Optica
+ Programming + Archives Décades + News + Publications + Support Optica + Info

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 2022

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

Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin et Tania Willard
from September 25th 2021 to September 25th 2021

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

BUSH Gallery, zine
from October 12th 2021 to October 23rd 2021

Myriam Yates
from November 1st 2021 to January 30th 2022

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

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

Appel à projets - Programmation 2023-2024


Call for Proposals 
- Programming 2023-2024

from December 1st 2021 to March 15th 2022

Myriam Yates
from December 2nd 2021 to December 2nd 2021

Gabriela Löffel
from December 8th 2021 to December 8th 2021

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

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

Maryam Eizdifard
from February 22nd 2022 to February 22nd 2022

Gabriela Löffel et Michele Robecchi
le February 23rd 2022

Caroline Cloutier
from February 26th 2022 to February 26th 2022

Appel de candidatures. Résidence Intersections de recherche, création et production
Ouverture du concours : 3 mars 2022
Date limite de dépôt : 4 avril 2022

from March 3rd 2022 to April 4th 2022


le March 9th 2022

Myriam Yates, Marie Warsh
le March 10th 2022

Caroline Cloutier, Emmanuelle Choquette
le March 18th 2022

Leila Zelli et Gali Blay
le March 21st 2022

OPTICA
le April 1st 2022

Clara Gutsche
Commissaire / curator : Marie-Josée Lafortune

from April 9th 2022 to June 11th 2022

Olivia Boudreau & Didier Morelli @ 4TH SPACE, 2 PM - 3 PM
le April 22nd 2022

Caroline Cloutier, Emmanuelle Choquette
le May 26th 2022

Clara Gutsche, Zoë Tousignant, Marie-Josée Lafortune @4TH SPACE, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
le June 1st 2022

Clara Gutsche, Zoë Tousignant, Marie-Josée Lafortune @4TH SPACE
le June 1st 2022

Offre emploi / Employment Offer
from August 9th 2022 to September 20th 2022

Top Value Television (TVTV) Commissaire/Curator: Eli Kerr
from September 8th 2022 to October 22nd 2022

Leyla Majeri
from September 13th 2022 to April 30th 2023

Anne St-Louis
from October 4th 2022 to October 4th 2022

Laura Acosa & Santiago Tavera
from October 7th 2022 to November 20th 2022

Eli Kerr et Brandon Poole
from October 15th 2022 to October 15th 2022

Olivia Whetung
from November 12th 2022 to December 17th 2022

Maryam Eizadifard
from November 12th 2022 to December 17th 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.




image

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.


image

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).





image

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.




image

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.




image



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).



image

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.




image

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.




image

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.




image

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.




image

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.




image

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






image

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.




image

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


Maryam Eizadifard
from September 1st 2021 to April 30th 2022
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





Maryam Eizadifard is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts and Architecture at the University of Teheran (2007). Having left Iran in 2011 in order to pursue graduate studies in visual arts, Eizadifard now holds a master’s in visual and media arts from UQAM (2018). She focuses on the ephemeral nature of spaces and their influence on memory and the body.

“The influence of intimate and private environments is key to my understanding women’s condition. What makes me a woman? By analyzing these spaces, I explore the tensions between emptiness and the occupation they convey. When the human being is absent, is this private space truly empty?”

These experimentations fuel the concept of “city-body” that she has developed.

maryamizadifard.com




image

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/




image

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/




image

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

WILKINSON, Jayne. “ Natural Causes,” Artforum, October 20, 2021.

NESBITT, Sarah. “ 'Sensing Nature / Quand la nature ressent' 17th MOMENTA Biennale de l’image Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyang / Montréal,” Flash Art, October 20, 2021.

ALLARD, Alexe. Interview with Esther Bourdages. Café - Ckut radio, 90.3 FM, October, 1, 2021.

MORELLI, Didier. “ MOMENTA 2021 Centres Indigenous and Nonhumanist Notions of Nature,” Frieze magazine, September 30, 2021.



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.




image

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.


image

BUSH gallery, Atelier Impressions solaires, 2021.
Avec l'aimable permission des artistes.
Crédit photo : Jean-Michael Seminaro
|BUSH gallery, Creative Sun Prints Workshop.
Courtesy of the artists. Photo Credit: Jean-Michael Seminaro.

Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin et Tania Willard
from September 25th 2021 to September 25th 2021
Journée de la culture: Sun printing under the sun at OPTICA at 1pm!

OPTICA invites you to immerse yourself into the works of the exhibition Diffraction. Of Light and Territory by the Indigenous artists' collective BUSH Gallery for the duration of an afternoon as part of its Public Education Program. A great opportunity to share thoughts and create!

Over complimentary tea, come and discover the creative process of artists Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin and Tania Willard and the works they created during a residency on the Secwépemc Nation territory in the Neskonlith Reserve in Secwepemcúĺecw, BC. You will have the opportunity to experiment with the sun printing technique used by the artists and design your custom reusable harvesting bag from natural and plant-based materials that you will use to make your print. During the event, we will reflect on the relationship we have with nature, territory and the environment.

The activity is free, open to all and will be adapted in case of rain. With friends and family or solo, join us at the center on Saturday, September 25 at 1pm.

The BUSH Gallery exhibition is presented as part of MOMENTA Biennale de l'image and produced in partnership with OPTICA. This activity is an adaptation of the sun print workshop by artists Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill, Peter Morin and Tania Willard from BUSH Gallery collective in collaboration with MOMENTA Creative and OPTICA, center d'art contemporain. Courtesy of the artists. OPTICA would also like to thank MOMENTA Creative.

RESERVATION: mediation@optica.ca
or 514-874-1666
OPTICA, centre d'art contemporain
Espace 106, 5445 av. De Gaspé
Montréal
H2T 3B2




image

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.




image

BUSH Gallery, Couverture zine | Zine Cover, 2021.

BUSH Gallery, zine
from October 12th 2021 to October 23rd 2021

New publication, Zine distributed for free at OPTICA!
#
BUSH Gallery
\ Manifestos
and other
Emergencies \

In addition to the Bush Gallery manifesto translated into Aboriginal languages, a guidebook outlines emergencies and steps to mitigate damage not only to property but also to protect spirit, sanity, culture and more. The publication includes a gluten free bannock recipe.

Zine produced by BUSH Gallery in collaboration with
MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and OPTICA
Authors: BUSH Gallery
2021, 35 p., 12,5 x 19 cm.
Texts in Secwepemctsín, Kanienkehaka, English, French



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.




image

OPTICA reprend ses Laboratoires contemporains avec les CPE | OPTICA Resumes its Contemporary Labs with Child Care Centres, 2021. Crédits photo : Sandrine Côté et Claudia Goulet-Blais.

Myriam Yates
from November 1st 2021 to January 30th 2022
OPTICA Resumes its Contemporary Labs with Child Care Centres!

OPTICA is pleased to announce the resumption of its Contemporary Labs for child care centres, daycares and preschool groups.

In a friendly environment, the workshop Come Play with me at the Park allows children, ages 4 to 6, to be introduced to contemporary art and to Myriam Yates' art practice. In large groups and guided by a mediator from the centre, the children will share their observations of the artworks in the exhibition Parcs. Playgrounds, which presents photographs of children's parks in New York City. They will then be invited to imagine and create a playground using a multitude of colored shape cut-outs, in order to continue the reflection begun around the works presented.

In order to respect the Public Health guidelines, the educators from OPTICA will animate the activity on the premises of the establishments. This workshop promotes the development of children's language and vocabulary, stimulates their imagination and creativity, and improves their orientation and spatial composition skills.

For more information or to schedule a workshop, contact us at mediation[@]optica.ca.




image

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
Parcs. Playgrounds

Open from Saturday, November 6, 2021 - 12PM to 5 PM

Artist Myriam Yates in attendance

-Opuscule to be discovered through this
LINK (pdf).

Reservation highly recommended through this form:
https://form.jotform.com/202475220037243

Parcs. Playgrounds presents a meditation on public space through documentation of empty playground sites across New York City, captured by Myriam Yates in 2018. The formal composition of these photographs, shot front-on and at a distance, encourages us to observe the modernist overtones in public play sites. When captured without human interaction, these structures mirror minimalist architecture and sculpture with their materials of steel, concrete, fibreglass and plastic. This parallel gives each site the aura of a monument and by extension, the potential to become a ruin; with the possibility for abandonment, erosion, and nature’s repossession.

Across the series, many playgrounds are surrounded by apartment buildings and urban structures. Windows, gates, and air conditioners occupy the space of horizons, edges, and borders. In contrast, the sites that show green space and surrounding nature, convey different social signifiers of class, access, and capital despite the absence of human subjects. This tension between how a space is designated socially and it’s formalist reality, is a thread across Yates broader practice.

Often filming or photographing abandoned sites such as racetracks and airport terminals, Yates is drawn to interstitial space. These zones are in a temporal transition; shifting from the pace of human activities like leisure, travel, and play, to the stillness of material breakdown through weathering and geological time. In an era when climate change has focused our attention to the future and the need for sustainability, Yate’s work presents a concurrent landscape often overlooked yet all around us; the slow material breakdown of modernity. Parcs. Playgrounds presents a compelling body of work that typifies such transitory space; documenting sites that we occupy in our development stages, later abandon, and sometimes return to.

April Thompson

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

Myriam Yates would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts (for the shooting stage and the stay in New-York) and Patric Lacasse.

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:

- Reservation highly recommended, 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 15 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!

PRESS REVIEWS

POIRIER, Josianne. «Myriam Yates, Parcs. Playground», Ciel variable, no. 120, «Figures d'/of affirmation», Summer 2022, p. 95-96.

CHARRON, Marie-Ève. «Galeries et centres d’artistes au diapason de la diversité», Le Devoir, September 11, 2021.



Myriam Yates has exhibited her work across Canada, and internationally in Paris and Berlin. Working in photography and film, Yates has featured her work in various contexts from film festivals, to exhibitions, and magazines. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton Prize in Media Arts from the Canada Council for the arts.

April Thompson is a writer currently based on the unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations, in Vancouver. Her practice is guided by critical investigations of photography and the moving image, spatial politics and new media.



image

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]

Open from Saturday, November 6, 2021 - 12PM to 5 PM

-Opuscule to be discovered through this
LINK (pdf).

Reservation highly recommended through this form:
https://form.jotform.com/202475220037243

Gabriela Löffel’s multi-video installation [Performance] (2017-18) represents at once a moment of tuition and deconstruction. Shot in an empty conference room from multiple angles, the piece follows oral communication coach Amy Carroll and her co-protagonist, Rudi van der Merwe, intently listening to an audio excerpt Löffel recorded at a trade show for the security industry some time before. Having familiarized with the material, Carroll and Van der Merwe go on to rework the words and the posture of the invisible speaker in the comfort zone of their solitary setting, eventually turning what was admittedly an awkward presentation (the original is laced with ‘ers’ and ‘hus’ and inhibited by a rather hesitant tone of voice) into a perfectly fine-tuned and persuasive introduction. Even the invitation to ‘buckle your seat belt and enjoy the ride’, a crowd-teaser that in the anonymous security man’s version falls hopelessly flat, comes across as a masterpiece of gravitas and confidence after having received the Carrol treatment.

At first glance, Löffel’s analytical approach seems to concentrate on the form but what she is really aiming to is the content. Security, a foundational aspect in contemporary society, is rarely heard being discussed in such technical and academic terms. The context in which this address takes place (a trade fair) is a clear indicator that the primary driving force animating the attending parties is not sharing knowledge or investigating new possibilities but securing a big slice of very profitable fastest-growing market areas. (e.g. regions or countries either marred by conflict or in the process of developing a technology that requires to be protected). When viewed from this perspective, Carroll’s training technique, who include exhortations like ‘it’s my job to make you successful’ or ‘powerful people take time and space’ sound particularly chilling. But if the idea of a facet like personal security being governed exclusively by moral regulations is somehow naïve, the fashion in which the discussion takes place raises pivotal questions over the very notion of ‘protection’ – dangerously slipping into Orwellian territory. The fact that Carroll and van der Merwe’s performance take place in front of a set of devices who capture every single nuance and emphasis further stresses the irony of the situation. Löffel’s proclivity for showing how the simplest gesture can beset the most complex structure is here illustrated by the short visual black-out separating the coaching segment from the final rendition of the text. It’s an unexpected and powerful moment, and one that acts as a reminder of how even the most sophisticated and efficient technology, can often lead to vulnerability when complacent.

Michele Robecchi

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

Gabriela Löffel would like to thank Amy Carroll, Cristiano Fernandes, Erika Irmler, Maria Pineiro, Eleonora Polato, Swiss Tech Convention Center EPFL (Lausanne), Masé Studio (Genève), Michele Robecchi, Rudi van der Merwe, The Foundation Pro Helvetia, Consulate General of Switzerland in Montreal, OPTICA’s team.

Prohelvetia


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:

- Reservation highly recommended, 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 15 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!



Gabriela Löffel (Oberburg, 1972) lives in Switzerland. She works with temporal media and is interested in the spheres of politics and finance. The artist continues her research analyzing the systems and structures that govern the representation of realities, which could be called a space of mediation. Fragmenting, translating and shifting from the document, the immediate, to interpretation and staging are strategies that she uses in her creative process. This method allows her to create and propose spaces for questioning, raising reasonable doubts and disrupting linear reading. This results in audiovisual compositions that are then translated into multi-channel video installations displayed in physical spaces.

Michele Robecchi is a writer and independent curator based in London, where he is a commissioning editor for contemporary art at Phaidon Press.



image



Appel à projets - Programmation 2023-2024


Call for Proposals 
- Programming 2023-2024

from December 1st 2021 to March 15th 2022


Open call on 
December 1st, 2021 

- until March 15, 2022 before Midnight

For more informations, read this page.

Online FORM

Every year, OPTICA presents a varied program of exhibitions, symposia, and artists’ talks, while investing in curated exhibitions on themes developed at the centre. These activities all propose a critical reflection on current issues in art, sustained and accompanied by the production of relevant publications.

The centre comprises two exhibition spaces and provides professional technical support in the gallery. Artists and curators are invited to submit projects for the gallery’s regular program. Project proposals are reviewed by the programming committee, which makes its recommendations for production.




image

Marie Warsh par/by James Warsh; Myriam Yates par/by l'artiste

Myriam Yates
from December 2nd 2021 to December 2nd 2021
Public Discussion on Zoom: Myriam Yates (Montreal) with Marie Warsh (New York, United States)

With the aim of developing aspects of the current programming, OPTICA launched a new series of video interviews. We invite you to two discussions which will take place live on the Zoom platform.

Please note that the discussion will be lead in English and the Q&A session will be bilingual.

Please reserve your presence at communications[@]optica.ca
Public Discussion:
Myriam Yates (Montreal) with Marie Warsh (Historian for the Central Park Conservancy, New York, United States)

Thursday, December 2nd, 2021 at 7 pm (EST)

Live on Zoom

« Zoom Link »

Meeting ID: 845 7744 0678

Secret Code: 122736



Myriam Yates has exhibited her work across Canada, and internationally in New York, Paris and Berlin. Working in photography and film, Yates has featured her work in various contexts from film festivals, to exhibitions, and magazines. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Victor-Martyn-Lynch- Staunton Prize in Media Arts from the Canada Council for the arts.

Marie Warsh is a landscape historian and writer who has worked for the Central Park Conservancy since 2005. She is the author of numerous articles about the history of parks and playgrounds as well as the book Central Park’s Adventure-Style Playgrounds: Renewal of a Midcentury Legacy, Bâton-Rouge, LSU [Louisiana State University Press], 2019.

In Central Park's Adventure-Style Playgrounds, Marie Warsh tells the engrossing story of playscapes built in the famous New York City park in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the midcentury experimental “playground revolution.” Warsh explores their connections to the art, recreational design, urbanism, grassroots movements, and child-development theories of the period. She brings the narrative up to the present, detailing the preservation and renewal of the playgrounds decades later by the Central Park Conservancy.




image

Michele Robecchi par/by Katherine Carter; Gabriela Löffel par/by Erika Irmler

Gabriela Löffel
from December 8th 2021 to December 8th 2021
Public Discussion on Zoom: Gabriela Löffel (Geneva, Switzerland) with Michele Robecchi (London, England)

With the aim of developing aspects of the current programming, OPTICA launched a new series of video interviews. We invite you to two discussions which will take place live on the Zoom platform.

Please note that the discussion will be lead in English and the Q&A session will be bilingual.

Please reserve your presence at communications[@]optica.ca

Public Discussion:
Gabriela Löffel (Geneva, Switherland) with Michele Robecchi (London, England)

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 at 12 pm (EST)

Live on Zoom

« Zoom Link »

Meeting ID: 826 2961 3747

Secret Code: 708828



Gabriela Löffel (Oberburg, 1972) lives in Switzerland. She works with temporal media and is interested in the spheres of politics and finance. The artist continues her research analyzing the systems and structures that govern the representation of realities, which could be called a space of mediation. Fragmenting, translating and shifting from the document, the immediate, to interpretation and staging are strategies that she uses in her creative process. This method allows her to create and propose spaces for questioning, raising reasonable doubts and disrupting linear reading. This results in audiovisual compositions that are then translated into multi-channel video installations displayed in physical spaces.

Michele Robecchi is a writer and independent curator based in London, where he is a commissioning editor for contemporary art at Phaidon Press.




image

Caroline Cloutier, Downstairs (by Day) / En bas (le jour), 2022. Impression numérique, 266 x 178 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Downstairs (by Day) / En bas (le jour), 2022, digital print, 266 x 178 cm.
Courtesy of the artist.

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

Open from Saturday, January 22, 2022 - 12PM to 5 PM
Artist Caroline Cloutier in attendance
Reservations are mandatory for your exhibition visit, please use this form:
https://form.jotform.com/202475220037243

The opuscule that documents the exhibition-to discover throught this LINK (pdf).

Shadow Work is an exhibition by visual artist Caroline Cloutier, that continues the interrogations conducted in her recent work, which has been presented both in gallery and in situ. Based on perceptual experiments, generally photographic, her works propose interlocking and enfolded spaces that develop into quasi abstract architectural structures. As opposed to artists who reflect on the particularities of a place through its partial reconstruction in the exhibition space, Cloutier works with spaces as they present themselves, as a material; not to reveal a particular essence, but rather to document the specific experience of their ambivalences, their liminal dimensions.

Premiering at OPTICA, Shadow Work comprises a pair of photographic prints and a wall installation, related to each other through an intervention that divides the gallery space into clear-cut areas of shadow and light. The two photographs reveal an exemplary fragment, smooth and angular, of a certain legacy in modern architecture; the photographed space—reconstituted, despite the telescoped and partial view afforded us—thus seems to belong simultaneously to the dominions of the private and the public, of the domestic and the civil. In these images, Cloutier relates the effect of both the artificial and natural light entering the space, depending on the time of day, light that has a profound impact on one’s reading of the work by creating visual interstices in its construction.

This fascination with light is also evinced in a sculpture composed of polished triangular plaques placed concentrically on the wall. While sculptural practice is a recent arrival in the artist’s work, it partakes of an intention similar to that of the photography: to work directly on light’s ability to transform and interfere in our perception. Just as important in the present body of work is the revelation of human labour, as her detailed images show up the asperities of the walls and floors, surfaces that are usually lustrous and polished. Thus, while Cloutier’s works aline with the geometric rigour of abstraction and minimalism, or with modernist photography and the sites she reproduces, they are also informed by an interest in the traces, and ultimately the experience, of these felt spaces.

Daniel Fiset

Translator: Ron Ross



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.

Caroline Cloutier would like to thanks the Fondation J. Armand Bombardier, the Conseil des arts de Longueuil and the Centre Sagamie.

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:

- Reservation, please 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!

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

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

fondationbombardier




Caroline Cloutier is based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her works have been presented in Montreal, Toronto, Linz, Rome and New York. She is represented by the Galerie Nicolas Robert and the production of her work have repeatedly been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. She is an MFA candidate in Studio Arts, Photography at Concordia University.

Daniel Fiset is a cultural worker based in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. He currently holds the position of Adjunct Curator of Engagement at the PHI Foundation. His recent research focuses on the intersections of artistic, critical and pedagogical practices in Quebec.




image

Olivia Boudreau, J'ai peur, 2022. Installation vidéo à deux projections, HD, 28 min. 28 s, couleur, stéréo. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste. | Two-channel video installation, HD, 28 min. 28 sec., color, stereo. Courtesy of the artist.

Olivia Boudreau
from January 22nd 2022 to March 19th 2022
J'ai peur

Open from Saturday, January 22, 2022 - 12PM to 5 PM Artist Olivia Boudreau in attendance
Reservations are mandatory for your exhibition visit, please use this form:
https://form.jotform.com/202475220037243

The opuscule that documents the exhibition-to discover throught this LINK (pdf).

“Amaxophobia—Fear of riding in a car.”
—The Phobia List

Don’t be afraid, just contemplate: the soothing hum of a classic Lincoln cruising along a winding country road late at night; the rhythmic comfort of two women’s voices whispering back and forth to each other in the backseat; the calming cinematic views of a darkened highway gradually unfolding over the course of half an hour. Olivia Boudreau’s most recent video projection J’ai peur (2022) has at its conceptual core a two-person script rooted in countless phobias, but its overall affect is one of warmth. Tucked in, in this familiar and timeless scene, a certain nostalgia sets in for the quiet rocking sensations of nocturnal automotive adventures.

The verbal score for the performance, taken from an open-sourced website that alphabetically compiles a list of phobias, speaks of fear in the first person as the two actresses alternatively confide in each other onscreen: “J’ai peur des objets qui sont à ma droite…J’ai peur du diable...J’ai peur d’aller à l’école.” Filmed from the waist up in cozy off-white fur and wool tops, they exchange words with an unsettling mix of intimacy and deadpan. Delivering each line without hesitation or anxiety, and barely acknowledging the other’s murmured confession, the cadence of the responses becomes as important as their content. Fear, or its close relative phobia, alternates unpredictably between the all-encompassing or minimal, the abstract or precise, the relatable or ridiculous, the funny or sad. A dread or unease at the mention of specific phobias creeps up every so often, striking an emotional chord in the spectator who recognizes one of their own fears.

Boudreau places this roomy backseat scene on a projection at the rear of OPTICA’s gallery, behind the entrance of the spectators. As a result, the immersive point of view of the vintage car effortlessly caressing the smooth nighttime pavement is our first sight. This big boat of a machine, this canister of steel, evokes a protective feeling against the great unknown of what lies outside. Within of the vehicle, watching the yellow median strip dance, the underlying fears drone away in the background and we are transported.

Didier Morelli

Actresses: Rosa-Anne Déry, Sarah Laurendeau
Director of photography: Julien Fontaine
Sound Designer: Frédéric Cloutier
Makeup and hair artist: Mary Khalife

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:

- Reservation, please 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!

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

PRESS REWIEW

Olivia Boudreau is interested in our ability to read and experience the real. She strives to capture unconscious and cultural influences on the meaning we give to images and events. The experiences offered in her films, video installations, and performances engage spectators’ perceptual capacities and invite them to go beyond the obvious. Through highly composed images, of bodies waiting, of actions slowly unfolding, Boudreau’s work brings to light subtle changes that can provoke varied interpretations. Her works have been widely shown in Canada, notably at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Rooms, in St John’s, the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery, as well as abroad, at the Fresnoy, in France, and at Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain.

Boudreau’s short films have been screened at many major festivals: the Toronto International Film Festival, the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (Germany), SIFF (Seattle, United States), and the Stockholm Film Festival. Also, in 2012, 2014, and 2016, Boudreau was nominated for the prestigious Sobey Art Award for contemporary art in Canada.



Didier Morelli is a performance artist and art historian, critic, and curator with a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, Chicago. Associate Editor at Espace art actuel, his writing has been published in Art Journal, Canadian Theatre Review, C Magazine, Border Crossings, Esse Arts + Opinions, Performa Magazine, Spirale and TDR : The Drama Review, among other publications.



image

L’artiste Maryam Eizadifard,
Crédit photo | Photo credit: Manoushka Larouche.


Maryam Eizdifard
from February 22nd 2022 to February 22nd 2022
In Conversation with Maryam Eizadifard, laureat of the Intersections Residency

In conversation with Maryam Eizdifard, recipient of the Intersections Residency: Tuesday, February 22, 2022, 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm, Live on Facebook. Find the event « here! »

Artist Maryam Eizadifard is interested in notions of space and time that are integral to immigration and displacement. In this conversation, she will discuss investigations she has undertaken during her research residency at OPTICA and will also talk about her current studio production at the UQAM’s École des arts visuels et médiatiques.

The discussion will be hosted by Romeo Gongora, professor at the École des arts visuels et médiatiques, and Marie-Josée Lafortune, director of OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art. A question period will follow the presentation.

Invite your friends!

The Intersections Artist Residency Program:
The Intersections residency for research, creation and dissemination rewards emerging artists of either a first or second generation immigration background who are members of an ethnic or visible minority and recent post graduates from the École des arts visuels et médiatiques at UQAM. This program aims to provide culturally-diverse artists with professional support to complement their university training in the Montreal arts community.

The Intersections Residency is a joint initiative by the Conseil des arts de Montréal, OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art, and the École des arts visuels et médiatiques at UQAM.



Maryam Eizadifard is a graduate of the Faculty of Arts and Architecture at the University of Teheran (2007). Having left Iran in 2011 in order to pursue graduate studies in visual arts, Eizadifard now holds a master’s in visual and media arts from UQAM (2018). She focuses on the ephemeral nature of spaces and their influence on memory and the body.

“The influence of the intimate and private environment or space is key to my understanding of the feminine condition. What makes me a woman? By analyzing these spaces, I explore the tensions between emptiness and occupation that they convey. When the human being is absent, is that private space truly empty?” These experimentations fuel the concept of “city-body” that she has developed.

These experimentations fuel the concept of “city-body” that she has developed.
The Internet Website of the artist: maryamizadifard.com




image



Gabriela Löffel et Michele Robecchi
February 23rd 2022
Video Interview / Public Discussion

OPTICA launched a new video interview series in 2021 that features artists, curators, writers, educators, and university scholars.

We invite you to view the video interview that took place online between Gabriela Löffel and Michele Robecchi on December 8, 2021 as part of Gabriela Löffel's solo exhibition, [Performance] from November 6 to December 18, 2021.


VIEWED THE VIDEO THROUGH THIS LINK (youtube).




Gabriela Löffel (Oberburg, 1972) lives in Switzerland. She works with temporal media and is interested in the spheres of politics and finance. The artist continues her research analyzing the systems and structures that govern the representation of realities, which could be called a space of mediation. Fragmenting, translating and shifting from the document, the immediate, to interpretation and staging are strategies that she uses in her creative process. This method allows her to create and propose spaces for questioning, raising reasonable doubts and disrupting linear reading. This results in audiovisual compositions that are then translated into multi-channel video installations displayed in physical spaces.

Michele Robecchi is a writer and independent curator based in London, where he is a commissioning editor for contemporary art at Phaidon Press.




image

Portrait de|of Caroline Cloutier. Caroline Cloutier, Bleue (séries, sélection), 2020. Impression numérique, 91,44 x 57,15 cm. Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste.|Caroline Cloutier, Bleue (series, selection), 2020.
Digital print, 91,44 x 57,15 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Caroline Cloutier
from February 26th 2022 to February 26th 2022

Virtual, Saturday, February 26, from 7PM to 8:15PM, OPTICA invites the general public to a night of virtual artistic discovery and experimentation focused on the practice of artist Caroline Cloutier whose exhibition Le travail de l’ombre is presented from January 22 to March 19 at OPTICA.

Caroline Cloutier is interested in the photographic image as a device for spatial construction and in the different modes of interaction between image, space and perception. Through her photographic installations that challenge perception, she seeks to deconstruct space in a perspective of mise en abyme leading to a reflection on the construction of the device and its photographic process. With the help of various lighting and mirrors, she creates interlocking spaces and volumes that complicate our understanding of architectural space. Printed in large format, these images, sometimes at the scale of the objects, sometimes at a larger scale, are of a great pictorial quality.

During this virtual event, participants will meet the artist and discover the creative process of projects she has created for the Espace Go theatre: the public work La lumière des appareils and the scenographic work J'ai cru vous voir. In a creative workshop held after the artist's presentation, the night owls will be introduced to the technique of kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, a technique frequently used by Cloutier to create the models of her works. Accompanied by the artist and OPTICA's Public Education Program team, participants will create paper structures of varying complexity that they will photograph with their phones to create an immersive architectural space illusion.

There is no charge for the public presentation and workshop participation.

*Reservation required by email at mediation@optica.ca

Following your reservation, a Zoom link will be emailed to you before the virtual activity begins.

This activity is part of Nuit blanche à Montréal.
nuitblanche22”/></a></div> 

<br><br><br>


<div align=“montrealenlumiere22”/


Caroline Cloutier is based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her works have been presented in Montreal, Toronto, Linz, Rome and New York. She is represented by the Galerie Nicolas Robert and the production of her work have repeatedly been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. She is an MFA candidate in Studio Arts, Photography at Concordia University. The artist's website: carolinecloutier.net


image

Portrait de Maryam Eizadifard
Photo : Manoushka Larouche


Appel de candidatures. Résidence Intersections de recherche, création et production
Ouverture du concours : 3 mars 2022
Date limite de dépôt : 4 avril 2022

from March 3rd 2022 to April 4th 2022
Intersections - Research residency, creation and production 2022-2023
Deadline : April 4 2022 (Call in French only)

Le Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), le Centre d’art contemporain OPTICA et l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques (EAVM) de l’UQAM 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 sont diplômé.e.s de la maîtrise à l’EAVM. Ce 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 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’EAVM 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;
- être diplômé du programme de maîtrise à l’EAVM;
- 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 2022 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'EAVM pour une durée d’un an;
- un accompagnement professionnel totalisant 60 heures par OPTICA (30h) et l’EAVM (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. 400 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 04 avril 2022 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, vous êtes invité.e à contacter : intersections@uqam.ca

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






image

Logo volet jeunesse du programme éducatif public chez OPTICA réalisé par Tamzyn Berman.| Logo for the youth component of the public education program at OPTICA created by Tamzyn Berman.


March 9th 2022
OPTICA Introduces Its New Youth Program Logo!

OPTICA's educational youth program keeps growing and evolving and we thought it was time for it to have it's own logo.

Since 2014, OPTICA's Public Education Program has offered a series of tours, educational activities, and critical events that aim to bring contemporary art to everyone in a simple and accessible way. In particular, the program has distinguished itself through its numerous initiatives in schools, which has allowed it to develop an expertise in art mediation with young audiences. To highlight these initiatives, OPTICA is proud to unveil the new visual identity of the youth component of its public education program. It is an evolving logo created by the talented graphic designer Tamzyn Berman (Atelier Pastille Rose). You will discover its colorful and textured variations as we move forward with our upcoming projects and artistic initiatives. We look forward to presenting them to you! To stay updated follow us on Instagram @optica_jeunesse.




image



Myriam Yates, Marie Warsh
March 10th 2022
In Conversation Myriam Yates with Marie Warsh

OPTICA launched a new video interview series in 2021 that features artists, curators, writers, educators, and university scholars.

We invite you to view the video interview that took place online between Myriam Yates and Marie Warsh on December 2, 2021 as part of Myriam Yates's solo exhibition, Parcs. Playgrounds from November 6 to December 18, 2021.


VIEWED THE VIDEO THROUGH THIS LINK (youtube).




Myriam Yates has exhibited her work across Canada, and internationally in New York, Paris and Berlin. Working in photography and film, Yates has featured her work in various contexts from film festivals, to exhibitions, and magazines. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Victor-Martyn-Lynch- Staunton Prize in Media Arts from the Canada Council for the arts.

Marie Warsh is a landscape historian and writer who has worked for the Central Park Conservancy since 2005. She is the author of numerous articles about the history of parks and playgrounds as well as the book Central Park’s Adventure-Style Playgrounds: Renewal of a Midcentury Legacy, Bâton-Rouge, LSU [Louisiana State University Press], 2019.

In Central Park's Adventure-Style Playgrounds, Marie Warsh tells the engrossing story of playscapes built in the famous New York City park in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the midcentury experimental “playground revolution.” Warsh explores their connections to the art, recreational design, urbanism, grassroots movements, and child-development theories of the period. She brings the narrative up to the present, detailing the preservation and renewal of the playgrounds decades later by the Central Park Conservancy.




image

Caroline Cloutier, Emmanuelle Choquette

Caroline Cloutier, Emmanuelle Choquette
March 18th 2022
In Conversation Caroline Cloutier with Emmanuelle Choquette

From 12:00PM to 1:00PM, live on Zoom
*Reservation required through this link! With the aim of developing aspects of the current programming, OPTICA launched a new series of video interviews.

On March 18, OPTICA invites you to a live public discussion which will take place on the Zoom platform. This series of talks on contemporary art initiated by OPTICA features artists, curators, writers, educators and university scholars.

Hosted by author, researcher and curator Emmanuelle Choquette, the discussion will focused on the practice of artist Caroline Cloutier whose exhibition Shadow Work is presented until March 19 at OPTICA. A Questions-and-Answers session will follow the discussion.

Caroline Cloutier is interested in the photographic image as a device for spatial construction and in the different modes of interaction between image, space and perception. Through her photographic installations that challenge perception, she seeks to deconstruct space in a perspective of mise en abyme leading to a reflection on the construction of the device and its photographic process. With the help of various lighting and mirrors, she creates interlocking spaces and volumes that complicate our understanding of architectural space. Printed in large format, these images, sometimes at the scale of the objects, sometimes at a larger scale, are of a great pictorial quality.

Welcome all!



Caroline Cloutier is based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her works have been presented in Montreal, Toronto, Linz, Rome and New York. She is represented by the Galerie Nicolas Robert and the production of her work have repeatedly been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. She is an MFA candidate in Studio Arts, Photography at Concordia University.

Emmanuelle Choquette is an author, researcher and independent curator. She holds a master's degree in art history from UQAM. Her research focuses on performative and installation practices that take a critical look at exhibition formats. Her texts are published in the journals Espace art actuel, Vie des arts, le Sabord, Ciel Variable and esse art + opinions. In 2019, she co-directed the publication “Une bibliographie commentée en temps réel : l'art de la performance au Québec et au Canada”. Her collaborative curatorial projects have been presented at Artexte and the Maison des arts Desjardins in Drummondville. She has participated in research residencies at Est-Nord-Est (St-Jean-Port-Joli) and at Laboratorio Arte Alameda (Mexico City) in partnership with OBORO. In 2017 she is a recipient of the Jean-Claude Rochefort grant for art criticism and art curation. From 2013 to 2021, she held the position of Executive Director at Arprim, a center dedicated to printed art and served on the board of directors of the Regroupement des centres d'artistes autogérés du Québec. She received the ARDI Award for innovation in cultural philanthropy in 2020.




image

Portrait de Gali Blay. Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste.| Documentation du projet Le langage de l’amitié, 2022.
Crédit photos : Claudia Goulet-Blais et Sandrine Côté.
Portrait of Gali Blay.Courtesy of the artist.| Documentation of the project The Language of Friendship
,2022. Photo credit: Claudia Goulet-Blais and Sandrine Côté.

Leila Zelli et Gali Blay
March 21st 2022
We welcomed artist Gali Blay at our after-school project The Language of Friendship at Saint-Arsène School!

For the past 5 months, OPTICA has been conducting an artistic project with artist Leila Zelli at Saint-Arsène Elementary School (Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie). In weekly workshops, a group of students explore the theme of friendship and the richness of interpersonal relationships by experimenting with different artistic disciplines with guest artists. This week's workshop focused on the techniques of film animation.

Furthermore, Leila Zelli is currently directing a short film in collaboration with the artist Gali Blay (Berlin). About Dam and Hofit is the story of a forgotten friendship between the tip of Iran's Mount Damavand (Dam) and an Israeli Air Force plane (Hofit). Gali Blay came to Montreal to finalize this animation project and we had the opportunity to welcome her at our after-school project. She met with the students and presented the process of creating her character Hofit, she presented her inspirations, sketches, models and her work in the studio. The students also had the chance to see an excerpt from the film. Gali Blay then accompanied the students in the realization of short animation sequences using a green screen.



Born in New York (1986), Gali Blay grew up in Israel and is currently based in Berlin, Germany. As an animation director, she works in the intersection of documentary and fiction, that in-between place between the reality created by the images and the scenarios she creates.

She holds a B.F.A from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and an M.F.A. (Honors) in Social Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Her work has been exhibited in various venues and she has presented her films in several festivals. These include Wall Street Gallery, Eindhoven, NL (2018), Tijdelijk Museum Bijlmerbajes, Amsterdam, NL (2017), Bogoshorts Film Festival, Bogota, CO (2017) and Salone Del Mobile, Milan, IT (2017).




image

Logo soulignant les 50 ans d'OPTICA réalisé par la graphiste Tamzyn Berman. | Logo celebrating 50 years of OPTICA created by graphic designer Tamzyn Berman.

OPTICA
April 1st 2022
OPTICA: 50 YEARS of HISTORY

Founded in 1972, OPTICA has sought to promote Canadian contemporary art and to raise awareness among diverse audiences about the issues underlying the discourses and practices in the visual arts through a varied program of exhibitions and critical and educational activities. The centre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

On this occasion, we want to highlight the legacy of artist-run centres and explore the role they can play in the present, through a cycle of curatorial practices as well as solo and monographic exhibitions. It is not in a retrospective perspective that we approach this history, but rather by projecting it into the future. We want to consider how this legacy is perceived by a younger generation and to present new initiatives from various backgrounds.

This cycle will propose an approach to history through which a variety of views, initiatives, and narratives shed light on the concepts of reconciliation and diversity.

In this cycle, we wish to share our expertise and promote alternative models of learning with contemporary works and artists. We intend to take an active role in visual arts education, using the artist-run centre environment and the contemporary art context as elements to help young people express and articulate their experience and their appreciation of art in their own words.

Issues such as migration, hospitality, the relationship to the other and to oneself, etc. will be central to the educational programming.

OPTICA wishes to participate in the recognition and legitimization of curatorial and artistic practices that deal more directly with issues of cultural mediation and art education.

Marie-Josée Lafortune
Director


image

1.Clara Gutsche, Alice, Oliver, Bainbridge Island, 2014. (″Brother for Sale / Sister for Sale : $1.00 negotiable″), série | series «Siblings and Singles», 2008-2022. Épreuve couleur chromogénique | Chromogenic colour print, 101,6 x 127 cm, agrandissements | enlargements. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.©Clara Gutsche / SOCAN (2022)
2.Clara Gutsche, Sarah and Noémi, série | series «Jeanne-Mance Park», 1982-1984. Épreuve à la gélatine argentique, virage au sélénium et à l’or sur papier photographique traditionnel | Gelatin silver print, selenium and gold toning on traditional photographic paper, 40 x 50,4 cm. Collection Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.©Clara Gutsche / SOCAN (2022)


Clara Gutsche
Commissaire / curator : Marie-Josée Lafortune

from April 9th 2022 to June 11th 2022
Children. Portraits d’enfants
From the Series Milton-Park (1970-1973), The Cencic Sisters (1974-1976), Sarah (1982-1989), Jeanne-Mance Park (1982-1984), Siblings and Singles (2008 - 2022)



Guided tour: Saturday, June 11, at 3 p.m. with Clara Gutsche and Marie-Josée Lafortune.

The opuscule that documents the exhibition-to discover throught this LINK (pdf).

Photographer Clara Gutsche observes her contemporaries’ social reality from an intimate and engaged point of view. The important legacies of civil rights and women’s rights have had a decisive influence on how she captures the real. Drawing her inspiration from the ordinariness of domestic situations—an approach that matches her feminist convictions—she has sought to convey this position in a constantly evolving cultural and social context.

This solo exhibition underlines Gutsche’s significant contribution within the documentary photography tradition. The body of work presented brings together portraits made from the 1970s to the present.

Milton-Park series (1970–73), undertaken with her spouse, David Miller, is certainly Gutsche’s best known. Here, the photographic act not only witnesses but also takes a side in a cause that is described from within. Her images, like Miller’s, transcribe and record daily life within the politically engaged community where the couple lived. The Women’s Centre, 3694 Ste-Famille (1971–72) features portraits of women in a feminist living environment, which we discover as we linger, among other places, at community and activist events. Gutsche’s familiarity with and closeness to the subject arise from her experience and understanding of the social currents at play, as she had participated in feminist consciousness-raising groups in the United States.

Following Milton-Park, Gutsche became interested in portraying a single subject over a longer period of time. The series Les sœurs Cencic (1974–76) and Sarah (1982–89) are characteristic of this process. Gutsche began a reflection on how photography as a medium could be used to describe the experiences of girls and women.

The unaffected individual and group portraits of the six Cencic sisters follow the girls through their daily life and activities for three consecutive years, as they “become women.” Gutsche was exploring the conventions of the portrait (frontality, poses)—an exploration that she continued when her daughter, Sarah, was born and she undertook to document the mother-daughter relationship in domestic interiors and also outdoors, bathed in natural light.

These series stand out for their direct, unadorned style and for the theme of childhood, youth, and self-representation as subject. And they share other similarities. We note the architectural elements (threshold, doorway, staircase) that frame the subjects and serve as accessories or backdrops for the settings. There are also abundant references to the intimate formats of nineteenth-century portraits (Cameron) and to photographic modernity (Evans, Strand).

In contrast, Jeanne-Mance Park (1982–84) offers a minimalist, more graphic look that emphasizes lived space, a human geography (A. Frémont). Gutsche brings out this connection through the social interrelations that compose and inhabit the landscape in which she and her daughter participate. Sarah’s presence—and Gutsche’s, which we glimpse as her shadow with a large camera—melts into the park’s playgrounds. The landscape becomes the key motif for this act of documenting, which records reality as it is presented, without hierarchy, bringing all the components almost into a single plane.

Presented for the first time, the large-format full-length portraits from the series Siblings and Singles (2008–22) were made during an artist residency in Switzerland and among Gutsche’s family and friends in Canada and the United States. Gutsche continues her research on gender and identity, bringing these issues into the present. She observes the transformations of time, a theme close to her heart, and dwells upon relations among siblings and rites of passage, with photographs of young people on the brink of adolescence and at different stages of their lives. The experience of a timespan is a constant in her practice and offers a contemporary vision of the portrait as genre.

Curator: Marie-Josée Lafortune

Translator: Käthe Roth

A publication accompanying this exhibition will be published in 2023.

Group reservation recommended through
this form.

Acknowledgements
The thirty-two silver prints from the Milton-ParkThe Cencic Sisters(1974-1976),Sarah(1982-1989), and Jeanne-Mance Park (1982-1984) series come from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts collection. Our warmest thanks to the conservation team and to its director Stéphane Aquin for the loan.

Clara Gutsche would like to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for the Studio-apartment residency exchange program of the Fondation Christoph Merian in Basel, Switzerland (2008), the Professional Development Fund at the CUPFA (Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association), Pedro Jose Barbáchano, and David Miller.

PRESS RELEASE_FR_et_ENG_(pdf)

PRESS REVIEW

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas. “ 'Portraits d’enfants. Children', Clara Gutsche et la photo-sensibilité,” Le Devoir, May 14, 2022.



Born in Saint-Louis, Missouri, Clara Gutsche is a professor at Concordia University’s Studio Arts Department, where she teaches photography. Her works are part of major private and public collections in Canada and abroad. She has taken part in many exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe, mainly in Belgium, France, Italy, and Portugal.

Marie-Josée Lafortune is the Director of OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art. She has published in the journals esse arts + opinions, Parachute, Spirale, and co-edited Penser l’indiscipline and Archi-féministes !, published by OPTICA.




image

Olivia Boudreau & Didier Morelli @4TH SPACE
Design : Claudia Goulet-Blais

Olivia Boudreau & Didier Morelli @ 4TH SPACE, 2 PM - 3 PM
April 22nd 2022
Public Discussion: Olivia Boudreau and Didier Morelli

OPTICA, centre d’art contemporain presents a public discussion between artist Olivia Boudreau on April 22 at 2 p.m., at 4TH SPACE located at 1400 De Maisonneuve Blvd West, Room LB 103, Montreal, Qc H3G 1M8

who presented the video installation J’ai peur at the gallery last January until mid-March 2022. Performance, film and installation are integral to Boudreau’s practice. This specific work addresses the topics of phobias, intimacy, movement, psychology and much more. Didier Morelli, author of the exhibition’s text, will also contribute to this discussion by sharing his perspective as a performance artist and art historian.

OPTICA, centre d’art contemporain, presents this public discussion as part of a series of talks on contemporary art featuring artists, curators, writers, educators and academics.

How can you participate? Attend the discussion in person (note, there is a maximum of 25 audience members permitted in the space) or online by registering for the Zoom webinar or watching on 4th Space's YouTube channel.

Register here:

Have questions? Send them to info.4@concordia.ca Since 1972, OPTICA has sought to promote Canadian contemporary art and to raise awareness among diverse audiences about the issues underlying the discourses and practices in visual arts through a varied program of exhibitions and critical and educational activities.



Olivia Boudreau is interested in our ability to read and experience the real. She strives to capture unconscious and cultural influences on the meaning we give to images and events. The experiences offered in her films, video installations, and performances engage spectators’ perceptual capacities and invite them to go beyond the obvious. Through highly composed images, of bodies waiting, of actions slowly unfolding, Boudreau’s work brings to light subtle changes that can provoke varied interpretations. Her works have been widely shown in Canada, notably at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, The Rooms, in St John’s, the Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery, as well as abroad, at the Fresnoy, in France, and at Casino Luxembourg - Forum d'art contemporain.

Boudreau’s short films have been screened at many major festivals: the Toronto International Film Festival, the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (Germany), SIFF (Seattle, United States), and the Stockholm Film Festival. Also, in 2012, 2014, and 2016, Boudreau was nominated for the prestigious Sobey Art Award for contemporary art in Canada.



Didier Morelli is a performance artist and art historian, critic, and curator with a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, Chicago. Associate Editor at Espace art actuel, his writing has been published in Art Journal, Canadian Theatre Review, C Magazine, Border Crossings, Esse Arts + Opinions, Performa Magazine, Spirale and TDR : The Drama Review, among other publications.




image



Caroline Cloutier, Emmanuelle Choquette
May 26th 2022
In Conversation Caroline Cloutier with Emmanuelle Choquette

OPTICA launched a new video interview series in 2021 that features artists, curators, writers, educators, and university scholars.

We invite you to view this video discussion that took place online between Caroline Cloutier and Emmanuelle Choquette on March 18, 2022 as part of Caroline Cloutier's solo exhibition Shadow Work from January 22 to March 19, 2022.


VIEWED THE VIDEO THROUGH THIS LINK (youtube).


Caroline Cloutier is interested in the photographic image as a device for spatial construction and in the different modes of interaction between image, space and perception. Through her photographic installations that challenge perception, she seeks to deconstruct space in a perspective of mise en abyme leading to a reflection on the construction of the device and its photographic process. With the help of various lighting and mirrors, she creates interlocking spaces and volumes that complicate our understanding of architectural space. Printed in large format, these images, sometimes at the scale of the objects, sometimes at a larger scale, are of a great pictorial quality.

Thank to the video editor Ivetta Sunyoung Kang.



Caroline Cloutier is based in Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. Her works have been presented in Montreal, Toronto, Linz, Rome and New York. She is represented by the Galerie Nicolas Robert and the production of her work have repeatedly been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. She is an MFA candidate in Studio Arts, Photography at Concordia University.

Emmanuelle Choquette is an author, researcher and independent curator. She holds a master's degree in art history from UQAM. Her research focuses on performative and installation practices that take a critical look at exhibition formats. Her texts are published in the journals Espace art actuel, Vie des arts, le Sabord, Ciel Variable and esse art + opinions. In 2019, she co-directed the publication “Une bibliographie commentée en temps réel : l'art de la performance au Québec et au Canada”. Her collaborative curatorial projects have been presented at Artexte and the Maison des arts Desjardins in Drummondville. She has participated in research residencies at Est-Nord-Est (St-Jean-Port-Joli) and at Laboratorio Arte Alameda (Mexico City) in partnership with OBORO. In 2017 she is a recipient of the Jean-Claude Rochefort grant for art criticism and art curation. From 2013 to 2021, she held the position of Executive Director at Arprim, a center dedicated to printed art and served on the board of directors of the Regroupement des centres d'artistes autogérés du Québec. She received the ARDI Award for innovation in cultural philanthropy in 2020.




image



Clara Gutsche, Zoë Tousignant, Marie-Josée Lafortune @4TH SPACE, 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM
June 1st 2022
Public Discussion around the exhibition Children. Portraits d’enfants of Clara Gutsche

OPTICA presents a public discussion with photographer Clara Gutsche who’s exhibition Children. Portraits d’enfants is currently on display at the gallery. This exhibition includes works from her series Milton-Park (1970-1973), The Cencic Sisters (1974-1976), Sarah (1982-1989), Jeanne-Mance Park (1982-1984) and Siblings and Singles (2008-2022).

Joining this conversation is Zoë Tousignant, art historian and the Curator of Photography at the McCord Museum who will be guiding the conversation around Gutsche’s different series, her creative process and the historical background of the photographs. Marie-Josée Lafortune will also contribute to this discussion by sharing her perspective as the exhibition curator of Children. Portraits d’enfants.

OPTICA, centre d’art contemporain, presents this public discussion as part of a series of talks on contemporary art featuring artists, curators, writers, educators and academics.

How can you participate? Attend in person (4TH Space can accommodate up to 30 audience members comfortably) or online by registering for the Zoom webinar here
or watching on YouTube.
Have questions? Send them to info.4@concordia.ca


Clara Gutsche has worked as a photographer, educator, and critic since she immigrated to Montreal from St. Louis, Missouri in 1970. She is a professor at Concordia University’s Studio Arts Department where she teaches photography. She uses the view camera to explore personal relationships through portraiture and cultural values through urban landscapes and architectural interiors.

She has taken part in many exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe, mainly in Belgium, France, Italy, and Portugal.

Her works are part of major private and public collections in Canada and abroad: the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Clara Gutsche’s critical writings on photography have been published in numerous periodicals (Vanguard, C Magazine, Canadian Art). Her recent essay “Is the Artist an Unreliable Archivist? Reflections on the Photographic Preservation of a Montreal Neighbourhood.” was published in Photogenic Montreal: Activisms and Archives in a Post-Industrial City, edited by Martha Langford and Johanne Sloan, McGill-Queens University Press (2021).

Zoë Tousignant is the Curator of Photography at the McCord Museum. She holds a PhD in Art History from Concordia University and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leeds.

Her research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary photography produced in Quebec and Canada. Her many curatorial projects have included close collaborations with such photographers as Serge Clément, Carlos Ferrand, Marisa Portolese and Gabor Szilasi.

Her essays on photography have appeared in numerous catalogues, monographs and periodicals. She has been a regular contributor to Ciel variable magazine for over ten years. Her recent publications include the book Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 (McCord Museum and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) and the collection of essays Les lieux des savoirs photographiques : le laboratoire, edited by Martha Langford and Zoë Tousignant (FAEP and Artexte, 2021).

Zoë Tousignant is the Curator of Photography at the McCord Museum. She holds a PhD in Art History from Concordia University and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leeds.

Her research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary photography produced in Quebec and Canada. Her many curatorial projects have included close collaborations with such photographers as Serge Clément, Carlos Ferrand, Marisa Portolese and Gabor Szilasi.

Her essays on photography have appeared in numerous catalogues, monographs and periodicals. She has been a regular contributor to Ciel variable magazine for over ten years. Her recent publications include the book Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 (McCord Museum and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) and the collection of essays Les lieux des savoirs photographiques : le laboratoire, edited by Martha Langford and Zoë Tousignant (FAEP and Artexte, 2021).

Marie-Josée Lafortune is the Director of OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art. She has published in the journals esse arts + opinions, Parachute, Spirale, and co-edited Penser l’indiscipline and Archi-féministes!, published by OPTICA.




image

Clara Gutsche, Zoë Tousignant, Marie-Josée Lafortune.
Crédit photo : Claudia Goulet-Blais


Clara Gutsche, Zoë Tousignant, Marie-Josée Lafortune @4TH SPACE
June 1st 2022

OPTICA launched a new video interview series in 2021 that features artists, curators, writers, educators, and university scholars.

We invite you to view this video discussion that took place at 4TH SPACE (Concordia)and online between Clara Gutsche, Zoë Tousignant, Marie-Josée Lafortunele on June 1st, 2022 as part of Clara Gutsche's solo exhibition Children. Portraits d’enfants from April 9 to June 11, 2022.


LINK OF THE VIDEO (youtube).




Clara Gutsche has worked as a photographer, educator, and critic since she immigrated to Montreal from St. Louis, Missouri in 1970. She is a professor at Concordia University’s Studio Arts Department where she teaches photography. She uses the view camera to explore personal relationships through portraiture and cultural values through urban landscapes and architectural interiors.

She has taken part in many exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe, mainly in Belgium, France, Italy, and Portugal.

Her works are part of major private and public collections in Canada and abroad: the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, Arizona and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Clara Gutsche’s critical writings on photography have been published in numerous periodicals (Vanguard, C Magazine, Canadian Art). Her recent essay “Is the Artist an Unreliable Archivist? Reflections on the Photographic Preservation of a Montreal Neighbourhood.” was published in Photogenic Montreal: Activisms and Archives in a Post-Industrial City, edited by Martha Langford and Johanne Sloan, McGill-Queens University Press (2021).

Zoë Tousignant is the Curator of Photography at the McCord Museum. She holds a PhD in Art History from Concordia University and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leeds.

Her research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary photography produced in Quebec and Canada. Her many curatorial projects have included close collaborations with such photographers as Serge Clément, Carlos Ferrand, Marisa Portolese and Gabor Szilasi.

Her essays on photography have appeared in numerous catalogues, monographs and periodicals. She has been a regular contributor to Ciel variable magazine for over ten years. Her recent publications include the book Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 (McCord Museum and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) and the collection of essays Les lieux des savoirs photographiques : le laboratoire, edited by Martha Langford and Zoë Tousignant (FAEP and Artexte, 2021).

Zoë Tousignant is the Curator of Photography at the McCord Museum. She holds a PhD in Art History from Concordia University and an MA in Museum Studies from the University of Leeds.

Her research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary photography produced in Quebec and Canada. Her many curatorial projects have included close collaborations with such photographers as Serge Clément, Carlos Ferrand, Marisa Portolese and Gabor Szilasi.

Her essays on photography have appeared in numerous catalogues, monographs and periodicals. She has been a regular contributor to Ciel variable magazine for over ten years. Her recent publications include the book Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980 (McCord Museum and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) and the collection of essays Les lieux des savoirs photographiques : le laboratoire, edited by Martha Langford and Zoë Tousignant (FAEP and Artexte, 2021).

Marie-Josée Lafortune is the Director of OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art. She has published in the journals esse arts + opinions, Parachute, Spirale, and co-edited Penser l’indiscipline and Archi-féministes!, published by OPTICA.




image



Offre emploi / Employment Offer
from August 9th 2022 to September 20th 2022
Job Offer: OPTICA Public Education Program Coordinator

Terms of Employment:

• Permanent employment contract
• 28 hours per week, Tuesday through Friday • Annual salary: $32,000
Deadline for application: September 20, 2022
• start date: October 4, 2022

JOB OFFERT DOCUMENT (pdf)

OPTICA, A Centre for Contemporary Art, is seeking a dynamic individual to fill the position of public education program coordinator. Under the supervision of the director, the incumbent will be responsible for coordinating and developing the content and activities of OPTICA’s public education program. The candidate must have 2-3 years of experience in cultural mediation or have acquired complementary experience as part of his or her studies and have a good knowledge of the contemporary art world.

The tasks are involved with the development of pedagogical content and resources in contemporary art, audience reception, the preparation and facilitation of visits, discussions, and creative workshops, research activities in cultural mediation, and the production of special projects.

Located in Tiohtia:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal, OPTICA is among the first artist-run art centres in Canada. Since 1972, the Centre has worked to promote Canadian contemporary art and to raise awareness of the issues that inform artistic practices and discourse in the visual arts through a varied program of exhibitions and critical and educational activities.

Responsibilities

Job description:

• Development of educational material in French and English, design of pedagogical tools and cultural mediation resources relating to the practices of the artists exhibiting at the centre (informational documents, video and audio clips, virtual interviews with the artists, pedagogical kits, etc.);
• Development of cultural mediation content and research activities through symposia, public meetings, publications, and more;
• Welcoming the public, preparing and facilitating interactive tours, discussions, and creative and educational workshops associated with the Centre’s exhibition program, particularly cultural events tied to the Journées de la Culture and the Montreal Nuit Blanche;
• Follow-up and coordination with various partners (correspondence, deadlines, etc.) regarding the different educational wings: the Contemporary Labs for child care centres, daycares, and preschool groups; the Artist at School program for elementary and high school students; and special projects;
• Writing and submitting grant applications and reports to partner institutions;
• Supervision of cultural mediation interns;
• Participation in various activities at OPTICA: openings, discussions, events, meetings of the educational committee;
• Promotion of the public education program and its activities in the Centre’s newsletter, on various social networks, and in the Montreal teaching community.

Profile sought:

• Have an undergraduate university degree in a relevant discipline: visual and media arts, teaching, and art education;
• Two to three years’ relevant experience in cultural mediation;
• Familiarity with the art scene, teaching, cultural or community organizations;
• Interest in and facility with young audiences;
• Conscientiousness, initiative, keen sense of responsibility;
• Ability to plan and organize, to adapt to changing contexts, and to work both alone and in a team;
• Ability to maintain positive and caring relationships;
• Excellent communications skills and ability to speak in public;
• Ability to work in a MAC environment, excellent command of MS Office suites (Word, Excel, Outlook), Adobe (Photoshop, Premier), Google, and social networks (Instagram, Facebook, etc.);
• Bilingual in French and English, spoken and written.

Terms of Employment:

• Permanent employment contract
• 28 hours a week, Tuesday through Friday
• Annual salary: $32,000
Deadline for application: September 20, 2022
Start of employment: October 4, 2022

Benefits:

• 2 weeks paid leave during the holidays
• 4 weeks paid vacation per year

Place of work

OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art
5445 avenue de Gaspé, space 106
Montreal, Quebec H2T 3B2
514 874-1666
www.optica.ca

On-site work, a pleasant environment, a dynamic team, and an art centre recognized locally and nationally for its contemporary art productions.

Start date: October 4, 2022

We place great value on cultural diversity and encourage candidates to mention whether they have an Indigenous, visible-minority, or immigration background.

Interested candidates are kindly requested to submit their CV, along with a letter of interest, no later than September 20, 2022, 11:59 pm, to the attention of Marie-Josée Lafortune, Director: mjlafortune@optica.ca.

Please mention the title of the position in the subject of your email.

We thank all applicants in advance. However, we will only contact those who have been selected for an interview.




image

TVTV, Four More Years (image vidéo/video still), 1972. 1/2 vidéo 61/28. Avec l'aimable permission de | Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Top Value Television (TVTV) Commissaire/Curator: Eli Kerr
from September 8th 2022 to October 22nd 2022
Alternative Convention: Top Value Television's Four More Years

Opening on Thursday, September 8, 2022, 5PM - 9PM

OPTICA A Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to present the exhibition Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years, organized by Canadian curator Eli Kerr. The exhibition focuses on a single video-artifact titled Four More Years, produced by the 1970s video collective Top Value Television (TVTV). TVTV was comprised of journalists, activists, artists and members of other video groups, including Raindance Corporation, Videofreex, and Ant Farm. For these young people—the first postwar generation to grow up with television—new tools such as the portable Sony Portapak camera opened up new possibilities for experimentation that also promised political and emancipatory potential.

TVTV was formed in 1972 with the intention of producing alternative television coverage of both the Democratic and Republican party conventions. With press passes and their lightweight camera equipment, TVTV deployed subversive journalistic techniques on the convention floor. By pointing their cameras in the other direction and interviewing the network press about their coverage, TVTV shook-up the establishments of television news and reportage. Four More Years would become the first independently produced ½-inch video to be broadcasted on national TV: this was a landmark moment in the history of video and journalism as it ushered in an era of DIY video production, birthing the experimental documentary genre known as Guerilla Television.

A half century later, we find ourselves in a future where many of the aspirations of Guerilla Television have been realized. Not only has their style of citizen-journalism created feedback in both entertainment and politics, there is now near-ubiquitous access to video and the means to participate in the production of visual culture. Yet, the legacy of Top Value Television’s Four More Years, and the Guerilla Television movement more broadly, reminds us that, despite the democratization of access and the empowerment of social media, the power structures that govern the production and circulation of media can at times feel more centralized and opaque than ever.

This exhibition revisits TVTV and their landmark tape Four More Years to invite reflection on both the past and the future of decentralized video, political media-making and the politics of making media. It asks: what are the possibilities and conditions for artists and activists looking to effect change on media structures in the present? Is the countercultural strategy of infiltrating the system and changing it from within still conceivable? What happens after the alternative becomes the convention?

Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years was first presented in September 2021, at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery of the University of Toronto, as part of the requirements for an MVS degree in Curatorial Studies. This second installment of the touring exhibition is part of a long-term curatorial research project undertaken by Eli Kerr.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)



Active between 1972-1979, video group Top Value Television (TVTV) was at the forefront of the alternative documentary movement known as “guerilla television”. TVTV was founded by Allen Rucker, Michael Shamberg, Megan Williams, Tom Weinberg and Hudson Marquez. Throughout the 1970s nearly 30 other media makers would take part in TVTV productions. Pioneering Portapak cameras and the new video technology, the group was originally assembled to create alternative coverage of the 1972 Republican and Democratic Presidential conventions in Miami. Following the critical acclaim of their convention tapes, TVTV was organized as a freelance production company that would go on to produce a variety of programs such as Adland (1974) Gerald Ford’s America (1975) TVTV Goes to the Super Bowl and TVTV Looks at the Oscars (both 1976).

(b 1988) Eli Kerr is the recipient of the 2019 Hnatyshyn Foundation award for Canadian curators under 30 through which he completed a curatorial residency at Fogo Island Arts in 2021. In 2020 he founded Parc Offsite, an exhibition space and curatorial office in Montreal.




image

Portrait de Leyla Majeri.
Crédit photo : Edouard Larocque


Leyla Majeri
from September 13th 2022 to April 30th 2023
Winner of the Intersections Residency!

Congratulations to Leyla Majeri, recipient of the Intersections Residence for research, creation and dissemination, second edition 2022.

Leyla Majeri's practice focuses on sculptural installation and experimental animated film, bringing them into closer attention to ecologies between matter, the imagined and the political. With Harness the Sun (Arprim, Montreal, 2016), she initiates a dialogue between her art practice and her gardening practice to envision ways of ‘making’ that are rooted in the idea of commitment, as both an artistic process and as a mode of resistance. She furthers this exploration in Don't Blame Us If We Get Playful (Galerie de l'UQAM, 2018) and in Garden Archive – There's a wasp who penetrates the ladybug (CIRCA, Montreal, 2019) where she combines different languages and territories of practice, materialities, life forms and biotopes. Her current research draws on fictional approaches to ethnography, speculative biology and forms of intangible knowledge – which she re-imagines from a plot of land located on an agricultural field, where she established a food garden, a pharmacopoeia of medicinal plants and, more recently, plants she will incorporate into her new work.




Leyla Majeri lives in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montréal where she was born. Her work has been shown notably at CIRCA, Galerie de l'UQAM, Arprim, Parisian Laundry, Eastern Bloc, Paved Arts (Saskatoon), and Est-Nord-Est (Saint-Jean-Port-Joli) where she has completed a research residency in 2017. At L’imprimerie artist’s center, she is currently revisiting artisanal practices and organic processes that she will adapt to her installations. From this research, she envisions a garden of tinctorial plants that she will annex this summer (2022) to the centre. In 2023, she will present a new exhibition at the Skol, Montreal. Leyla Majeri holds a master's degree in Visual and Media Arts from UQAM and is a recipient of project grants from the Canada Council for the Arts.


image



Anne St-Louis
from October 4th 2022 to October 4th 2022
Welcome to Anne-St-Louis!

OPTICA is pleased to welcome Anne-St-Louis who will be joining our team as Public Education Program Coordinator.

Anne recently graduated with a master's degree in museology from the University of Montreal. Having a strong interest in mediation and the experience of the public, she directs her research around affective functioning and psychological immersion in a museum context as well as on well-being through art and cultural institutions. She has contributed to the establishment of visit support projects for various audiences at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and is involved in a research project at the University of Montreal which focuses on the immersion in the museum and the educational and its social benefits. At OPTICA, she wants to create inclusive and relevant educational projects and open the doors of the world of contemporary art to as many people as possible. Welcome Anne!




image

Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera,The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 1): When the River Sings Stones it Brings,2021. Installation multimédia : projections vidéo, performance. Dimensions variables. Avec l’aimable permission des artistes. | Multimedia installation, video projections, performance. Variable dimensions. Courtesy of the artists.

Laura Acosa & Santiago Tavera
from October 7th 2022 to November 20th 2022

Laura Acosa and Santiago Tavera will be presenting The Novels of Elsgüer (Episode 1): When the River Sings Stones it Brings, 2021, as a virtual video experience part of the Across-Space online exhibition of the 2022 Changwon Sculpture Bienniale in South Korea from October 7th, 2022 – November 20th, 2022. This project presents a landscape made up of skin textures and amorphous bodies, both alluring and sensuous, yet grotesque and uncanny. This work explores skin as a territory, composed of layers of lived experiences and accumulated memories which continuously shape and transform its topography. Our skin, similar to the natural landscape, bears the marks of the crossbreeding processes of colonialism, as well as histories of both oppression and resilience. This project was made with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Centre OPTICA.

The online exhibition Across Space - Sympathetic Vibration (Resonance) is an exhibit part of the 2022 Changwon Sculpture Biennale - Channel: Wave-Particle Duality. The title of the exhibition conveys the message that if people gather aspiring for the same wishes, the power amplifies and becomes a key stone to change the world. Invited artists are gathered to deliver the idea that “we human beings and mother nature- are all intertwined.” The exhibition reinterprets the organic circulation structure of humans and nature from the perspective of quantum physics, breaking away from the conventional belief that humans and nature exist separately.

Official website

Online exhibition website



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.




image

TVTV, Four More Years (image vidéo/video still), 1972. 1/2 vidéo 61/28. Avec l'aimable permission de | Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York. Crédit|Credit: Simon Belleau

Eli Kerr et Brandon Poole
from October 15th 2022 to October 15th 2022
Focused Group: Four More Years

On Saturday, October 15, at 3pm, join Eli Kerr and Brandon Poole for Focused Group: a screening and group discussion held in conjunction with Centre OPTICA’s current exhibition, Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years.

Borrowing its name from the specialized group interviews used in marketing research and political science, the purpose of Focused Group is to gather a group of willing participants to watch a full-hour screening of Top Value Television’s Four More Years and then discuss it together. The event is based on the premise that depoliticization and general political apathy can be attributed not only to shortened attention spans, but also to media-content and communications technologies, both agents of influence shaping political consciousnesses today, just as they were 50 years ago. In the context of this screening, we might discuss the challenges facing independent media-makers today, the state of video as a tool for both art and journalism, and how we, as a group, envision the future of art and politics and of politics and media.

Seats are limited to 24 attendees and places are reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please RSVP at communications@optica.ca.



Brandon Poole (b.1986) is an artist and lecturer based in Montreal, Quebec. Having previously trained in journalism and philosophy, his research-based practice moves by way of interviews and fieldwork to consider the entwined histories and speculative futures of media, simulation, and the image. He received a Master of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with honours and distinction, from the University of Victoria. His work has been shown at the Toronto Biennial, the University of Toronto’s Art Museum, Presentation House Gallery (Vancouver, BC), and Fifty Fifty Gallery (Victoria, BC). He has upcoming solo exhibitions at Deluge Contemporary Art (Victoria BC, Fall 2022), and Dazibao (Montreal, Fall 2023).

Eli Kerr (b.1988) is a curator based in Montreal, Quebec. Since 2014, he has been active mounting exhibitions in Montreal, often in self-organized contexts. In 2020, he opened Parc Offsite, an exhibition space and curatorial office. While his exhibition history has supported the work of artists more broadly, specific themes of media history and the political economy of technology are critical interests that Eli pursues, mainly through thematic group exhibitions.

Eli began working with TVTV’s Four More Years while on a curatorial residency at International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York, in 2017. He has since completed curatorial residencies at Rupert, Lithuania (2018) and Fogo Island Arts (2021). In 2021 he completed his studies at the University of Toronto, receiving a Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies. His thesis exhibition, Alternative Convention: Top Value Television’s Four More Years, was originally held at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery before travelling to OPTICA in 2022. In 2023 he will be curator in residence at Hordaland Kunstsenter in Bergen, Norway.




image

Olivia Whetung, Stand, 2019. Perles de rocaille Miyuki, bois de placage d'essences de bouleau, de cerisier, d'érable et de chêne brûlés, pierres de rivière, ruban de signalisation, 5 panneaux de 60,96 x 243,84 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste. | Miyuki seed beads and wood burning on birch, cherry, maple, and oak veneer, river stones, flagging tape. 5 panels each 60,96 x 243, 84 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Crédit photo: SITE Photography.

Olivia Whetung
from November 12th 2022 to December 17th 2022
Sugarbush Shrapnel, 2019-2020

Artist Talk: November 19, 2022 at OPTICA, 3pm to 5pm, in English. Translation will be available during the Q&A session.

Link of the event: here

Olivia Whetung’s artistic practice extends across a range of media to examine how translation and the transfer of knowledge can be understood, in her words, as “acts of/active native presence.” A significant strand of the Mississauga-Nishinaabe artist’s research has explored ways that knowledge is carried by language, land and bodies of water. For her solo exhibition at the Contemporary art center OPTICA, Sugarbush Shrapnel, initially presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery (October 11, 2019 – January 5, 2020), Whetung expands these material and conceptual investigations to consider her own connections to the complex ecosystem of her home on Chemong Lake, Ontario, particularly the importance of food sovereignty and the fragility of symbiotic relationships in an era of accelerating climate change and environmental destruction.

Beads have long held a significant place in Whetung’s practice, from early loom-woven works that reference her efforts to become fluent in Anishinaabemowin, to performance collaborations with Vuntut Gwitchin artist Jeneen Frei Njootli, when beads were used as dynamic, sound-making entities. Whetung’s most recent beaded works involve embroidery, a method where beads are sewn with needle and thread onto a surface material that provides the support and background for the imagery. For Whetung, beadwork is a mnemonic device. Knowledge is indexed not only in the beaded image itself, but through the artist’s technique—the embodied act of beading— and encoded in the materials with which she works. In this way, beadwork can be understood as an index of action, witness and acknowledgement. In works such as wabano (2012), which transcribes the electronic data of a recorded Nishinaabe song into material presence, or tibewh (2018), describing birds-eye views of the 43 Trent-Severn Waterway locks, the sounds of words and the understanding of shorelines are carried by the beads without entirely revealing them. Standing before these works, what we face is a new translation—a testament to the ways in which Whetung employs Nishinaabe visual language to at once withhold and re-inscribe meaning.

For Sugarbush Shrapnel, Whetung focuses her attention on the plant and animal inhabitants of her own home territories. Sobering climate predictions have prompted the artist to imagine how we might remember ecosystems after we have irrevocably altered them. What food harvesting practices—specifically the Nishinaabe practice of maple syruping—will or won’t be sustainable in the decades and centuries to come? How will environmental devastation impact Nishinaabeg abilities to pass cultural knowledge and environmental stewardship to subsequent generations? How will such alterations impact the myriad non- human beings whose existence needs are inextricably entangled with our own?

Whetung considers these questions in her exhibition through new and ambitious large-scale works. Ultra-thin panels of maple, birch and cherry wood veneer stretch vertically from the gallery floor to ceiling like a stand of trees. In the sparest of bead-embroidered and wood-burned lines, sewn through and drawn upon the near- translucent surface of the wood, Whetung traces the fragile—and often undetectable—relationships between species in the forested region in which she lives: the red-winged blackbird, which shelters its nest in the lakeside fields of wild rice; the squirrel, who in the hunger of late winter scrapes the bark of the maple to feed on its sugary sap, signaling that the trees are ready for tapping; the hummingbird that drinks from and simultaneously pollinates the honeysuckle vine; the acorns of the oak tree, which offer nourishment to the wild turkey; and the lady’s slipper, whose seeds are sustained in part by a fungus growing unseen beneath the forest floor. Like half-remembered scenes pulled from the fog of memory, Whetung’s images offer only the barest edges of a rich and delicately balanced symbiosis already in the process of irrevocable change. The wood itself is chosen from trees native to the Great Lakes region, but in her choice of highly manufactured veneer signals the artist’s own acknowledgment of her passive complicity in destructive forestry industries.

Nearby, a separate body of work offers fragments of a different kind: tiny nuggets of exploded stone, residue from the intense heat of the Whetung family’s winter sap-boiling fire, are encased in beaded pods. Like tiny structures, tombs or time capsules, they house a valued memory. Perhaps they are not for us but for a future when knowledge of the maple-sugaring practice could be lost with climate change; a practice, as Robin Wall Kimmerer suggests in Braiding Sweetgrass, which was first learned from the animals whose existence is now under threat. Together, the works in Sugarbush Shrapnel stand as mnemonic prompts to futures lost, and as urgent honourings of wenji-bimaadiziyaang, which in Anishinaabemowin means something close to “from where we get our living or life.”

Kimberly Phillips

Kimberly Phillips, Olivia Whetung Sugarbush Shrapnel, October 11th, 2019 to January 5, 2020, Contemporary Art Gallery, Alvin Balkind Gallery, Vancouver. Curatorial Text.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)



Olivia Whetung is a member of Curve Lake First Nation and a citizen of the Nishnaabeg Nation. Her work has been the focus of solo exhibitions at Gallery 44, Toronto (2018); Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna (2018); Artspace, Peterborough (2017); and 180 Projects, Sault Ste. Marie. She has contributed to two-person and group exhibitions at Queen’s University, Kingston (2019); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2018-19); Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto (2018); Art Gallery of Mississauga (2018); Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2017); Access Gallery, Vancouver (2016); Western Front, Vancouver (2016); Axe Neo 7, Gatineau; VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver (2016); Open Space, Victoria (2014); and many others. She completed her BFA with a minor in Anishinaabemowin at Algoma University (2013) and her MFA in Visual Art at the University of British Columbia (2016). She was awarded the John Hartman Award in 2018, the William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists in 2016, and is a recipient of a CGS-M Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award and an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship. In 2019 she was awarded a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Kimberly Phillips is Director of SFU Galleries at Simon Fraser University. Over the past 15 years, in her roles as gallery director, curator, and teacher based on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh peoples (Tsleil-Waututh)/Vancouver, BC), she has worked to create meaningful and unexpected ways for contemporary artists and their publics to find one another. Phillips’ curatorial practice maintains a particular interest in the spectral and the resistant, as well as the conditions under which artists work. She has curated over 50 exhibitions and public projects, most recently as Curator at the Contemporary Art Gallery (2017-2020) and Director/Curator of Access Gallery (2013-2017), and has served as editor for numerous publications. Phillips holds a PhD in art history from the University of British Columbia (2007), where she was an Izaak Walton Killam Doctoral Fellow.




image

Maryam Eizadifard, Algue charnelle, 2022. Verre coulé, impression jet d'encre. 30,48 x 20,32 cm. Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste. | Cast glass, inkjet print. Courtesy of the artist.

Maryam Eizadifard
from November 12th 2022 to December 17th 2022
Fragment-s de silence I

Join artist Maryam Eizadifard in conversation with My-Van Dam: December 17, 2022 at OPTICA, 3pm to 5pm (In French).

In her practice, Maryam Eizadifard attempts to sense the effects that spaces have on the body. Specifically, in places where the body has no reference point. She is attentive to the imprint of the body’s memory that can be awakened by theses spaces. A smell, a familiar atmosphere, the handling of an object can arouse a buried memory and, suddenly, a new environment becomes a point of reference. The accretion of the various places experienced by Eizadifard composes an inner geography in which relationships are created between the spaces through memory and its interwoven chain of impressions.

Of Iranian descent, Eizadifard would have liked to wholly document her immigration experience in Canada. Not having set up such archives, she strives to reproduce the feelings of strangeness connected with this displacement and to convey their effects upon the body. She activates performative experiences by living elsewhere for a few months, attempting to understand how this movement takes effect, or she isolates for several days to feel what effects natural elements will have upon her—particularly on her memory. In drawings and texts, Fragment-s de silence I tells of her encounters with water and earth. She will eventually follow up these short retreats with air and fire.

When she entered the cellar of an old mill in Terrebonne, childhood memories of the basement in her ancestral home with its water basin come to the surface. Both places, which have nothing in common apart from the water and underground environment, exude a similar atmosphere. Clear images come back to her. She remained confined there for a week, with no contact from the outside world. She wrote a letter every day. Written in Persian and translated into French, the letters tell of the night’s reminiscences, intermingled with memories of her youth and the stream of thoughts generated during her isolation.

The composer Saku Mantere drew inspiration from these writings to conceive a sound piece that envelops the gallery space and suggests a suspension of time conducive to a keener form of attention. Created during the week’s seclusion from the world, the drawings mix observations on the artist’s underground environment with (re)lived sensations prompted by the surroundings. The drawings and their motifs are replicated on superposed acetates, troubling one’s view, as if seeing a reflection in water. Eizadifard undertook the same isolation in the forest. Once again, she approached nature and gave way to the memories these elements stimulated to create a series of drawings. She installed mirrors and, once more, played with the proliferating images to provoke their reverberation. Drawings of forest and water were also printed on cast glass, maintaining a vapourous relationship to memory.

During these experiments, in which her entire body is engaged in an intimate rapport with the space, time is exclusively tied to natural rhythms, as no other point of reference intervenes in her perception of the passing days. Such withdrawal blurs the space-time relationship and may also allow us to more fully and consciously inhabit our surroundings and the life within us.

Author: Catherine Barnabé

Translator: Ron Ross

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)

Maryam Eizadifard would like to thank l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l’UQAM, le Conseil des arts de Montréal, Catherine Barnabé, Alexandre Bérubé, Lola Dancose, Romeo Gongora, Marie-Josée Lafortune, Anne Thibault, Claude Timmons;

Music:
Saku Mantere (composition), George Doxas (recording, mixing and engineering), Jessica Duranleau (french horn), Juliette Malgrange (cello), Gabriel Trottier (french horn), Adrian Vedady (double bass).




Maryam Eizadifard holds a master’s in visual and media arts from UQAM (2018). She focuses on the ephemeral nature of spaces and their influence on memory and the body. Fragment-s de silence I is part of the Intersections residency for research, creation and dissemination, carried out by Eizadifard in 2021-2022 at the Contemporary Art Center OPTICA and l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l’UQAM in partnership with the Conseil des arts de Montréal.

Maryam Eizadifard is part of the CODE BLANC collective composed of My-Van Dam and Stanley Février, which uses cultural institutions as a tool for reflection and creation to raise issues of equity and inclusion in the visual arts. The members draw on the existing skills and resources of the milieu, including museums, galleries and artist- run centers, and call on economic, cultural and social actors to contribute their reflections on the issues of cultural diversity.

The Intersections residency for research, creation and dissemination, 2022 edition, is an initiative of l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l’Université du Québec à Montréal in partnership with the Conseil des arts de Montréal and OPTICA, A Centre for Contemporary Art.