 2nd 2020 to February 13th 2021

Activité inspirée de la pratique de Sandra Brewster | Activity inspired by Sandra Brewster practice
from January 1st 2021 to May 1st 2021

Sandra Brewster
from February 16th 2021 to April 3rd 2021

Leila Zelli, Jim Holyoak
from March 13th 2021 to March 13th 2021

Cynthia Girard-Renard
from March 25th 2021 to April 15th 2021

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021

Charlotte Clermont
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera avec Shauna Janssen
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021

Charlotte Clermont et Stefano Miraglia
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021

Nouveau partenariat entre le Conseil des arts de Montréal, l'École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l'UQAM et OPTICA
from April 25th 2021 to May 31st 2022

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from June 1st 2021 to June 12th 2021

Maryam Eizadifard
from September 1st 2021 to April 30th 2023

Leila Zelli
from September 1st 2021 to May 30th 2022

Claudia Goulet-Blais
le September 1st 2021

MOMENTA Biennale de l'image; Commissaire | Curator: Stefanie Hessler, with | en collaboration avec | Camille Georgeson-Usher, Maude Johnson, Himali Singh Soin | BUSH Gallery : Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin, Tania Willard
from September 8th 2021 to October 23rd 2021

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from September 15th 2021 to May 1st 2022

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from October 1st 2021 to November 30th 2021

Myriam Yates
from November 6th 2021 to December 18th 2021

Gabriela Löffel
from November 6th 2021 to December 18th 2021

Caroline Cloutier
from January 22nd 2022 to March 19th 2022

Olivia Boudreau
from January 22nd 2022 to March 19th 2022





Sandra Brewster
from October 3rd 2020 to October 28th 2020
Closing of the exhibition and health guidelines on October 29

We are pleased to announce that OPTICA has reopened its gallery work!
But in the wake of current events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, OPTICA is following Québec public health guidelines and implementing measures to protect both our visitors and our staff: we postponed the opening of Sandra Brewster's exbibition.

When reopened on October 29, we ask that you respect the following rules:

- reservations are mandatory for exhibition visits, use this form;

Unannounced visits may be accepted, depending on the number of visitors in the gallery spaces. We can accommodate a maximum of 10 people at a time.

- masks or other face covering are mandatory throughout the visit;
- hands must be disinfected upon arrival: hydroalcoholic gel is available on site;
- 2-meter distancing must be maintained between each person to facilitate circulation during your visit.

If you have COVID-19-related symptoms, please postpone your visit.

Welcome one and all!





Allysha Larsen, Estelle Bonetto, Jeff Morton, Jesse Fulcher Gagnon
from November 4th 2020 to December 11th 2020

As part of Mentorat et visibilité program, le Conseil culturel fransaskois located in Regina, has developed a two-year mentoring project with a group of artists. Since spring 2019, they have been called upon to define, adapt and push artistic boundaries through regular mentoring sessions led by artist Serge Murphy.

As a partner, OPTICA has followed the development of the group of Fransaskois artists. Since November 4, 2020, le Conseil culturel fransaskois has presented the process of the project, which took the form of the creation of the exhibition ÉCHOS accompanied by six video presenting the work of the artists. The project received the support of the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadienne (SQRC), Direction de la francophonie, de la réflexion stratégique. The documentary videos on the exhibition ÉCHOS bring together the works of Allysha Larsen, Estelle Bonetto, Jeff Morton and Jesse Fulcher Gagnon.

Page in French

- ÉCHOS page in English

- Video on Allysha Larsen's art pieces.

- Video on Estelle Bonetto's art pieces.

- Video on Jeff Morton's art pieces.

- Video on Jesse Fulcher Gagnon's art pieces.




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Art pour emporter. | Takeout Art.
Crédit : Sandrine Côté.

Activité en cours_Art pour emporter ! / Current activity_Takeout Art!
from November 17th 2020 to February 13th 2021

Free Takeout Art creative kits are available for pick up at OPTICA until February 13, 2021. Through a series of creative activities, children can learn more about artist Sandra Brewster’s art practice, which is part of the current confined exhibition at OPTICA. Inspired by the photo-based installation Blur, the kit provides an opportunity to experiment with the gel transfer technique that the artist uses in many of her artworks. The kit includes an activity booklet, the material needed to complete your own image transfer, printed step-by-step instructions and a virtual tutorial to guide participants through the various steps involved in completing the transfer. Here is a great opportunity to spend time and create as a family at the beginning of the New Year while discovering the work of a current artist.

Takeout Art kits are available in French or English at the centre.

To reserve one and schedule a time for pickup please send an email at mediation[at]optica.ca

Watch the tutorial on our OPTICA Mediation channel.

And consult the virtual booklet throught this link.


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Opuscule, Sandra Brewster, 2020.
Texte de l’auteure Nalini Mohabir.
Sandra Brewster, Untitled (Blur), 2017 – 2019. Détail, photographie transférée sur papier archive à l’aide d’un gel acrylique, 96 photographies, 25,4 x 17,78 cm. Avec l’aimable permission de Sandra Brewster et Georgia Scherman Projects. Crédit : Paul Litherland | Text of the author of Nalini Mohabir.
Untitled (Blur), 2017 - 2019. Detail, Photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 96 photographes, 25,4 x 17,78 cm. Courtesy Sandra Brewster and Georgia Scherman Projects. Credit: Paul Litherland


Opuscule et entretien vidéo | Sandra Brewster, Nalini Mohabir, Opuscule and Video discussion
from December 2nd 2020 to February 13th 2021

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sandra Brewster’s exhibition will be confined until further notice.

But as we cannot present the works in the gallery, OPTICA is launching a new publishing format in the form of a mini-catalogue, both in print and digitally, comprising an exhibition text, a selection of images, a biography, a selective bibliography, and a gallery layout. We would hereby like to share a digital version of the brochure documenting Sandra Brewster’s exhibition titled Works from series: Smith, Blur, Video: Walk on by, including a text by author Nalini Mohabir, assistant professor in postcolonial geographies at Concordia University.

Sandra Brewster, OPUSCULE (pdf)

Also, in terms of public program, OPTICA is inaugurating a new video interview series with the aim of developing aspects of the current programming. We invite you to a discussion between Sandra Brewster and Nalini Mohabir which deals with the artist's practice, while echoing the exhibition at OPTICA.

WATCH THE VIDEO BY THIS LINK (youtube).





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Trousse pédagogique numérique destinée aux groupes scolaires, 2021. Crédit : Sandrine Côté, Frédérique Davreux-Hébert. |
Digital educational toolkit dedicated to school groups, 2021. Credit: Sandrine Côté, Frédérique Davreux-Hébert.


Activité inspirée de la pratique de Sandra Brewster | Activity inspired by Sandra Brewster practice
from January 1st 2021 to May 1st 2021
Currently, mediation: Digital Educational Toolkit for school groups

Due to the health crisis that is significantly reducing youth’ access to art and culture, OPTICA has developed a digital educational toolkit for school groups. The kit provides an opportunity to discover the practice of the artist Sandra Brewster whose work is currently confined at OPTICA. It also allows for students to be introduced to contemporary art and to learn more about artist-run centres in general.

The kit contains a virtual tour that can be facilitated by a teacher and an accompanying guided visit scenario is made available to help guide the visit. If preferred the tour can be conducted by a mediator from the center via a video conference platform. A downloadable and printable student booklet is also made available for use; it contains a lexicon of the themes addressed in the exhibition, a short biography of the artist and 5 educational activities that can be carried out both in class and at home. The kit also includes a creative workshop that introduces students to the image transfer technique Brewster uses in her work.

To obtain a kit and/or plan a virtual visit with a mediator, please contact Sandrine at mediation[at]optica.ca.




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Sandra Brewster, Untitled (Blur), 2017 – 2019.
Détail, photographie transférée sur papier archive à l’aide d’un gel acrylique, 96 photographies,
25,4 x 17,78 cm.
Avec l’aimable permission de Sandra Brewster et Georgia Scherman Projects. |
Untitled (Blur), 2017 - 2019. Detail, Photo-based gel transfer on archival paper, 96 photographes,
25,4 x 17,78 cm.
Courtesy Sandra Brewster and Georgia Scherman Projects.


Sandra Brewster
from February 16th 2021 to April 3rd 2021
Works from series:
Smith
Blur

Video:
Walk on by


*IMPORTANT NOTICE*We are pleased to announce that OPTICA has reopened its gallery work! The exhibition will open to the public on Tuesday February 16.
But in the wake of current events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, OPTICA is following Québec public health guidelines and implementing measures to protect both our visitors and our staff: we postponed the opening of the exbibition.

We ask that you respect the following rules:

- reservations are mandatory for exhibition visits, use this form;

or by email: communications[at]optica.ca

Unannounced visits may be accepted, depending on the number of visitors in the gallery spaces. We can accommodate a maximum of 8 people at a time.

- masks or other face covering are mandatory throughout the visit;
- hands must be disinfected upon arrival: hydroalcoholic gel is available on site;
- 2-meter distancing must be maintained between each person to facilitate circulation during your visit.

If you have COVID-19-related symptoms, please postpone your visit.

Welcome one and all!


The Potential of Movement

Sandra Brewster has exhibited widely across Canada and the US, including a recent solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has also featured in group exhibits, such as What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic, the first diasporic Guyanese art exhibit, Un|Fixed Homeland, as well as in exhibits in the Caribbean and across the African continent – Lagos, Addis Ababa, and Cape Town. Her practice visualizes the Black diaspora, at home and abroad.

Sandra Brewster’s solo exhibit at OPTICA brings together images from Blur, its accompanying video installation Walk on by, as well as the Untitled Smith, work created over a span of eight years (2011-2019). While all these works build on the artist’s long-standing interest in portraiture, what brings these images together is a contestation of the polarized view of Blackness as either hyper-visible or disappeared.

Blur plays with the traditional notion of head and shoulder portraits; it is a series of photo-based gel transfers of Black individuals including self-portraits of the artist, whose head, hair, and body, are all captured mid-movement. Blur is the Black body in motion, both collectively and individually. The kinetic energy of the images suggests what you might miss in a blink of an eye -- a liveliness or restless motion beneath the surface.

For Brewster, born in Toronto to parents from the Caribbean, movement is many things. In these continuing times of anti-Black racist violence, movement demands we remember that change begins with political movements. The aesthetics of movement is also another way to think about migration, not as a fixed goal, but as a landing without destination (Brand, 2002). There is a potential to move forward, to return, to live in the “black and blur” between (Moten 2017), as an opening to other places. Take Kumina, a religious practice of Congolese origin practiced in Jamaica, where djembe drumbeats guide the dancers’ energetic and rhythmic motions. Miss Queenie, interviewed by scholar Maureen Warner-Lewis (1977), describes spirit possession in Kumina: “…is de ting dey call a spirit where you head ‘pin roun’ an’ you pupalick ‘pon you neck.” [Translation: is the thing they call a spirit where your head spins around and your neck does a somersault]. The kinaesthesia of Kumina is a re-orientation of the body. The spiritual possession of Kumina invoked in a ‘somersault of the neck’ suggests the power of inversions. These rapid movements and embodied connections to elsewhere are the product of diaspora and creolization. In the Caribbean, where cultures interact and – despite historical relations of dominance and subordination – potentially turn power relations upside down, orients us to the possibilities of something new. The submerged has the power to become subversive, as these gestural portraits suggests.

Similarly, the soft blurriness and timeless quality of Walk on by (recorded on a Super 8 Camera), of Black citizens simply walking in the everydayness of Toronto, implies not a recent arrival but long histories of presence that nonetheless require a navigation of invisible societal dynamics that shape movement and freedom.

Like Blur, The Smiths draws on the power of repetition. In the days of phone books, the last name Smith would be repeated in long columns, conjuring as Brewster states “sameness and invisibility.” In Untitled Smiths (Cold), multiples of Afro-silhouetted heads without faces, appear in a grid with the occasional pops of colour in clothing. In Untitled (Plain Black), the Smith characters become monotone, with white Afros and clothing, almost as if a photo negative image. Over top these white Smiths are two detailed images of young men in sports and hip hop inspired clothing from the 1980s, drawing on Brewster’s earlier portrait series Little Boy as well as Brewster’s concern for how young Black men are imaged in society. In Untitled (Whiteout), the Smiths are barely perceptible, almost completely whitewashed into the background. What are the disturbances in the embodied worlds of the Smiths (in North America) that requires Blackness to be assertive or to fade away?

Although Brewster’s art practice is grounded in the experiences of the Black diaspora, her work asks us all to interpret our own (perhaps insurgent) relations to other worlds, in the spirit and in the flesh.

Author: Nalini Mohabir

Nalini Mohabir is Assistant Professor of Postcolonial Geographies at Concordia University.

We would like to thank Georgia Scherman from Georgia Scherman Projects and Dr. Kenneth Montague from Ken Montague / The Wedge Collection.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)



PRESS REVIEW

NIMIS, Erika. «Sandra Brewster, Works from series: Smith, Blur; Video: Walk on by», paru dans Ciel variable, Issue No. 117, «Décalé», Summer 2021, 77-79.

SIROIS-ROULEAU, Dominique. “Sandra Brewster, Optica centre d’art contemporain, Montréal,” Esse, 102 - Spring / Summer 2021.

CHARRON, Marie-Ève. “Mouvantes identitées noires chez Optica,” Le Devoir, March 20, 2021.

DELGADO, Jérôme. “Arts visuels: chanterons-nous avec les machines? ” Le Devoir, January 23, 2021.



Sandra Brewster is a visual artist based in Toronto. Her work explores identity, representation and memory, centering on Black presence. The daughter of Guyanese born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with back home.

Brewster’s work has been featured in solo exhibitions including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, Art Gallery of Guelph, Or Gallery in Vancouver, YYZ Artists’ Outlet and A Space Gallery in Toronto, and in group exhibitions including Mamuzic Gallery in Novi Sad (Serbia), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Arsenal Habana (Cuba), Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Lagos Photo Festival (Nigeria), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Art Gallery of Windsor, and Allegheny Art Galleries in Meadville, PA (U.S.). Brewster’s exhibition It's all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize for outstanding featured exhibition in CONTACT Photography Festival 2017 in Toronto. In 2018, she was the recipient of the Artist Prize from Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and was the year's artist-in-residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Brewster holds a Masters of Visual Studies from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University. She is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects.




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Leila Zelli, Jim Holyoak
from March 13th 2021 to March 13th 2021
Nuit blanche à Montréal 2021 at OPTICA with Leila Zelli, Jim Holyoak

As part of Nuit blanche à Montréal 2021, OPTICA invites the general public of all ages to join us for a virtual and creative two-part workshop directed by artists Leila Zelli and Jim Holyoak. Come discover the art practices of these two contemporary artists who will guide you through a series of playful and whimsical drawing exercises (Holyoak) and introduce you to simple animation methods (Zelli).

Please note that the session with Jim Holyoak will be conducted primarily in English and the one with Leila Zelli in French.

The number of participants is limited, we therefore invite you to register for the event by sending an email to mediation@optica.ca

You will receive the Zoom link, ID, password to participate and the evening instructions.


Leila Zelli : www.leilazelli.com

Jim Holyoak : www.monstersforreal.com

PRESS RELEASE

LÉPINE, Philippe. « Voici à quoi ressemblera la Nuit Blanche 2021 », Huffingtonpost, March 8, 2021.

nuitblanche


Born in Tehran (Iran), Leila Zelli lives and works in Montreal. Zelli has completed a master's degree (2020) and a bachelor's degree (2016) in visual and media arts from UQAM. She is interested in the relationships that we have with the idea of “others” and “elsewhere ” and more specifically, within this geopolitical space often referred to by the questionable term of“ Middle East ”. Zelli's work has been the subject of exhibitions, notably at Galerie Bradley Ertaskiran, at the Conseil des arts de Montréal, at the Galerie de l'UQAM and at the Quebec Contemporary Art Fair. Her works are now part of the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the loan collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Jim Holyoak is originally from Aldergrove, British Columbia. He holds an MFA in visual arts from Concordia University (2011), a degree from Álfaskólinn, the Icelandic Elf School in Reykjavik, in Elf and Hidden people studies, and has studied ink wash painting in Yangshuo, China. His work has widely circulated in Canada, the United States, and Northern Europe, particularly at the bG Gallery (Santa Monica, California), Centre OPTICA (Montreal), at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art (Kelowna, BC), The Hive, (Los Angeles, California), Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides (Saint-Jérôme), and at the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (Rīga, Latvia). His works are part of many Canadian collections as Artexte (Montréal), the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), the Royal Bank of Canada. He is represented by McBride contemporain (Montréal) and bG Gallery (Los Angeles, California).



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Georgia Alary-Lemay, Une grenouille en jupon, 2021.
Extrait du livre-zine réalisé par une élève de 4e année de l'école St-Arsène, dans le cadre du projet Artiste à l’école avec Cynthia Girard-Renard. Crédit photo : Sandrine Côté. | A Frog in a Petticoat, 2021.
Book-zine, Exerpt, made by a grade 4 student from St-Arsène Elementary School, as part of the Artist at School project with Cynthia Girard-Renard. Photo credit: Sandrine Côté.

Cynthia Girard-Renard
from March 25th 2021 to April 15th 2021
Artist at school with Cynthia Girard-Renard

This spring about fifty 4th grade students from Saint-Arsène Elementary School (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie) participated in a series of creative workshops offered by artist Cynthia Girard-Renard. The students discovered the artist's practice through the works of the exhibition Sans toit, ni loi : les cétacées du Saint-Laurent, which was presented at the Darling Foundry. The students were then given creative freedom and encouraged to let their imagination guide them through a series of expressive painting, drawing and writing exercises. These exercises were completed in the goal of creating collective book-zines based on the story of an animal-hero.

For more information on the various activities, please contact Sandrine Côté: mediation @ optica.ca.

OPTICA's public education program beneficits from the OPTICA Fund. In 2021, it also receives support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.




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Laura Acosta et Santiago Tavera,
The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 4)
Camouflaged Screams
, 2020, installation multimédia et performance, dimensions variables. Avec l’aimable permission des artistes. | Multimedia installation
and performance, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists. © Cedric Laurenty.

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021
The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 4): Camouflaged Screams

PUBLIC DISCUSSION Between Laura Acosta, Santiago Tavera and Shauna Janssen
Friday April, 23 6PM
- Live Streaming
FACEBOOK LIVE
or
ZOOM LIVE LINK

Camouflaged Screams - Immersive and Scenographic Constructions of Wilding

In Wild Things: the Disorder of Desire (2020), Jack Halberstam posits the notion of wildness as an index of “exclusion, a place of exile (…) simultaneously a chaotic force of nature, the outside of categorization, unrestrained forms of embodiment, the refusal to submit to social regulation, loss of control, the un-predictable.” [1]

Following Halberstam’s sense of wildness as a critical term, and wilding as a performative, with Camouflaged Screams Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera’s latest immersive installation - part of a recurring narrative in their collaborative artworks that is deeply informed by their own personal and lived experiences as Canadian-Colombian immigrants - invites us to engage with aesthetics of camouflage to provoke critical reflection upon the processes by which humans adapt to their changing environments and deeply entangled survival with the epoch of the Anthropocene, planetary events, and ongoing ecological disasters.

Performance scholar Laura Levin, draws attention to camouflage not merely as a tactic for making oneself invisible, but rather as a process of “blending into the background” and as a potential site for political activism. [2] The political and critical remit of “background” in Camouflaged Screams, brings consciousness to the presence of bodies in more or less natural urban landscapes, rather than concealing or masking them; camouflage becoming a performative aesthetic from which to negotiate and adapt one’s ecological relationship to (un)natural environments. The use of large-scale panoramic video projections renders the camouflaged bodies as visible textile sculptures, but also as highly “performative body-object-events” [3] that simultaneously carry their own agency, temporality, and socioenvironmental meanings; transforming the ubiquitous white cube into a “space of pleasurable belwilderment [4]” and an environmentally charged scenographic construct.

With the use of motion sensors, the projected digital landscapes become an interface between the camouflaged bodies and viewers, inviting us to become intra-active participants and performers in constructing our own virtual relationship with narratives of “camouflage consciousness” [5] and wider body-socioenvironmental justice issues.


Author: Shauna Janssen

THE NOVELS OF ELSEWHERE
EPISODE 4
CAMOUFLAGED SCREAMS
Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera

ABOUT THE PROJECT br>
The Novels of Elsewhere is a series of transdisciplinary installations that explore notions of representation and belonging through interactive and immersive digital environments, nonlinear storytelling, experimental soundscapes, textile sculptures and performance. Each installation of this body of work is referred to as an “episode.” Each “episode” is a site-specific exploration of technological setups, corporeal interactions, and inquiries about experiences of “the other.” Ultimately, this body of work invites viewers to experience a sense of dislocation in order to test the boundaries between body/environment, and viewer/performer.

Episode 4: Camouflaged Screams is is an interactive installation exploring the (a)symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural environment. This augmented experience incorporates large scale panoramic video projections of a recorded performance with textile pieces, along with motion sensors, enveloping soundscapes, lighting setups and sculptural elements. As the audience moves around the installation, their movements have the capacity to alter the images and sounds in the space, asking viewers to reflect on how their presence and actions have a direct effect on the environments that surround them.

Concept and Design: Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
Performers: Aizysse Baga, Samantha Blake, Alicia Kazobinka
Technical Director and Sensor Programming: Milton Riaño
Cinematographer: Cedric Laurenty
Sound Producer and Composer: AM DeVito
Production and Studio Assistants: Amélie Charbonneau, Francisco Gonzales-Rosas, Sunna Jóhannsdóttir, Abraham Mercado, Jamie Ross.


nuitblanche


1. Jack Halbertsam, “Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire.” Duke University Press, 2020: 3.
2. Laura Levin, “Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In.” Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.
3. Dorita Hannah, “Alarming the Heart : Costume as performative body-object-event.” Intellect Scene vol. 2, no. 1 and 2, 2014.
4. Halberstam, 10.
5. Levin, 170.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

BRACMORT, Cécilia. « Immersion dans un monde de paradoxes à OPTICA », Vie des arts, August 9, 2021.

CHRISTOFF, Stefan. « Interview radio avec Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera », Free City Radio, CKUT radio, 90.3 FM, June 3, 2021.

DU RUISSEAU, Olivier. “Interactive video installation by two Concordia artists shown at Optica, Camouflaged Screams interrogates cultural and gender identities through a combination of performance, video art and interactivity”, Faculty of Fine Arts Concordia Website, June 4, 2021.
Link:
https://www.concordia.ca/cunews/finearts/2021/06/04/interactive-video-installation-by-two-concordia-artists-shown-at-optica.html?utm_source=email&utm_medium=share



Reminder Health Guidelines

In view to protect both our visitors and our staff, we set up health implementing measures.

We ask that you respect the following rules:

- reservations are mandatory for exhibition visits, use this form:

https://form.jotform.com/202475220037243

or by telephone: 514-874-1666;

Unannounced visits may be accepted, depending on the number of visitors in the gallery spaces. We can accommodate a maximum of 8 people at a time.

- masks or other face covering are mandatory throughout the visit;

- hands must be disinfected upon arrival: hydroalcoholic gel is available on site;

- 2-meter distancing must be maintained between each person to facilitate circulation during your visit.

If you have COVID-19-related symptoms, please postpone your visit.
Welcome one and all!



Santiago Tavera and Laura Acosta (b. 1988, Bogota) are Colombian-Canadian artists based in Montréal. Their collaborative practice forges an intersection between Tavera’s investigation of virtual technologies and interactive environments in relation to the body, with Acosta’s exploration of performance through wearable textiles. Through this, they create site specific immersive experiences and expanded performances in which the audience questions their own position within a space. Their collaborative projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and presented in Canada at MAI-Montréal, arts interculturels, Articule, and SUR Gallery, as well as Internationally at the International Images Festival of Manizales and the International Symposium on Electronic Art-ISEA.

Santiago Tavera constructs immersive and interactive installations that explore virtual narratives of dislocation and perception. In Tavera’s work, multimedia compositions of videos, 3D graphic animations, text, sound and reflective materials evoke experiences of physical, digital and queer processes of identification and representation. Tavera holds a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University.

Laura Acosta creates surreal scenes that integrate improvised movement, textile structures and multimedia elements, as a way to explore themes of identity and displacement. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Fibres and Material studies from Concordia University, an interdisciplinary Bachelor in Fine Art from NSCAD University, and an advanced diploma in Fine Arts from Fanshawe College.

Shauna Janssen is an interdisciplinary curator of site-responsive, collaborative, multimedia and activist urban art projects. Since 2009, in Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal she has been commissioned to undertake artistic and curatorial public art projects for the Centre d’Histoire de Montréal, La Fonderie Darling, and has given talks and collaborated on numerous community-engaged events and cultural exchanges with institutions such as Mutek, Heritage Montréal, Montréal Arts Interculturel, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Articule, the Atwater Library Digital Literacy Group, and the McCord Museum. Internationally Shauna has designed and curated installations for Città Invisibili (Fara Sabina, Italy, 2018), The Performance Arcade (Aotearoa/ New Zealand, 2020), and the XX Chilean Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, Chile (2018), among others. Shauna is an assistant professor at Concordia University, where she has taught in Studio Arts, the Department of Art History, and currently teaches in the Department of Theatre.




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Charlotte Clermont, microsleeps, 2020,
photogramme : image numérique transférée sur 16mm, couleur. Avec l’aimable permission de l'artiste. | Videostill: Digital image transferred to 16mm, color.
Courtesy of the artist.

Charlotte Clermont
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021

With a background in experimental film, Charlotte Clermont creates a dialogue between video and audio explorations to examine our perceptions of the real. The performative aspect of her practice, moved by a desire to transpose the illusiveness of lived moments, is embodied in her singular way of working with analogue recording devices. Using materials from her immediate environment, she works upon the chemical sensitivity of film through various alterations, while leaving a large place to chance.

Her works testify to an intimate relationship with the materiality of the medium. Imbued with a sensuality and eroticism, they reveal a dissension among polarities by inscribing themselves in the interval between the accessible and inaccessible. These tensions arouse fantastical projections of the imminent, deployed on the porous boundary of the real, the proposed fragmentary combinations serving as points of entry into a precise spacetime that allows one to observe the fragility of ephemeral sensations. Woven of autofictional fragments, they draw on an intimate memory, mingling dreams and memories and de/sanctifying reminiscences. Clermont’s approach also borrows from musical codes, using rhythmical structures and leitmotifs to assemble textures and chromatic bursts that create a narrativity and semiology of the image. Her work generally develops an inherent, autonomous, and symbolically encoded metalanguage.

The installation microsleeps was shot in 16 mm and Super-8, then transposed to three digital channels, with soundtracks produced by Émilie Payeur, an experimental music and noise composer. Clermont uses, among other things, the technique of mordanting—a procedure that deteriorates the image by altering and lifting the film’s chemical emulsion—to fleetingly reveal the micromovements of various strata of pictorial composition. The sensations of immensity elicited by the captured places and moments permute randomly, giving substance to fleeting but pronounced states of being. The installation proposes a succession of latent universes, inscribed in the interstices of a moving present where states of intimacy and extimacy (Lacan) are intertwined. microsleeps reflects the plurality of “intra” and “extra” personal relationships of which we are composed and summons us to a remarkable encounter with them.

Author: Myriam Le Ber Assiani

Translator: Ron Ross

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

Reminder Health Guidelines

In view to protect both our visitors and our staff, we set up health implementing measures.

We ask that you respect the following rules:

- reservations are mandatory for exhibition visits, use this form:

https://form.jotform.com/202475220037243

or by telephone: 514-874-1666;

Unannounced visits may be accepted, depending on the number of visitors in the gallery spaces. We can accommodate a maximum of 8 people at a time.

- masks or other face covering are mandatory throughout the visit;

- hands must be disinfected upon arrival: hydroalcoholic gel is available on site;

- 2-meter distancing must be maintained between each person to facilitate circulation during your visit.

If you have COVID-19-related symptoms, please postpone your visit.
Welcome one and all!



Charlotte Clermont holds a bachelor’s in Studio Arts from Concordia University. She lives and works in Montreal. Her work has been presented in Canada and internationally in the framework of festivals and exhibitions, including the International Festival of Films on Art (Canada), Fracto (Germany), the Festival des cinémas différents et expérimentaux de Paris (France), IFF Rotterdam (Netherlands), Künstlerhaus Bethanian (Germany), CROSSROADS (United States), Arctic Moving Image and Film Festival (Norway), and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (Scotland). She was artist in residence at Studio Kura (Japan), Signal Culture (United States), Fusion Gallery (Italy), Shiro Oni (Japan), and Skaftfell (Iceland).

The artist wishes to dedicate microsleeps to Daniel Oxley and she warmly thanks for their support the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Main Film artist centre, Vidéographe, OPTICA, Alexendre Brault, Charles-André Coderre, Jonathan Lachance, Émilie Payeur, Guillaume Vallée, Erin Weisgerber, and Big Dick Panther.

Myriam Le Ber Assiani is interested in risks and transformation as drivers of existence and resistence. Grounded in interdisciplinarity, her practice is articulated on the fringes of action art, video and sound arts, and installation. She holds BFA in theatre studies from UQAM and her works have been presented in Canada, the United States, and in Europe.




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Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera,
The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 4): Camouflaged Screams, 2020. Installation multimédia : projections vidéo, capteurs de mouvement
branche, plexiglas réfléchissant,
néon ; performance.
Dimensions variables. Avec l’aimable permission des artistes. | Multimedia installation:
video projections,
set of motion sensors, branch, reflective plexiglass, neon light; performance.
Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artists.

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera avec Shauna Janssen
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021
Opuscule and Video discussion

With the aim of developing aspects of the current programming, OPTICA recently launched a new series of video interviews and a new edition format in the form of a digital opuscule, comprising an exhibition text, a selection of images, a biography, a selective bibliography, and a gallery layout. We are pleased to share with you in a digital version the opuscule that documents the exhibition by Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera entitled The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 4): Camouflaged Screams, including the text by scholar and curator Shauna Janssen (Montreal) - to be discovered through this LINK (pdf).

We also invite you to consult the video interview between Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera with Shauna Janssen (April 23, 2021) -
WATCH THE VIDEO BY THIS LINK (youtube).




Santiago Tavera and Laura Acosta (b. 1988, Bogota) are Colombian-Canadian artists based in Montréal. Their collaborative practice forges an intersection between Tavera’s investigation of virtual technologies and interactive environments in relation to the body, with Acosta’s exploration of performance through wearable textiles. Through this, they create site specific immersive experiences and expanded performances in which the audience questions their own position within a space. Their collaborative projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and presented in Canada at MAI-Montréal, arts interculturels, Articule, and SUR Gallery, as well as Internationally at the International Images Festival of Manizales and the International Symposium on Electronic Art-ISEA.

Santiago Tavera constructs immersive and interactive installations that explore virtual narratives of dislocation and perception. In Tavera’s work, multimedia compositions of videos, 3D graphic animations, text, sound and reflective materials evoke experiences of physical, digital and queer processes of identification and representation. Tavera holds a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University.

Laura Acosta creates surreal scenes that integrate improvised movement, textile structures and multimedia elements, as a way to explore themes of identity and displacement. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Fibres and Material studies from Concordia University, an interdisciplinary Bachelor in Fine Art from NSCAD University, and an advanced diploma in Fine Arts from Fanshawe College.

Shauna Janssen is an interdisciplinary curator of site-responsive, collaborative, multimedia and activist urban art projects. Since 2009, in Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal she has been commissioned to undertake artistic and curatorial public art projects for the Centre d’Histoire de Montréal, La Fonderie Darling, and has given talks and collaborated on numerous community-engaged events and cultural exchanges with institutions such as Mutek, Heritage Montréal, Montréal Arts Interculturel, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Articule, the Atwater Library Digital Literacy Group, and the McCord Museum. Internationally Shauna has designed and curated installations for Città Invisibili (Fara Sabina, Italy, 2018), The Performance Arcade (Aotearoa/ New Zealand, 2020), and the XX Chilean Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, Chile (2018), among others. Shauna is an assistant professor at Concordia University, where she has taught in Studio Arts, the Department of Art History, and currently teaches in the Department of Theatre.




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Charlotte Clermont, microsleeps, 2020-2021.
Installation vidéo, 16mm et Super 8 numérisés,
 écrans autoportants, muret, objets divers : argile peinte et façonnée, eau, bocaux, miroir, grenade, tissu synthétique; 4 canaux mono, 4 min.
 Dimensions variables. Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste. | Video Installation, 16mm and Super-8 Film digital transfer, freestanding screens, low wall, various objects: painted and shaped clay, water, jars, mirror, pomegranate,
synthetic fabric; 4 mono channels, 4 min.
Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Charlotte Clermont et Stefano Miraglia
from April 17th 2021 to June 12th 2021
Opuscule and Video discussion

With the aim of developing aspects of the current programming, OPTICA recently launched a new series of video interviews and a new edition format in the form of a digital opuscule, comprising an exhibition text, a selection of images, a biography, a selective bibliography, and a gallery layout. We are pleased to share with you in a digital version the opuscule that documents the exhibition by Charlotte Clermont entitled microsleeps, including the text by author Myriam Le Ber Assiani (Montreal) - to be discovered through this LINK (pdf)

We also invite you to consult the video interview between Charlotte Clermont and Stefano Miraglia (May 25, 2021) -
WATCH THE VIDEO BY THIS LINK (youtube).




Charlotte Clermont holds a bachelor’s in Studio Arts from Concordia University. She lives and works in Montreal. Her work has been presented in Canada and internationally in the framework of festivals and exhibitions, including the International Festival of Films on Art (Canada), Fracto (Germany), the Festival des cinémas différents et expérimentaux de Paris (France), IFF Rotterdam (Netherlands), Künstlerhaus Bethanian (Germany), CROSSROADS (United States), Arctic Moving Image and Film Festival (Norway), and the Edinburgh International Film Festival (Scotland). She was artist in residence at Studio Kura (Japan), Signal Culture (United States), Fusion Gallery (Italy), Shiro Oni (Japan), and Skaftfell (Iceland).

Stefano Miraglia est un artiste et commissaire basé à Paris, France. Son travail a été présenté à l'international dans des musées et galeries tels que Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab, Centrum (Allemagne), Museo Mar (Argentine) et dans de nombreux festivals de cinéma. En tant que curateur, il s'intéresse à la façon dont la cinéphilie fonctionne à l'intersection entre l'art, la pédagogie et la pensée collective. Il travaille sur la redécouverte et la réévaluation de l'œuvre d'Ellis Donda depuis 2019.

Stefano est le fondateur et curateur de Movimcat ainsi que curateur associé dans divers collectifs, et membre actif de C|E|A / Association française des commissaires d’exposition.

Stefano Miraglia is an artist and curator based in Paris, France. His work has been presented internationally in museums and galleries such as Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab, Centrum (Germany), Museo Mar (Argentina) and in many film festivals.

As a curator, he is interested in how cinephilia works at the intersection of art, pedagogy and collective thinking - focusing on Italian cinephilia from the 70s and 80s and how that particular knowledge can be interpreted and passed to contemporary practitioners. He works on the rediscovery and reappraisal of the work of Ellis Donda since 2019. He is the founder and curator of Movimcat as well as associate curator in various collectives, and an active member of the French association of art curators C|E|A.




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Intersections, 2021.

Nouveau partenariat entre le Conseil des arts de Montréal, l'École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l'UQAM et OPTICA
from April 25th 2021 to May 31st 2022
Intersections - Research residency, creation and production_deadline: April 25, 2021 (Call in French only)

Nouveau partenariat entre le Conseil des arts de Montréal, l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques (ÉAVM) et OPTICA, centre d’art contemporain
APPEL DE CANDIDATURES


Date limite de dépôt: 25 avril 2021
Séance d'information virtuelle : 13 avril à 11h

Pour plus de renseignements, une séance d'information virtuelle aura lieu le 13 avril à 11h. Vous êtes invité.e à vous inscrire pour recevoir le lien Zoom d’ici le 11 avril à: intersections@uqam.ca

Le Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), le Centre d’art contemporain OPTICA et l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques (ÉAVM) de l’UQÀM lancent un appel de candidatures pour les artistes issu.e.s de l’immigration (de première ou de seconde génération) qui sont membres des minorités ethniques ou visibles**. Les candidat.e.s éligibles auront terminé leurs études ou seront prochainement diplômé.e.s de la maîtrise à l’ÉAVM.

Ce nouveau partenariat vise à offrir un soutien de recherche, de création et de production à un.e artiste en lui donnant accès à un accompagnement professionnel, complémentaire à sa formation universitaire dans le milieu artistique montréalais.

Ce projet pilote prend la forme d’une résidence en vue de la réalisation d’une œuvre qui entre en dialogue avec des archives (fonds documentaire du centre d’art contemporain OPTICA ou autre, en fonction de la recherche de l’artiste). À la fin de la résidence, OPTICA présentera une exposition de l’artiste sélectionné.e. Le lauréat ou la lauréate tiendra aussi une présentation publique sur sa pratique artistique au centre. Un accompagnement par l’ÉAVM et OPTICA sera fourni dans le cadre du projet d’une durée d’un an.

Conditions d'admissibilité

- être un.e artiste issu.e. de l’immigration (de première ou de seconde génération) membre des minorités ethniques ou visibles**;
- être un.e artiste professionnel.le** en arts visuels; - avoir été diplômé du programme de maîtrise à l’ÉAVM entre 2017 et 2021;
- être citoyen.ne canadien.ne ou résident.e permanent.e du Canada à la date de dépôt de la demande; - être domicilié sur le territoire de l’île de Montréal depuis au moins un an;
- être disponible pour toutes les activités incluses dans le cadre du projet.

Soutien offert

- trois mois de résidence de recherche à l’automne 2021 au centre d’art contemporain OPTICA incluant un espace de travail et un accès aux équipements de bureau, aux archives et à la documentation;
- un studio pour la création et la production, ainsi qu’un accès aux ateliers techniques spécialisés de l'ÉAVM pour une durée d’un an; « sous toutes réserves d’approbation par les instances de l’UQAM – en processus »
- un accompagnement professionnel totalisant 60 heures par OPTICA (30h) et l’ÉAVM (30h);
- une subvention de recherche (max. 1500$);
- un cachet de production (3,000$), d’exposition (2,120$) et de présentation publique (125$);
- une plage d’exposition ou de diffusion du projet final dans la programmation d’OPTICA et une présentation publique au cours de l’année 2023.
Veuillez noter que nous ne prenons pas en charge les frais d’hébergement ou de transport. Le calendrier et les conditions de travail peuvent être modifiés en fonction du contexte pandémique.

Dossier de candidature

- une lettre de motivation décrivant le projet de recherche proposé, les objectifs prévus, l’échéancier pour les trois mois de la résidence et sa pertinence pour la démarche artistique (max. 500 mots);
- une courte biographie (max. 100 mots);
- une démarche artistique (max. 500 mots); - un curriculum vitae (max. 3 pages);
- 10 images maximum au format JPG d'un poids maximal de 1Mo par image et/ou extraits vidéo et audio (5 minutes maximum, par hyperliens) avec une liste descriptive des images et/ou des extraits audiovisuels;
Le dossier de candidature doit être soumis dans un seul document PDF (taille maximale du fichier de 15 Mo) et envoyé au plus tard le 25 avril 2021 à minuit à l’adresse courriel: intersections@uqam.ca

Seuls les documents exigés seront transmis aux membres du comité d'évaluation. Il n'y aura pas de commentaires du jury.

Pour plus de renseignements, une séance d'information virtuelle aura lieu le 13 avril à 11h. Vous êtes invité.e à vous inscrire pour recevoir le lien Zoom d’ici le 11 avril à: intersections@uqam.ca

** Pour plus d’information sur les termes utilisés, consulter le Glossaire du Conseil des arts de Montréal: https://www.artsmontreal.org/media/artistes/aide/financement/transitoire/glossaire.pdf






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Le Camouflage, fiche pédagogique destinée aux groupes scolaires et aux familles, 2021.
Développement du contenu : Sandrine Côté et Marie Drapeau. Graphisme : Tamzyn Berman.|
Educational flashcards intended for school groups and families, 2021.
Content development: Sandrine Côté and Marie Drapeau. Graphic Design: Tamzyn Berman.



Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from June 1st 2021 to June 12th 2021
New Educational Tools at OPTICA to Discover!

Following the Digital Education Toolkit launched this winter around the Sandra Brewster exhibition, OPTICA is offering a brand new educational tool for its young public. The centre is now offering a series of educational flashcards and a short video, which echo the practice of artists Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera and their installation The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 4): Camouflaged Screams, currently on display at OPTICA.

The five thematic flashcards are intended for school groups and families (8 to 13 years old). While the general objective of these cards is for children to discover the work of the artists, they also allow them to explore, alone or in teams, the notions of identity, camouflage, immersion, interactivity and interdisciplinarity in relation to the art installation. The various playful activities and educational strategies that are presented (Sensory Map, Situation Setting, Investigation Tools, etc.) will contribute to the students’ understanding of the issues that inform the exhibition. The flashcards are also accompanied by an interview with the artists presented in the form of a short video with the goal of illustrating the career of professional artists.

For more information on the educational flashcards, please contact Sandrine Côté at mediation[at]optica.ca.




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L’artiste Maryam Eizadifard,
crédit : Experimental Film Society.


Maryam Eizadifard
from September 1st 2021 to April 30th 2023
Winner of the Intersections Residency!

The Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), contemporary art centre OPTICA, and UQAM’s École des arts visuels et médiatiques (ÉAVM) are very pleased to announce that Maryam Eizadifard is the recipient of the Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency, first edition 2021.

Maryam Eizadifard is interested in notions of space and time that are inherent to immigration and uprootedness. She explores the ephemeral nature of places and their impact on memory and the body. These experimentations nourish her developing concept of “city-body.” As part of her residency, Eizadifard intends to pursue her reflection on migratory movement and the status of immigrants, inspired by explorations into the psychology of the body in its relation to space and of the body as an inhabited and geographically perceived space.

Chaired by Julia-Anamaria Salagor, project manager – cultural diversity in the arts at the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the jury this year was composed of Romeo Gongora, professor at the ÉAVM, OPTICA director Marie-Josée Lafortune, and curator Mariza Rosales Argonza.

The Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency rewards emerging artists with a first or second generation immigration background, who are members of an ethnic or visible minority and are recent graduates of the Master’s program at ÉAVM.

For more information on the Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency, please visit: the website.



USEFUL LINKS

Website of Maryam Eizadifard

Study at l'ÉAVM

Conseil des arts de Montréal

OPTICA, centre d'art contemporain

For more information on the Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency, please visit, glossary of the Conseil des arts de Montréal






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Portrait de l'artiste Leila Zelli, 2020. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste. |
Portrait of artist Leila Zelli. Courtesy of the artist. Photo Credit: Leila Zelli.



Leila Zelli
from September 1st 2021 to May 30th 2022
OPTICA Extracurricular

In September, OPTICA will be ready for back-to-school with a brand new project that will take the form of weekly art workshops. Offered as an in-class activity for a duration of six months, this project will allow a group of ten to fifteen students from Saint-Arsène School (Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie) to participate in a guided visual arts experience with Iranian-born artist Leila Zelli, accompanied by Sandrine Côté, our cultural mediator. The students will also meet and exchange with specialists from various fields who will share their passion for their profession through presentations and practical workshops. At the end of the course, the students will create a collective multidisciplinary installation that will be integrated into their school environment. The final work will be presented to the public in May 2022.

This initiative is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des communications du Québec through the Parcours éducatif program.



Born in Tehran (Iran), Leila Zelli lives and works in Montreal. Zelli has completed a master's degree (2020) and a bachelor's degree (2016) in visual and media arts from UQAM. She is interested in the relationships that we have with the idea of “others” and “elsewhere ” and more specifically, within this geopolitical space often referred to by the questionable term of“ Middle East ”. Zelli's work has been the subject of exhibitions, notably at Galerie Bradley Ertaskiran, at the Conseil des arts de Montréal, at the Galerie de l'UQAM and at the Quebec Contemporary Art Fair. Her works are now part of the collection of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the loan collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

https://leilazelli.com/




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Portrait de Claudia Goulet-Blais, 2021. |
Portrait of Claudia Goulet-Blais, 2021. Photo credit: Claudia Goulet-Blais.


Claudia Goulet-Blais
September 1st 2021
Welcome to Claudia Goulet-Blais !

OPTICA is pleased to welcome Claudia Goulet-Blais who will be joining our team as Cultural Mediation and Digital Assistant. Claudia has recently completed a Bachelors in Fine Arts at Concordia University majoring in Photography and Art History - Studio Arts. Her studies have led her to develop a focus on image-based contemporary art as an academic research topic and creative practice that lies within the social relations of class, gender and sexuality through photography and bookmaking. She completed an internship at OPTICA during the course of her studies in 2019-2021 and since then has been collaborating with our team. Welcome Claudia!

https://www.claudiagouletblais.com/




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BUSH Gallery, Hashtag Tmícw, 2014, peinture d'arpentage. Vue d’installation, SecwepemcúÍecw, 2014. Avec l’aimable autorisation des artistes. | Landmarking paint. Installation view, SecwepemcúÍecw, 2014.
Courtesy of the artists.


MOMENTA Biennale de l'image; Commissaire | Curator: Stefanie Hessler, with | en collaboration avec | Camille Georgeson-Usher, Maude Johnson, Himali Singh Soin | BUSH Gallery : Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin, Tania Willard
from September 8th 2021 to October 23rd 2021
MOMENTA x OPTICA DIFFRACTING. OF LIGHT AND OF LAND

Exhibition presented by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and produced in partnership with OPTICA.

MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is proud to present its 17th edition, Sensing Nature, organized by curator Stefanie Hessler in collaboration with Camille Georgeson-Usher, Maude Johnson, and Himali Singh Soin. The biennale joins forces with OPTICA for the exhibition by BUSH Gallery: Diffracting. Of Light and of Land.

Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyang / Montreal - From September 8 to October 23, 2021, at OPTICA, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin, and Tania Willard of BUSH Gallery present an exhibition that examines alternative photographic processes and the political implications of site-specific creation. Some of the works were produced in summer 2021, during a residency in Secwepemcúĺecw. Together, the artists highlight land as a living entity and the many cultural inflections that it engenders.

MOMENTA Creative
SUN PRINTS
Join a dialogue around the resonances among light, land, and photographic processes with the Indigenous collective BUSH Gallery. Then, create a sun print from natural materials to generate a shared and ephemeral archive.

Augmented reality route
MOMENTA's first augmented reality project, the Liquid Crystals interactive route presents 11 augmented reality works near the exhibition spaces. Wander around the city and experience the works, accessible as filters using your mobile device. Visit momentabiennale.com/liquidcrystals to access the project website and the augmented reality works. Featuring: Frances Adair Mckenzie, alaska B, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Anna Binta Diallo, Maryse Goudreau, Ts̱ēmā Igharas, Lisa Jackson, Kama La Mackerel, Malik Mckoy, Alex McLeod, Sabrina Ratté.

An Indigenous community garden in the heart of downtown
Under the title TEIONHENKWEN Supporters of Life, an urban ecosystem is taking shape in the outdoor space north of the Grande Bibliothèque/BAnQ. Created by artist T'uy't'tanat-Cease Wyss in collaboration with Silverbear and Joce TwoCrows Mashkikii Bimosewin Tremblay, the garden features local varieties of native plants. It is a gathering space accessible to all.

About MOMENTA Biennale de l’image

MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is an international contemporary art biennale devoted to the image. Its mission is to generate a sensitive and sensible impact on the world around us by means of images. The event implements unifying and structuring initiatives for art dissemination and education, to encourage reflection on and access to contemporary art. Founded in 1989 as Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, the organization was renamed MOMENTA Biennale de l’image in 2017. At its last edition in 2019, the biennale included 13 exhibitions, 39 artists, and 40 public events, and public attendance totalled more than 210,000 exhibition visits.



PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW



BUSH Gallery: Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill (Métis, born in Comox, Canada; lives in Vancouver, Canada), Peter Morin (Tāłtān, born in Telegraph Creek, Canada; lives in Victoria, Canada), and Tania Willard (Secwépemc, born in Kamloops, Canada; lives in Chase, Canada) form this deployment of BUSH Gallery, a space created by an Indigenous-led collective of artists centred on Indigenous territory, experiences, and rights. BUSH Gallery explores ways in which art—its institutions, disciplines, and histories—can be modulated by centring Indigenous life, knowledge, traditions, and cultures.

Stefanie Hessler is a curator, writer, and editor. Her work focuses on ecologies, technology, and expanded definitions of life and non-life from an intersectional feminist perspective. Hessler is the director of Kunsthall Trondheim in South Sápmi, Norway.

Camille Georgeson-Usher is a scholar, artist, and arts administrator from Galiano Island, British Columbia, which is the land of the Pune’laxutth’ (Penelakut) Nation. She is writing on ontologies of gathering and how protocols from different nations intersect in urban centres.

Maude Johnson is a curator and writer who lives and works in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyang / Montreal. In her explorations of performative and curatorial practices, she probes methodologies, mechanisms, and languages in interdisciplinary works. She is the executive and curatorial assistant for MOMENTA Biennale de l’image.

Himali Singh Soin is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She thinks through ecological loss, and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the healing power of performance and the radicality of love.




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Portrait des artistes Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera. Avec l'aimable permission des artistes. |
Portrait of artists Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera. Courtesy of the artists. Photo credit: Cedric Laurenty


Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from September 15th 2021 to May 1st 2022
OPTICA, Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera, Laureates of the Digital Now Grant from The Canada Art Council for the Arts!

OPTICA is the proud recipient of the Digital Now grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. This grant will enable the creation of a digital interactive 360-degree website, an adaptation of episodes from The Novels of Elsguer series by artists Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera. The project offers an immersive and interactive experience based on the notion of displacement (migrations, diasporas). An independent website will also be created incorporating a documentary component.

The Novels of Elsguer by Canadian-Colombian artist duo Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera is a series of transdisciplinary installations that explore notions of representation and belonging through interactive and immersive digital environments, non-linear narratives, landscapes experimental sound, textile sculptures and performances.



Santiago Tavera and Laura Acosta (b. 1988, Bogota) are Colombian-Canadian artists based in Montréal. Their collaborative practice forges an intersection between Tavera’s investigation of virtual technologies and interactive environments in relation to the body, with Acosta’s exploration of performance through wearable textiles. Through this, they create site specific immersive experiences and expanded performances in which the audience questions their own position within a space. Their collaborative projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and presented in Canada at MAI-Montréal, arts interculturels, Articule, and SUR Gallery, as well as Internationally at the International Images Festival of Manizales and the International Symposium on Electronic Art-ISEA.


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Fiches pédagogiques et matériel didactique, 2021.
Conception : Sandrine Côté & Marie Drapeau. Signature visuelle : Tamzyn Berman. Crédit photo : Sandrine Côté. | Educational cards
and didactic material, 2021. Conceptualization: Sandrine Côté & Marie Drapeau. Visual signature: Tamzyn Berman. Photo credit: Sandrine Côté.



Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
from October 1st 2021 to November 30th 2021
New in-class workshop for elementary students!

This fall, OPTICA is also offering a new in-class workshop in relation to its series of educational cards developed around the art practice of the Canadian-Colombian artist duo Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera and their installation The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 4): Camouflaged Screams. The one-hour workshop will introduce groups of elementary school students to contemporary art and the artists' practice through 5 thematic cards accompanied by video clips which include a short interview with the artists to demystify their practice, and a multitude of didactic materials.

Divided into 5 teams and guided by one of our cultural mediators, the students will explore the themes and notions of identity, camouflage, immersion, interactivity and interdisciplinarity specific to the installation work. The different pedagogical strategies proposed will lead the students to reflect and exchange with each other and to put into action their new acquired knowledge for a better integration of these notions.

For more information on the workshop content, please contact Sandrine Côté: mediation[at]optica.ca.



Santiago Tavera and Laura Acosta (b. 1988, Bogota) are Colombian-Canadian artists based in Montréal. Their collaborative practice forges an intersection between Tavera’s investigation of virtual technologies and interactive environments in relation to the body, with Acosta’s exploration of performance through wearable textiles. Through this, they create site specific immersive experiences and expanded performances in which the audience questions their own position within a space. Their collaborative projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and presented in Canada at MAI-Montréal, arts interculturels, Articule, and SUR Gallery, as well as Internationally at the International Images Festival of Manizales and the International Symposium on Electronic Art-ISEA.

Santiago Tavera constructs immersive and interactive installations that explore virtual narratives of dislocation and perception. In Tavera’s work, multimedia compositions of videos, 3D graphic animations, text, sound and reflective materials evoke experiences of physical, digital and queer processes of identification and representation. Tavera holds a Master of Fine Arts from Concordia University.

Laura Acosta creates surreal scenes that integrate improvised movement, textile structures and multimedia elements, as a way to explore themes of identity and displacement. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Fibres and Material studies from Concordia University, an interdisciplinary Bachelor in Fine Art from NSCAD University, and an advanced diploma in Fine Arts from Fanshawe College.

Shauna Janssen is an interdisciplinary curator of site-responsive, collaborative, multimedia and activist urban art projects. Since 2009, in Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal she has been commissioned to undertake artistic and curatorial public art projects for the Centre d’Histoire de Montréal, La Fonderie Darling, and has given talks and collaborated on numerous community-engaged events and cultural exchanges with institutions such as Mutek, Heritage Montréal, Montréal Arts Interculturel, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Articule, the Atwater Library Digital Literacy Group, and the McCord Museum. Internationally Shauna has designed and curated installations for Città Invisibili (Fara Sabina, Italy, 2018), The Performance Arcade (Aotearoa/ New Zealand, 2020), and the XX Chilean Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism, Chile (2018), among others. Shauna is an assistant professor at Concordia University, where she has taught in Studio Arts, the Department of Art History, and currently teaches in the Department of Theatre.




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Myriam Yates, Classic Playground, Upper West Side, Manhattan, NY, 2018, impression numérique, 35,56 x 53,34 cm. Avec l’aimable permission de l'artiste. | Digital print, 35,56 x 53,34 cm.
Courtesy of the artist.

Myriam Yates
from November 6th 2021 to December 18th 2021
Playgrounds

Myriam Yates is concerned with the relationship between places and their representation, often focused on modern sites or sites in transition, whose peculiar status raises questions about the relationship between the individual, modernity, and architecture. The artist subtly raises social and political issues that influence how we choose to promote or neglect spaces or divert them from their initial purpose. The photographic work in Playgrounds, centred around public gardens and children’s playgrounds, was produced during a stay in New York in fall 2018. Through this series, Yates questions the role played by free space in the city, notions of control, the rise of a certain conformity, and the appropriation of urban space.




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Gabriela Löffel, Performance, 2017-2018, installation vidéo, 2 canaux, haut-parleurs, 25 min. Avec l’aimable permission de l'artiste. | 2-Channel video installation, speakers, 25 min. Courtesy of the artist.

Gabriela Löffel
from November 6th 2021 to December 18th 2021
[Performance]

Gabriela Löffel’s practice is particularly concerned with those liminal areas in which meanings tend to shift. In her research, Löffel examines the systems and structures that govern the representation and interpretation of reality. With [Performance], a two-channel video projection, she analyzes the audio recording of a presentation given by the technical director of a Homeland Security corporation. This work deconstructs the spoken form and content of the speech to bring out the productive and rhetorical procedures of a language that effectively serves to advance economic and political interests. Here it is a question of examining the process of optimization and appropriation in public speech.




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Caroline Cloutier, Trois plis noirs, 2020. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Caroline Cloutier
from January 22nd 2022 to March 19th 2022

Caroline Cloutier is pursuing her research on spatial practices in photography. Integrated into the architecture of the places they have invested, these installations demonstrate extensions of the photographic device that specifically address the modes of interaction between image, space, and perception. Using a formalistic approach, coupled with a spare and minimal construction, Cloutier modulates and opens the space by using the artifice of lighting and mirrors to create virtual passages and trompe-l’oeil illusions. She thus produces a mise en abîme of the mechanics of the exhibition. Her new series attests to reflections based on spatial constructions, combining interlocking spaces, off-camera activation, and plays of perspectives.

Caroline Cloutier is the recipient of the 2020 Yvonne L. Bombardier Graduate Scholarship in Visual Arts from the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation.

J. Armand Bombardier Foundation
Created in 1965 by the wife and three daughters of the inventor, the J. Armand Bombardier Foundation contributes to the advancement of individuals, organizations and communities by supporting initiatives that foster social innovation and capacity building. Since its inception, the Foundation has been chosen by Bombardier as one of the vehicles through which it fulfills its social responsibility.

One foundation, three destinations: in addition to its philanthropic work, the Foundation supports the Museum of Ingenuity J. Armand Bombardier and the Yvonne L. Bombardier Cultural Centre in Valcourt, through which it promotes academic perseverance and access to the arts and culture.

PRESS REVIEW

CHOQUETTE, Emmanuelle (2020). “Caroline Cloutier, Variations," Espace art actuel, Issue No. 126, Fall, p. 96-98.

fondationbombardier





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Olivia Boudreau, L’étang, la nuit, 2020. Vidéo, 14 min 34 s | video, 14 min. 34 sec.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Olivia Boudreau
from January 22nd 2022 to March 19th 2022
Haut voltage

Offering experiences that engage visitors in slowness and duration, Olivia Boudreau’s practice places great importance on the representation of the female body in performance. This temporality establishes a presence that prompts a reconsideration of our relationship to the moving image. With Haut voltage, Boudreau initiates a new creative cycle, focused on the theme of reconciliation, reparations, and restoration. According to the artist, “this is probably the most important gesture we have to make at this time. The idea is expressed as much in the everyday life of our objects as in the need to rethink our relationship to the other and to the world.” Boudreau plans to produce a video installation in the form of a shot-sequence that unfolds over time, along with a performance based on a protocol by which each performer depends on the other to ensure their own well-being and safety.