January 20, 2016 — We received two long letters to the editor, by Hannah Claus and by Lori Beavis, written in reaction to Bénédicte Ramade’s essay on the exhibition The Rebel Yells: Dress and Political Re-dress in Contemporary Indigenous Art, published in issue 101 of the magazine (autumn 2015).
November 26, 2015 — I have been reading Ciel variable since 1996. A while ago, its editor-in-chief, Jacques Doyon, asked me to write an essay, destined for the Archives section of the magazine’s website, that would demonstrate “the importance of the magazine as a medium and space of exploration for photography.” And so, over the past few weeks, I have been re-reading…
April 3, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — We present an analysis of the context and strategic positionings that prevailed at the foundation of bal, a French photography institution with its roots in the field of independent press agencies. Although such a reality does not have its equivalent here, Michel Poivert’s viewpoints on the emergence of institutions, the recognition of documentary photography, and the issues in visual media education provide an interesting perspective on the initiatives taken by, and shortcomings of our institutions with regard to photographic issues.
May 17, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — Bringing together twenty-six artists under the title Lucidity. Inward Views, the twelfth edition of Le Mois de la photo à Montréal made the theme that served as its title, if not a template for comprehension, the pivot of its articulations. Through the works in this dense, enriching event, a strongly subjective vision was proposed to viewers. For the artists, “interrogating the world goes hand in hand with interrogating oneself (and vice versa),” according to event curator Anne-Marie Ninacs.1
May 22, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — “Navinland needs YOU,” according to the s.w.a.g. (souvenirs, wearables, and gifts) cum recruitment material of Thai artist of Indian descent Navin Rawanchaikul’s latest staging of his fledgling non-nation. Set up in a bar and restaurant at the entrance to the Giardini, where the permanent national pavilions of the Venice Biennale have been since 1885, Paradiso di Navin: A Mission to Establish Navinland is a parody as astute as it is amusing of the year’s theme of ILLUMInations.
May 24, 2017 [originally published in CV90 in Winter 2012] — The name Serge Emmanuel Jongué (who died in 2006) was not unknown in the photographic community. In his important essay titled “The New Photographic Order,” published in 1990,1 Jongué cast a lucid eye on the issues in Quebec documentary photography in the 1970s. His reinterpretation of the official discourse attached to this photographic school has become a classic for those interested in the history and comprehension of Quebec photographic practices.
March 7, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — From 9 February to 10 April 2011, the Maison européenne de la photographie in Paris presented the first-ever retrospective of the works of photographer and writer Hervé Guibert, comprising some 230 images.1 I had a chance to visit the exhibition on a weekday morning when the museum opened, so I was just about alone in the galleries (something rare at this museum).
March 9, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — In John Max, a portrait, Michel Lamothe proves that an attentive gaze trained on the other may be transmuted into a deep meditation. To create this work, which is as fluid as a fiction film, Lamothe followed the photographer John Max for three years (from 2000 to 2003), accumulating 40 hours of footage – film that he spent months pruning and then editing, in collaboration with Louise Dugal…
March 14, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — The acquisitions of Quebec photography from the 1960s to the 1980s are thus part of the institution’s current recognition of – and seemingly unquenchable gusto for – photographic imagery of all kinds, and these acquisitions have added considerably to the growing photography collection, which now totals over 1,500 works.
March 16, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — There are still many gaps in our knowledge of the history of Quebec photography. I realized this after seeing “Photographes rebelles à l’époque de la Grande Noirceur (1937-1961),” which was held at Maison Hamel-Bruneau in Quebec City. Devoted to photography during the Duplessis era, the exhibition comprised about eighty works…
December 13, 2016 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — When we think of the work of Bernhard and Hilla Becher, a classical eighteenth-century mansion, pristine gardens where Madame de Staël walked, and a spectacular landscape overlooking a lake with the Alps as backdrop is hardly the scene that comes to mind. Strikingly different from the industrial landscapes that captivated the photographers during the second half of the twentieth century, this locale, the Musée de l’Elysée, is the setting for the latest exhibition of their work.
December 15, 2016 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — For the last few years, the campus of Ryerson University in downtown Toronto has been abuzz with the redesign and expansion of the School of Image Arts to accommodate the emerging Ryerson Gallery and Research Centre. Slated to open in fall 2012, this major facility is intended to become an international centre dedicated to photography and related media. To learn more about this ambitious project and the evolving vision guiding it, Ciel variable met with Doina Popescu, who is overseeing the endeavour as its initial director.
December 20, 2016 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — Pierre Gaudard is one of the rare photographers whose photographs are not on the Web. Absent from the photography scene since the mid-1980s because he returned to France and because of the gradual disappearance of the documentary genre from institutions devoted to photography, his name was suddenly resurrected in a press release announcing his death…
August 1, 2016 [originally published in Fall 2010] — In 2004, at Dazibao, “Performance et photographie: Point and Shoot” explored the close connections between performance and photography. In this exhibition, performance images were envisaged beyond their documentary function, as works in their own right. In 2007, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery at Concordia University presented “9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966,” an exhibition devoted to the eponymous evening of experimental performances held in New York in 1966…
August 3, 2016 [originally published in Fall 2010] — In October 2005, my chance meeting with the multidisciplinary artist Françoise Sullivan at the café of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels led to the idea of reviving, almost sixty years later, an early masterpiece of modern dance: Danse dans la neige.
August 8, 2016 [originally published in Fall 2010] — It is obvious – given the statements and actions of the SecondLife Liberation Army, the 3D reconfiguration of the Guantanamo prison filmed by Nonny de la Peña, Liberate Your Avatar by Paul Sermon, works by Agnès de Cayeux, and the productions of Nicolas Boone – that SecondLife, created by LindenLabs, is a territory and space that is widely used by artists, filmmakers, playwrights, and musicians…
August 10, 2016 [originally published in Fall 2010] — A man walks into frame and presses his body into a corner. The camera zooms in on him as he forces his entire body into the confines of the triangular space that he has created. He shifts his hips and squeezes his arms and hands into the small space left between his body and the corner. His movements are slight, yet strenuous; there is a sexual, yet suppressed, almost violent tension in his striving to be absorbed by the architecture.
August 15, 2016 [originally published in Fall 2010] — Tim Clark. Reading the Limits” was produced by the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University. On one level, the exhibition was a retrospective devoted to Tim Clark, a Montreal-based performance artist who produced a series of important works between 1977 and 2003. On another level, it was designed to reopen the question of the contemporary status of the artist and the interstitial – post-1970s/contemporary academic – function of the artwork…
[Fall 2010] documents [de] PERFORMANCE Historic performances are currently being updated in different forms: exhibitions, appropriations, remediations, and re-enactments. These practices raise a number of questions about the status of performance documentation (photos, videos, and films in particular) and how it is interpreted, adressed here through multiple recent examples. DAVID TOMAS Tim Clark. Reading the […]
May 16, 2016 [originally published in Summer 2010] — The impressive piece of public art addresses the very nature of public space. It is named after the two streets that cross at the north corner of the Woodward’s building, on which the artwork is installed. The image inhabits space like a sculpture, grandly overlooking the public and private courtyards of the new complex in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
October 22, 2015 [originally published on May 31, 2010] — “Landscape” photography – that which depicts the territory, the environment, places – is no doubt one of the most widely practised photographic genres, by various categories of picture takers: topographers, explorers, artists, tourists, and amateur photographers.
[Spring 2010] by John K. Grande Andréas Gursky’s incredible take on the contemporary has much to do with the ascent of photography in the contemporary art world. And yet Gursky, as much as any photographier, is to be credited for raising that profile, thanks to his monumental photographic images. It is therefore ironic that for […]
October 15, 2015 [originally published on March 31, 2010] — Looking back over twenty years and trying to retrace the path of experiments with images, we start in the early 1990s, when a couple of newcomers, Alain Paiement and Roberto Pellegrinuzzi, were already starting to turn heads. In an essay published in 1992, Denis Lessard tried to show what these artists owed to the heritage of Pierre Boogaerts, Bill Vazan, and Serge Tousignant.1 He also mentioned the work, then new, of Raymonde April, Lucie Lefebvre, and Denis Farley. This effort at historical perspective was out of place at the time, when the lion’s share of attention in the critical environment was being paid to the rebirth of installation art and the manner in which photography and, soon, the photographic would be inserted into it.
[Fall 2009] Joachim Koester photographs, and sometimes films, invisible events. Since the mid-1990s, he has sought out places that history seems to have touched, then deserted, and finally left to fade away. He sees himself as an archaeologist of the intangible, and thus he asks a question both beautiful and disturbing: Once an event is […]