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Exibitions 2012

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Index of artists, authors and curators

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OPTICA Fonds (Concordia University Archives)

Guidebooks to help in consulting the archives

Electronic Reproduction Fees

© Sophie Bélair Clément (avec la collaboration de | with the collaboration of David Jacques), See you later / au revoir : 17 minutes en temps réel, 2008 (1/3). Installation vidéo, son | Video installation, sound. 18 minutes. Collection de la Galerie Leonard & Bina Ellen, Université Concordia | Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University. Achat | Purchase, 2011.

Sophie Bélair Clément, Raphaëlle de Groot, Vera Frenkel, Clara Gutsche, Emmanuelle Léonard
From January 21st 2012 to February 25th 2012
Archi-féministes! : Performer l'archive (2e volet)

Under the curatorship of Marie-Ève Charron (independent curator and art critic for Le Devoir), Marie-Josée Lafortune (director of OPTICA), and Thérèse St-Gelais (professor of art history specialized in gender and women’s studies at uQAM), the exhibition “Archi-féministes!” brings together a significant body of historical and contemporary work by female artists who have contributed to the centre’s history since 1972. For the first time, we are broaching that history from a feminist point of view, an archival feminism proposing a retrospective and updated perspective concerned, among other things, with performativity in artistic practices and strategies deployed through photography, video, and the document. The exhibition, occurring in two parts, draws not only on the OPTICA Archives, but also on private, public, and artists’ collections.

After “Archiver le corps” (“Archiving the Body”), “Performer l’archive” (“Performing the Archive”) brings together artists rooted in the documentary tradition, or revisiting it by way of performance, appropriation, accumulation and repetition. Besides interrogating notions of authorship and artistic tradition, these strategies examine and key off the artist’s body and the time of production and reception of the work. The practices of Sophie Bélair Clément, Raphaëlle de Groot, Vera Frenkel, Clara Gutsche, and Emmanuelle Léonard probe a variety of production processes through critical operations employing fiction, the body, personal narratives, reflexivity, and subjectivity.

Since the 2000s, Sophie Bélair Clément has been producing collaborative installations that revisit contemporary works and reconstruct historic museum and gallery exhibitions. For OPTICA in 2009, she presented “Le son du projecteur,” a project based on her experience at the Museum Anna Nordlander (SkellefteÃ¥, Sweden) the previous year. With a master’s in visual and media arts at UQAM, Clément has exhibited in Quebec, Canada and abroad. Last fall, she took part in “The Québec Triennial 2011” at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Also holding a masters’ from UQAM’s École des arts visuels et médiatiques, Raphaëlle de Groot has, for the last ten years, produced works that often rely on the collection and archival reorganization of material. She has a great many group and solo exhibitions to her credit, the most important of which took place at Galerie de l’UQAM in 2006. In 2001, she took part in “Artists’ Gestures,” organized by OPTICA as part of the Saison du Québec à New York. De Groot is represented by Galerie Graff, Montreal.

Vera Frenkel, who studied at McGill University, has won numerous accolades and awards, including the 2006 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. Her installations, performances, videos, and multimedia works present narrative elements that blur the distinctions between fiction and reality. Frenkel, a professor emerita at York University, has taken part in major solo and group exhibitions, including Documenta IX (Cassel, 1992) and the Venice Biennale (1997). At OPTICA, she took part in the exhibitions “Vérifications” (1984) and “Exposition rétrospective: volet II,” marking the centre’s twentieth anniversary in 1992; she is also among the contributors to “Creative Confusions: Interdisciplinary Practices in Contemporary Art ” (2001).

Clara Gutsche holds a masters in photography from Concordia University where she also teaches. She is noted for her documentary photography, particularly a renowned series on the Milton Parc neighbourhood jointly produced with David Miller and presented at OPTICA in the exhibition and catalogue “You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Till It’s Gone... The Destruction of Milton Parc” (1973). Since 2000, her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at a number of venues, including the Musée de la Photographie (Charleroi, Belgique), the Casa delle Letterature (Rome), VU (Quebec City), and Occurrence (Montreal).

Having studied at UQAM and Concordia University, Emmanuelle Léonard broaches the status and tradition of documentary photography. Winning the Ville de Montréal’s Prix Pierre-Ayot in 2005, she has taken part in many group and solo exhibitions, notably those held at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Neue Berliner Kunstverein (Berlin). In 2007, as part of the 10th edition of the Mois de la Photo à Montréal, OPTICA presented Léonard’s “Une sale affaire.”

Marie-Ève Charron, Marie-Josée Lafortune and Thérèse St-Gelais
editing : Geneviève Bédard
translation : Ron Ross

OPTICA and the curators gratefully acknowledge the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, volet soutien à des projets pour les organismes et les commissaires indépendants. Thanks to Ms. Natacha Martin and the organizations that have partnered with us: the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery (Michèle Thériault, Director, and Mélanie Rainville, Max Stern Curator) and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Jan Allen, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art, and Jennifer Nicoll, Collections Manager and Exhibition Coordinator). We are also grateful to Josianne Monette, who processed the works, Geneviève Bédard for managing the loans, Marc Dulude and Pierre Przysiezniak for the gallery installations, and to the artists Sophie Bélair Clément, Raphaëlle de Groot, Vera Frenkel, Clara Gutsche, and Emmanuelle Léonard for having graciously accepted our invitation.

A 'not to miss' for Fall according to Jérôme Delgado («Galeries et centres d'artistes : Du trafic...dès maintenant», Le Devoir, January 14th-15th, 2012, p. E12.) and Nicolas Mavrikakis («Expos à contenus», Voir, January 12th, 2012.


Date limite | Deadline
February 28th 2012
28 février : appel à projets (programmation 2013)

Click on the following link for more information on our annual call for projects.


Date limite | Deadline
March 1st 2012
1er mars 2012: Résidence de recherche jeune création, Valence (France)
appel à candidatures

For more information, please click on the following link for our research residency program (Montreal - Valence, France). Thank you!

© Scott Wallis, Untitled B. 102, 2010. Laque sur panneau MDF | Lacquer on MDF. 20,32 x 20,32 x 6,35 cm. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Scott Wallis
From March 17th 2012 to April 21st 2012
Exposition solo

Knowing whether Scott Wallis approaches his material as a sculptor or a painter isn’t really important, since his approach is precisely an attempt to reinvent an essentially abstract repertoire on the threshold of sculpture and painting. As such, his works reveal a form of disciplinary transgression that betrays an obvious pleasure in foiling the conventions that frame and confirm our perceptions.

His production of recent years shows an interest in reflecting on the shifting relationship between image and object. Not only must one move around the presented works to appreciate their effects, but one must also piece out and dissect the interstices, delimit the voids and volumes, and give as much attention to light-images as to shaped material-images.

Because his approach is one that lets form determine content, because the effectiveness of his pieces rest on an extreme simplicity, a depersonalized construction, and often serial composition, it seems appropriate to view Wallis’ work as an investigation of space that attempts to give an updated perspective on issues that have been raised by formalism and minimalism. Though one should avoid the limiting constraints of “isms”, it seems just as reasonable to associate his approach with artists who are now pursuing research in the wake of issues broached by the Plasticiens.

Presented in Montreal for the first time, Scott Wallis’ oeuvre may be viewed as an art of formal interventions that exclude all expressive or narrative content. His works have no titles so as to create no fixed or even literary reference point for their interpretation. And yet, various topics are at play in his work, among them: colour, exploited for the rhythmic qualities it lends to the space; light, playing a major role in modulating sections and surfaces; and line, which turns the outside in. “The world is what we see and [. . .], nonetheless,” as the artist might have said with Maurice Merleau-Ponty, “we must learn to see it.”

Marie-Ève Beaupré

(1)Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and the Invisible, translated with a preface by Alphonso Lingis (Evenson: Northwestern University Press, 1968), 4.

The artist thanks the Ontario Arts Council, Rick Barr and the Barr Cabinets staff, Kingston.

Ontario Arts Council

Born in Toronto, Scott Wallis first obtained a degree in English and Philosophy from Queen’s University before turning to the visual arts in the early nineties. He has since presented his work at such venues as the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and the McMaster Museum of Art. Currently, he lives and works in Kingston, Ontario.

© Oli Sorenson, AntiMap-23 (détail), 2011. Origami (carton mousse), projection vidéo | Origami (foamcore), video projection. 304 x 137 x 41 cm. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Oli Sorenson
From March 17th 2012 to April 21st 2012

Oli Sorenson has always refused to define his work in terms of artistic discipline. He associates this trend to specialize with a nostalgic attachment to a bygone era, and prefers using the ubiquity and mobility of global communication networks as a metaphor truly capturing the imagination of our times. It is rather the overabundance of content that seeks his interest, a central issue that is specific of the Internet and the digital realm. He has further explored this theme through the VJ world, within media arts events in Europe (ZKM, Germany, 2002; K/Haus Museum, Austria, 2009) and Asia (MAF, Thailand, 2005). Thus he understandably describes his approach as that of an art operator: “I produce art as a DJ would produce music.”

Alternately as author, performer, musician, and plagiarist, he thrives in (re/de)constructing the sequential structures of moving images as well as to foil narrative conventions through a focus on editing, citation, and sampling as creative practice. With his Antimap series, Sorenson reappropriates the "mapping" technique, a process commonly used in video festivals which he (re)contextualizes in gallery spaces. In restrained interventions, he lays out minimal patterns reminiscent of Daniel Buren, Op Art aesthetics or the Supports/Surfaces group, to project these onto three-dimensional shapes which he underlines as “screens that resist their role of passive receptacles and inform the video images with an additional element of perception.”

Purposefully placing his work midway between visual and media arts, he is first in line to recognize the digital era as time-subordinate, a dire determinism which alter such productions in their inability to self-archive (witnessed by the quick succession of software obsolescence), while the act of painting ineluctably crosses over the ages. Sorenson thus proposes a synthesis of means that strives to return to painting via digital tools: using the specific visual vocabulary of media arts in such a way that the canvas is perceived as a “residual” component of a vast sampling exercise, he creates the Antimap series.
Marie-Josée Lafortune
editing: Geneviève Bédard

Born in Los Angeles, Oli Sorenson is a PhD candidate in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Concordia University. He holds a Masters in interactive media at the Université du Québec à Montréal (1998). Between 1999 and 2010 he lived in London where he practised many forms of expression including painting, interactive installation and VJing. He curated many video performance events at Tate Britain, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the British Film Institute, and also published a monthly column for international video events in DJ Mag (2003-2008). He lists many exhibitions, video and VJ performances to his credit throughout Europe and Asia. He lives and works in Montreal.


Avec le mouvement étudiant! | To support the student movement!
March 22nd 2012
Le 22, On ferme! Centres d'artistes et lieux de diffusion artistique en solidarité avec la lutte étudiante

The following document is only available in French:
Les étudiantes et les étudiants qui, depuis plus d'un mois, entrent massivement en grève (près de 200 000 en date du 15 mars 2012) ne le font pas que pour refuser une hausse de leurs frais de scolarité.

Ils et elles prennent la rue, multiplient les actions, occupent l'espace médiatique et s'organisent pour affirmer que l'éducation n'est pas une marchandise. Parce que des universités à la solde de l'entreprise, ils et elles n'en veulent pas. Parce que la recherche se doit d'être libre, que l'éducation est plus qu'un moyen d'obtenir une job.

Artistes, nous faisons aussi de la recherche, créons de la connaissance, des réflexions sur le monde aussi riches et variées que le sont nos oeuvres. Travailleurs et travailleuses culturelles, nous diffusons des idées, soutenons le travail de création, participons au débat public de multiples façons et faisons également du travail d'éducation.

La logique du tout marchand qui sous-tend les transformations du monde universitaire, dont la hausse des frais de scolarité fait partie, nous concerne aussi. Comme pour le milieu universitaire, le secteur des arts et de la culture se voit de plus en plus forcé de dépendre d'intérêts privés et de se conformer à un modèle entrepreneurial.

Nous voyons les bailleurs de fonds publics affectionner toujours davantage l'industrie culturelle et son rayonnement au détriment de la création et des lieux de diffusion artistique indépendants.

Résister à la hausse des frais de scolarité, c'est résister à une logique qui ramène tout au management et à la rentabilité.

Lutter pour l'accessibilité aux études supérieures, c'est lutter pour une société qui valorise la culture au sens large.

C'est pourquoi nous joignons le mouvement.

Le 22, nos espaces de création et de diffusion seront fermés. Nous afficherons le carré rouge à nos portes et vitrines et nous joindrons la manifestation nationale contre la hausse des frais de scolarité.

Arprim, Articule, Artivistic, Atelier Graff, La Centrale, Eastern Bloc, Perte de Signal, SKOL, Studio XX, et au moment d'envoyer ceci, d'autres centres d'artistes continuent de se joindre à nous: https://www.facebook.com/events/306937969373539/

RDV le 22 mars à 13h à la Place du Canada (métro Bonaventure).

© Michel de Broin, Majestic, 2011. Produit par | produced by The Third of May Arts Inc., New Orleans, USA.

En conversation avec Michel de Broin
April 18th 2012
Soirée-bénéfice OPTICA 2012 :: Conférence | Exposition + vente d’œuvres

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012, 5pm-8pm
La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Centre CDP Capital, 1000, place Jean-Paul-Riopelle, Hall B1.01, on the parquet, Montreal, Qc H2Z 2B3 Reservations:514.874.1666|communications@optica.ca|
Tickets for the evening are available at 100$
Business casual
R.S.V.P. by Friday, April 13th 2012

At the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, during an exhibition and art sale fundraiser for OPTICA, Michel de Broin will present his artistic development and discuss some of his major public art projects, which include Majestic (The Third of May Arts inc., New Orleans, 2011), La mâtresse de la Tour Eiffel (Nuit Blanche, Paris, 2009), as well as the prestigious prize he won for Bundestag (German federal legislature, Berlin, 2011). Recipient of Sobeys Art Award 2007, he is represented by Galeria Toni Tàpies, Barcelona.

Proceeds will contribute to the centre’s development as it celebrates its 40th anniversary and to the William A. Ewing grant. The gallery is registered with the Gouvernement du Québec’s Placements Culture program.

OPTICA would like to thank the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Johanne Bédard, adviser, Institutional Affaires, Marie-Justine Snider, curator, as well as Michel de Broin, the gallery’s board of directors, and the personnel and volunteers who helped with the benefit.


Engin Michel de Broin, Engin, 2005.
Inkjet print, b/w
40 x 50 cm
Edition 2/5
1 750$ (framed)

Tortoise Michel de Broin, Tortoise, 2006.
Inkjet print, b/w
40 x 50 cm
Edition 1/5
1 650$ (framed)

Smoke Michel de Broin, Smoke, 2010.
Inkjet print, b/w
40 x 50 cm
Edition 1/5
1 650$ (framed)

Monument Michel de Broin, Monument, 2006.
Inkjet print, b/w
40 x 50 cm
Edition 1/5
1 650$ (framed)

Conseil des arts du Canada Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec Ville de Montréal Relations internationales Québec Conseil des arts de Montréal
placementsculture Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec Jean-Marc Côté - Imprimeur réZin  

Michel de Broin's latest exhibition, presented at Jessica Bradley ARTS + PROJECTS (Toronto) from February 18th to March 17th, is the subject of a newly published article by Sarah Milroy, Michel de Broin : Bright Matter (Canadian Art, March 8th 2012).


40 ans de diffusion au service de la création, de l’édition et de la recherche en arts visuels!
May 1st 2012
Devenez membre

Sign up as a member and in return for contributing to the growth and development of the centre and its projects, your donation will bring you many advantages. Aside from receiving news by mail about all the centre's activities and production, you will benefit from reductions of up to 30% on OPTICA publications. As a new member, you will also enjoy benefits provided by our partners, including 35% off subscription to the Ciel Variable et esse arts + opinions, and free passes to Montreal museums (Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Canadian Centre for Architecture, McCord Museum), depending on your contribution.

OPTICA needs the community’s support to achieve its goals. Your contribution is crucial to its mandate, whether for creative research or for the dissemination of contemporary art. Moreover, your gesture will guarantee the best possible service to the artists and curators.

Click on this link Reply-card::Become a member fill it out and return it at OPTICA, 372, Ste-Catherine Ouest #508, Montréal, Qc, H3B 1A2. For more information, please contact Josianne Monette: communications@optica.ca

© Cynthia Girard, 2011.

Cynthia Girard
From May 12th 2012 to June 16th 2012
Pierre Vallières + Josée Yvon

The tortoise-woman shows us a finger
dictatorship censors her ass

Ballons soaring high
as their single eye
keeps watch

Women on the run raise barricades
owl women
butterfly women
masked women
dreamy women
lascivious, a finger caught in the flying parrot’s beak
as pennant banners herald
school / prison / hospital

Birds and insects
like museologists
watch over what’s left of our dreams

Pierre Vallières painted to the quick
revolutionary and luminous
sparrows like Cinderella’s titmice
fly with his face
an evening dress
for a revolutionist’s thought

Josée Yvon’s writings haunt this project
revolutionary ideologies repainted
melding the imaginary and the political

What will tomorrow’s utopias be
working out a passage between
free-market economics and

Taking up the surrealist dream in a world where
animals are our accomplices
sheltered from language
united with our denuded
bio-politized bodies

Silent, worried but victorious
lascivious, vengeful,
in the undergrounds of imagination

Cynthia Girard

The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseils des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Cynthia Girard's "Pierre Vallières et Josée Yvon" exhibition is the subject of an article by Jérôme Delgado, f(r)ictions politiques (Le Devoir, June 2nd-3rd 2012) and Kevin Rodgers, «Cynthia Girard», ART PAPERS, September / October 2012, p.56. It is also mentioned in the portefolio "Ideals of Painting" by Anne-Marie Ninacs (esse arts + opinions, no. 76, fall 2012, p. 71) and in Vie des arts's webzine by Hélène Brunet Neumann, Trafic de sens et d'éclats (Vie des arts, webzine, June 1 2012.

A painter and a poet, Cynthia Girard was born in Montreal and holds an MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London (1998). She produced and exhibited “Pavillon du Québec” (2001-2003), a well-received series of paintings revisiting figuration. In London and Berlin—international residencies from the Canada Council for the Arts (Space, London, 2005-6) and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2008-9)—she furthered a pluridisciplinary practice of unbridled imagination that draws on art history, encyclopaedias, and literature. Her paintings, installations, and performances have been shown in many exhibitions throughout Québec, North America, and Europe. She lives and works in Montréal.

© Julie trudel, Test 44, projet CMYK project, 2011. Acrylique, encre de sérigraphie et gesso sur contreplaqué | Acrylic, silk screen printing ink and gesso on plywood. 35 x 35 cm. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist. Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay.

Julie Trudel
From May 12th 2012 to June 16th 2012
Projet CMYK - phase 2

Julie Trudel endorses a reflexive approach, focusing on the canvas’ production method and the image of the painting itself. She explores the interstices between order and the aleatory, and questions the tensions between constraint and freedom. Her practice rests on a systematic exploration of simple, rigorous, and serially-repeated working protocols, which, paradoxically, involve chance: a restricted colour palette, predefined application procedures, all-over composition. . . Through the repetition of such operations, the selected procedures reveal all their potentiality in paintings of remarkable perceptual complexity.

Thus, Trudel presents “CMYK – phase 2,” a project in which she limits her palette to the four printer colours—cyan, magenta, yellow, and black—the colour model referred to in the title. By imposing such a restraint, the artist avoids the more decorative considerations derived from the mix of pink, grey, and yellow selected from a Web chart for her previous series, titled “rgb(127, 28, 174) rgb(238, 238, 0) rgb(229, 229, 229),” the internationally recognized acronym recalling the three additive primary colours (red, green, blue) from which the typically digital RGB colour space is derived. The body of work exhibited at OPTICA rather variegates on combinations derived from the subtractive colour process, as the secondary colours green, violet or vermilion appear throughout Trudel’s controlled drippings, in puddles and tondi.

Indeed, drip by drip, the primary pigments blend together, physically and optically, thanks to the skillful mix of industrial water-based screenprinting inks and transparent acrylic paint, dilutions and alternations for which the instructions are carefully recorded by the artist on the back each work. In fact, she declares an interest in “the entropy of colour mixing,” an exploration closely tied to the materiality and creative process of the painting, beyond strictly visual considerations. Possible references to the Plasticiens (Claude Tousignant), Color Field Painting (Kenneth Noland), and Op Art (Bridget Riley), among others, are fully acknowledged. Trudel’s practice is in line with a real tradition of creative research in abstract painting, which she proves a fertile ground.

Geneviève Bédard

The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts, L’aire libre and l’Atelier Clark.

Julie Trudel's "Projet CMYK - phase 2" was the subject of an article by Sophie Busby published on The Belgo Report, Optica - Projet CMYK -phase 2 (The Belgo Report, May 30th 2012) and a Radio capsule has been broadcast during the In situ radio show, aired on CIBL, June 5th, at 7pm. Capsule : Julie Trudel (In situ, June 5th 2012)

Julie Trudel has taken part in numerous group shows, including “Collison 8” (Parisian Laundry, 2012), “(Re)penser la peinture” (Lilian Rodriguez, 2011), and “Peinture frâche et nouvelle construction” (Galerie Art Mûr, 2010). She recently presented her first solo exhibition, “Projet CMYK – phase 1,” at the Maison de la culture Maisonneuve, marking the end of her master’s studies in visual and media arts at UQAM. A semifinalist at the RBC Canadian Painting Competition (Power Plant, Toronto, 2011), she was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts (2012), and her paintings are part of several private collections in Canada and in France.


Annulation de la loi 78
May 18th 2012

The following document is only available in French :
Ce 17 mai, le gouvernement libéral de Jean Charest a déposé à l’Assemblée nationale le projet de loi 78 sous l’appellation « Loi permettant aux étudiants de recevoir l’enseignement dispensé par les établissements de niveau postsecondaire qu’ils fréquentent. Pour lire le projet de loi dans son intégralité, cliquez ici : Projet de loi no. 78

Le projet de loi 78 remet en cause beaucoup plus que le droit de grève des étudiants du Québec qui s’opposent depuis plus d’un an à la hausse des frais de scolarité de 82%. Avec cette trouvaille, le gouvernement s’attaque directement au droit associatif des étudiants, mais aussi à la liberté d’expression de tous les Québécois. Il transforme ni plus ni moins chaque citoyen, chaque parent et chaque enseignant en policier. Il donne également à une seule personne, soit la nouvelle ministre de l’Éducation, le pouvoir de modifier toutes les lois en vigueur au Québec sans consulter la population, les députés de l’Assemblée nationale, ni même ses collègues.

Il s’agit d’un projet de loi qui dépasse largement le cadre de la grève étudiante et qui est, à sa face même, inconstitutionnel. Remplir le formulaire suivant vous permet de soutenir et même, éventuellement, de participer à sa contestation devant les tribunaux afin de l’invalider.

Pour plus d'informations, veuillez lire le communiqué de la Clinique Juridique Juripop dont les avocats ont été mandatés pour contester le projet de loi 78 http://bit.ly/J5SjP4

Une initiative de la FECQ

© Catherine Bodmer, Quinto piso (Susana), de la série Casas series, 2011. Impression au jet d'encre | Inkjet print. 61 x 61 cm. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Catherine Bodmer
From September 8th 2012 to October 13th 2012

Catherine Bodmer’s practice, which encompasses installations, site-specific works, and photographs, evolves around notions of transformation, repetition, and fluidity. Bodmer explores both real and imaginary spaces, along with the (con)fusion of the two enabled by digital processing. She creates series of “image loops” through manipulations of pictorial elements: beyond the documentary function or narrative potential of photography, she examines its (alleged) transparency and the construction of images, meticulously sculpted one pixel at a time.

Her recent production is the result of two residencies in Mexico City, in 2010 and 2011. Bodmer eschews explicit cultural references to focus on creating a sense of place: “I try to circumscribe a place, [. . .] to recognize it as the configuration of several variables in which nothing remains constant.” In a city abounding in people and things, she concerns herself with uncontrived in-between and outlying areas, conjuring a certain vulnerability and precariousness in everyday life. After her Camellones—median dividers along roadways—she shifts her eye to the roof- terraces in the Casas series, in which each title refers to a floor number and a building resident’s name. Scattered with utilitarian objects, these singular (non-)places reveal themselves as natural extensions of interior living spaces.

Within a project that consists in part in reconsidering urbanity and its infrastructures while revealing the exhaustion of modernist utopia,(1) the polished look, the frontal point of view, and the diptych arrangement lend the works a neutral, almost scientific outlook. Yet, from one image to the next, subtle alterations appear in the architecture and landscape: “there is some ‘doing’ and ‘undoing’ here, some addition, deletion, and reversal.”(2) Though she claims to take a generally intuitive approach, Bodmer admits of two recurring principles in her work: symmetry and the loop, agents at once of orientation and disorientation. The artist thus creates an ambivalence that directs the gaze, triggers comparisons (differences/similarities, true/false), and breaks spatiotemporal unity, thus opening up fertile and unlooked-for breaches in one’s reading of the images.

Geneviève Bédard

(1)Idea developed by Marie-Ève Charron in the essay “Des particules urbaines,” in the forthcoming publication Catherine Bodmer - Mexico DF (détails), Alma, SAGAMIE édition d'art, 2012.
(2)Nathalie Guimond, “Catherine Bodmer, Duo” (Centre Clark, Montreal, September 2 – October 9, 2010), Ciel variable, no 87, January – May 2011, 73.

Meet Catherine Bodmer: Saturday, September 29, at 3 p.m. (during the Journées de la culture).

The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Catherine Bodmer's "Casas"exhibition, presented at OPTICA from September 8th to October 13th, is the focus of a newly published article by Jérôme Delgado, Mexico, du septième ciel (Le Devoir, Saturday, September 29th 2012, p.E9).

The exhibition is also mentioned in the fall issue of Canadian Art, "Agenda" section. Canadian Art, fall 2012, p. 33.

Catherine Bodmer MEXICO DF (DÉTAILS)
Catherine Bodmer's new publication MEXICO DF (DÉTAILS) is now available at OPTICA.

The following text is only available in french
La critique d’art Marie-Ève Charron offre un premier regard sur la plus récente production photographique de l’artiste Catherine Bodmer, découlant de deux résidences de création dans la ville de Mexico en 2010 et 2011.

De son expérience réelle du territoire, Bodmer a décidé d’en partager une forme décantée, produite par la patiente transformation des images devenues le creuset de retouches sédimentées, un matériau joué en symétrie, discontinu et reconfiguré.Ce travail de manipulation donne une impulsion toute particulière à des échappées imaginaires et fictionnelles dans la spatiotemporalité des images, qui ont pour effet de reconsidérer l’urbanisme et les espaces de vie à Mexico. (- extrait du texte)

Catherine Bodmer MEXICO DF (DÉTAILS) Monograph
Author : Marie-Ève Charron
Artist : Catherine Bodmer
Tranlated into English and Spanish
92 pages, color
ISBN: 978-2-923612-36-2
Sagamie éditions d’art, 2012
Price: 30$

Born in Zürich, Switzerland, Catherine Bodmer has lived and worked in Montreal since 1996. She was artistic coordinator for La Centrale/Galerie Powerhouse (1999-2002) and at articule (2004-2009). Her work has appeared in many group and solo exhibitions throughout Canada as well as in Mexico and Taiwan.

© Pierre-Olivier Arnaud, 2012. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Pierre-Olivier Arnaud
From September 8th 2012 to October 13th 2012
a long distance call

Pierre-Olivier Arnaud (Lyon, France), wanders through cityscapes gathering images which he later uses in work that can take a variety of forms: neon sculptures, photos, magazines, but especially posters, black and white prints glued directly onto the wall. Driven by a desire to reveal what lies “at the limits of the frame,” “below and beyond the representation,”(1) he produces collections of signs that confront our relationship with the image. After a stay in Montreal in August 2011, Arnaud presents “a long distance call”, a new body of work that follows in line his “projet : cosmos”—the title of which refers to thus-named hotels expressing the promises of the modernist project, which the artist confronts with their real environments. He classifies them along lines that recall those of the Bechers.

As in his previous series, “here again, the images are residua, at once gathered and (re)photographed images, and the outcome of workshop residues, of the very locus of production [. . .],” says the artist. They are now only the “gestures of images,” making up a residual vocabulary enabling a (re)reading of the “standards of modernity, which then appears not only in a deferred distance but also a deferred time, in which the image and its promises are perpetually bankrupt and delayed,” he says. The dullness in which they are enveloped gives them a distinct status: like “viewing machines for reconsidering the conditions of the gaze,” they question the photographic and its hold on reality, here rendered sans spectacle, sans overt technical prowess. More concerned with the process than with the object, Arnaud emphasizes ephemeral and conceptual aspects, taking a distance from the work’s retinal presentation and traditional format.

Arnaud strives then to produce devices that reexamine the terms of the exhibition’s presentation. With Stéphane Le Mercier, he co-curated “Table d’Hôtes” (2007-2010), an eminently portable exhibition and presentation device composed of a table and two benches, to which they invited artists whose work took forms borrowed from documentation, archives and publishing. Increasingly, he works on such fully integrated scale, each element of the work being integrally part of the whole.

Marie-Josée Lafortune
editing : Geneviève Bédard

(1)Marie de Brugerolle, “Under Exposure,” Rendez-Vous 07, Lyon, 2007 (our translation).

This exhibition is a presentation of the Leden association and received funding from the Ministère de la culture, DRAC Rhône-Alpes.

Born in 1972, Pierre-Olivier Arnaud lives and works in Lyon. Besides his curatorial projects, he has taken part in numerous exhibitions in Europe, including at the MAMCO (Geneva) and the Magasin, Centre national d’art contemporain (Grenoble). He is represented by art: concept (Paris)

Page d'accueil | Front page: www.optica.ca.

Archi-féministes! (Volet I et II) : exposition virtuelle
From September 9th 2012 to September 1st 2014

2012 marks two important milestones for OPTICA: it has been 40 years since the gallery was founded by William Ewing, in 1972, and 20 since the Optica Art Gallery fonds was established at Concordia University Archives. From November 2011 to February of this year, “Archi-féministes!” (Parts I and II) highlighted the exceptional nature of this dual jubilee by bringing together a significant body of work, past and present, by women who’ve contributed to the centre throughout its history. We are following up with our very first virtual exhibition, in which curators’ textual reflections and reproductions of the artists’ work will be made available online until September 2014. Links to prior work, as catalogued in “Decades,” supplement the gallery exhibition with original documents and unpublished contemporary images. Happy viewing!

© Mathieu Latulippe, Pavillon de l'Uchronie, Exposition Universelle de Nulle Part, 2010. Matériaux mixtes | Mixed media. 120 x 110 x 180 cm. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist. Photo : Louis-Philippe Côté.

Mathieu Latulippe
From October 1st 2012 to December 31st 2012
Résidence de recherche jeune création (Valence)

Mathieu Latulippe was the lucky recipient of the research residency, Résidence de recherche jeune création, in Valence, France. The selection committee was composed of art historian and critic for Le Devoir Marie-Ève Charron, artist Manon de Pauw, and the directors of OPTICA and art3, respectively, Marie-Josée Lafortune and Sylvie Vojik.

Latulippe’s multivalent practice is not limited to exhibitions; he explores “certain physical, social and cultural perceptions that influence our way of seeing and sensing the objects, spaces, and people around us.” As part of the residency, he means to broach particular mythologies and to highlight qualities of Romanticism that he discerns in current trends.

Consulat Général de France art3 Région Rhône-Alpes

© Sébastien Cliche, Le château, 2012. Installation audiovisuelle | Audiovisual installation. Gracieuseté de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Montréal / Brooklyn : Sébastien Cliche, Sylvie Cotton, Chelsea Knight + Mark Tribe
From October 20th 2012 to December 1st 2012
Montréal / Brooklyn

“Montréal / Brooklyn”, an encounter between two leading centres of contemporary art in North America, presents a series of paired exhibitions to showcase the bustling vitality of their respective art scenes. Organized under the auspices of the Centre d’art et de diffusion Clark, this unifying event takes the form of a two-part itinerary involving sixteen institutions, close to forty artists, and a whole program of related activities—gallery tours, workshop visits, evening events, etc.

Taking part in this exchange, OPTICA (October 20 – December 1) and Momenta Art (January 13 – February 17) will present the works of Sébastien Cliche, Sylvie Cotton, Chelsea Knight, and Mark Tribe. Through fiction, encounters, documentary strategies of identification, these four artists are essentially focused on relationships with the Other. Cliche and Cotton map out the spaces of the gallery and the city, drawing upon random events to apprehend the real and maintaining a close relationship with writing and sound as plotting devices. Knight and Tribe focus on the vigilante paramilitary aesthetic; highlighting the performative aspect of vigilantism by way of a screened choreography, they explore the movement’s historical and ideological origins. While not attempting to define a specifically regional aesthetic, each artist explores realities that emerge from distinct places and contexts.

Maps and schedules are available at www.montrealbrooklyn.com

Holding a visual and media arts MFA from Université du Québec à Montréal, and the recipient of the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman post-graduate fellowship in contemporary art (2012), Sébastien Cliche uses narrative explorations of image, text, and sound to interrogate the limits of narration and the spectator’s place in its construction. His work takes the form of photographs, installations, web projects, and audiovisual performances. Besides his many solo and group exhibitions—including at the Centre d’art contemporain de Meymac (France, 2008) and at l’Œil de poisson (Quebec City, 2010)—his works have appeared in well-known festivals, such as L’inertie agitée/Restless Inertia at the MUTEK International Festival of Digital Creativity (Montreal, 2010) and PAISAJES at the 30e Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (Montreal, 2012). As curator, he produced, among others, the touring exhibition L’Oreille dans l’œil/The Hearing Eye (Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, 2007-2008). Sébastien Cliche lives and works in Montreal.

The artist would like to thank the ARC PHONO research group for allowing him to use their phonographic archives as part of this exhibition.

Like her own education—engaging in art, literature and museum studies during the 1980s and 1990s—Sylvie Cotton’s practice is highly eclectic: installations, performance, drawing, photography, writing, etc. Cotton says that she is interested in “situations offered up by experience,” which she then “expends into the field of art.” Her work has been presented in exhibitions, biennials and festivals, both in Quebec and abroad: in 2011, she was part of the 7th Biennale internationale en art contemporain de Montréal and the 2nd Québec Triennial at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Conducting workshops, Cotton has also been coordinator at DARE-DARE, Centre des arts actuels Skol, and Centre d’art et de diffusion Clark, Montreal. She has published two artist’s books (Je préfère tout and On est tous la même personne), as well as a monograph on artist residencies, DÉSIRER RÉSIDER, having had such experiences herself at the Studio du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec in Finland (2001) and in Tokyo (2011), among others. Sylvie Cotton lives and works in Montreal.

Chelsea Knight holds a B.A. from Oberlin College (Ohio) and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Often collaborating with other artists, her work mostly consists of performances, video installation, and photography. Her pieces were exhibited and screened in both group shows and biennials—such as the Bucharest Young Artists’ Biennial (Romania, 2010) and the 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial (Turkey, 2007)—as well as solo exhibitions—most recently I Am Not A Man, Not Now, at the Brooklyn Museum (New York, 2012). A Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Fellow at the Sam Fox Graduate School of Art, Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri, 2011-2012), she completed residencies at the Whitney Independent Study Program (New York, 2009), the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (Maine, 2008), and was a Fulbright Fellow at the Michelangelo Pistoletto Foundation (Italy, 2007), among others. Chelsea Knight lives and works in New York City.

Mark Tribe holds a BA from Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island, 1990) and an MFA from the University of California (San Diego, La Jolla, 1994). His work explores the intersection of media technology and politics. His performances, photographs, installations, and videos are exhibited widely; recent solo projects were hosted by the San Diego Museum of Art (2012), the Cinémathèque Française (Paris, 2012), and the Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic (Zagreb, Croatia, 2011), among others. In 1996, he founded Rhizome, an organization that supports the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology. He is the author of two books—The Port Huron Project: Reenactments of New Left Protest Speeches (Charta, 2010) and New Media Art (Taschen, 2006)—as well as numerous articles. An Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media Studies at Brown University, he also teaches in the Art Practice MFA program at the School of Visual Arts (New York). Mark Tribe lives and works in New York City.

Geneviève Bédard + Marie-Josée Lafortune


"Montreal / Brooklyn" is briefly mentioned and recommended in an article by Marie-Ève Charron Galeries et centres d'artistes - Portés par l'engagement et les échanges (Le Devoir, August 25th 2012).

"Montreal /Brooklyn" is the subject of a two published articles by Jérôme Delgado Montréal / Brooklyn : un échange entre deux villes férues d'art contemporain, Le Devoir, September 21 2012 and Brooklyn, P.Q., Le Devoir, January 26 2013. It is also acknowledged in two articles by Eric Clément, Clark lance Montréal / Brooklyn : Regarts croisés , La Presse, September 21 2012 and Allun Williams à la source de Montréal-Brooklyn, La Presse, October 22, 2012.

John Pohl, Brooklyn and Montreal team up at eight galleries, The Gazette, October 27, 2012.

Hrag Vartanian, This weekend, Brooklyn heads to Montreal for a Monthlong Art Festival, Hyperallergic (USA), October 18, 2012.

Hrag Vartanian, Art Rx: Brooklyn/Montreal Edition, Hyperallergic (USA), January 8, 2013.

MG, Quand Montréal rencontre Brooklyn, Clin d’œil blogue, January 14, 2013.

Marie-Joëlle Parent, La culture québécoise rayonne à Brooklyn, Journal de Montréal, January 24, 2013.

Gail Victoria Braddock, Sébastien Cliche, Sylvie Cotton, Chelsea Knight and Mark Tribe, Brooklyn / Montreal Exchange, The Brooklyn Rail, (Brooklyn, USA), March 2013.

Radio interview
Mélanye Boissonnault, Quand Montréal rencontre Brooklyn, Désautels, Radio-Canada, Première châne, October 18, 2012.

Simon Paradis, « Montréal/Brooklyn Épisode 5: Openings », Montréal/Brooklyn, documentary, HD, color, 8 minutes, 2013.