The thematic section of this issue presents recent works by three Montreal artists from the perspective of the performative dimension of their images. In these works, the artists stage bodies in situations of intimacy, intrusive proximity, or confrontation with their own fears, to bring to light how loved ones, strangers, and even animals help to form our identity. The first is manifested as a performance designed to be presented as a video and photographic work; the second results from posing in front of the camera in a grouping that makes a tableau; and the third is focused on a series of actions whose images constitute the fulcrum of the artwork. That is, the performative dimension arises essentially from the “other side of the mirror,” during the preparation for taking the picture, and is completed only in the short moment of recording. It is up to us to relive and to feel, in the aftermath, the existential aspect at play in the images.
In Jacynthe Carrier’s work, we are as close as possible to bodies, in an interwoven proximity in which glancing contact and touches seem to intrude into personal space, creating unexpected intimacy in a deserted environment, melding body parts together into a formless mass in which self is dissolved in others. For Marisa Portolese, her Italian grandmother’s final years offered an opportunity to look back at her family, in a garden that embodies her family’s world. The result is a personal work with universal meaning, with hieratically posed portraits and symbolically laden landscapes and still lifes. Kim Waldron stages herself in a ritual of putting to death in order to overcome her own fears. Such experiences with sacrifice of animals intended to become food enable her to accept the complete cycle of food processing, to celebrate and display the beauty of the animal, and to share it in a meal with friends.
In this issue, we also present an interview conducted with Luc Courchesne about the very significant work that he produced for Phyllis Lambert as part of our Sitegeist project, of which we also reveal two new artworks. In the Paroles section, Jean Gagnon’s “Letter to Paul Wombell” looks back on the theme of the most recent Mois de la photo à Montréal and adds some terminological precisions. Finally, the Focus section of this issue is, unusually, composed only of essays about major photographic exhibitions: the 2013 editions of the Contact Festival in Toronto, Le Mois de la photo à Montréal, and the Rencontres d’Arles; this gives us an opportunity to compare the scope and specific aspects of these major events. Have a good read! [Translated by Käthe Roth]