March 29, 2017 [originally published in Fall 2011] — The complete content of CV89 is now available online including porfolios of Lynne Cohen, Ewa Monika Zebrowski and Sylvie Readman, essays about Modernist Photography in Quebec, the MBAM, John Max, Hervé Guibert, an interview with Marie-Josée Jean and several reviews (Patrick Ward, Claude-Philippe Benoit, Pascal Grandmaison, Shadow Catchers, Greg Staats, Fiona Tan, Chih-Chien Wang, Wanda Koop, Wang Qingsong, Charles Gagnon, Vincent Lavoie).
[Fall 2011] Being attentive to the environments that one passes through. All these passageways, these enigmatic and inhospitable spaces: entrance halls, waiting rooms, and showrooms with incongruous décors, laboratory rooms with indecipherable functions. All these buildings that one sees on urban access roads, some of them abandoned, that compose a purely functional environment, with no […]
[Fall 2011] Being attentive to the environments that one passes through. all these passageways, these enigmatic and inhospitable spaces, all those buildings that one sees on urban access roads, sometimes abandoned, that compose a purely functional environment. This, compared to the old city, to sites shaped by time, proximity, a different pace of life … […]
March 27, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — Lynne Cohen has been photographing generic architectural interior spaces for several decades. Photographing rooms is, and has always been, her subject. Some of these rooms are health spas, classrooms, and hotel lobbies, while others are more sinister – laboratories, control rooms, and military sites. In a Cohen photograph, however, even an innocent health and relaxation facility can appear in an unusually “posed” mode.
March 23, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — “The issue is clear: truth or life; history or art,” writes Nietzsche in the opening pages of his Seconde considération intempestive1. The living, fragile and fleeting, are lost from the objective spectacle of history. This will remain so as long as we make history a succession of factual data rather than a return to an “internal time consciousness.”2 Words engender linearity, whereas the experience of time is formed of simultaneities and twists.
March 21, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — What do we see? Somewhere on the urban periphery, a parallelepiped of concrete topped with an azure tarp sits on a rectangle of asphalt. Elsewhere, the whitewashed wall of a shed rises behind a section of suspended electrical wires. We come upon other indeterminate pieces of land, other uninhabited buildings. The photographs’ titles correspond to the toponymy of industrial sectors that appear more or less abandoned…
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…
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 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 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 2, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — With Monologue, Patrick Ward has skilfully edited together a pool of handheld footage culled from video-sharing Web sites. In silence, a single and anonymous viewpoint scans, probes, and travels through a labyrinthine interior. As the viewer follows, ambling down dark halls, peering into basements, moving from room to room, an impossible ruin begins to take form. Ward’s exhibition is the first part of Skol’s novel thematic program, Unknown Artist.
February 23, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — Blue-tinged icebergs? Handmade plaster sculptures? The sleek, cool signature of Pascal Grandmaison is hard to discern when we first enter his recent exhibition at Galerie René Blouin. His new works hold several surprises: while they continue his investigation of the mediated photographic act, the figure-ground relationship, and the representation of the invisible, the three works included here are rich in metaphor, melancholy, and artistic modesty.
February 21, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — “Shadow Catchers” takes off from the tradition of camera-less photography initiated by William Henry Fox-Talbot, whose photogenic drawings, first displayed to the public in 1839, preceded photography with a camera – a “little bit of magic realized,” as he put it. And we sense his influence on photographers who followed, such as Christian Schad, Lucia Moholy, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Man Ray, whose photogenic drawings…
February 16, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — Grief and loss are guiding principles in Greg Staats’s exhibition “Condolence,” but so, too, are more complex notions of alliance and reconciliation. The exhibition, co-presented by Oboro and Articule galleries and split between these two sites, offers Montrealers rare access to the work of an artist whose works are not often seen in this city.
February 9, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — In Short Sentences, an aptly titled show of recent photographic and video work, Chih-Chien Wang offers a moving photographic journey that is also a poetic reverie on words and things, life and death. The show is fittingly bracketed by an image of the artist’s son asleep, and another of his son being breastfed by his partner, Yushan. In the former, Shaore Lies on Futon, a photograph of his son lying prone on a futon in deep sleep, Wang evokes the fragility of young life.
February 7, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — “Wanda Koop: On the Edge of Experience” is a major attraction of the Prairie Scene festival, the fifth presentation of this biannual event organized by the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to showcase Canadian regional art scenes. Koop’s show, a mid-career retrospective of sorts, consists of four chronologically arranged sections and offers a sampling from eight of the artist’s many series.
February 2, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — Wang Qingsong’s photo scenarios focus on the ambiguities of China’s changing cultural identity and internal clash of ideologies. Pick Up the Pen, Fight to the End (1997) mimics a late Cultural Revolution poster, Take Up the Struggle of Polemics and Struggle to the End (1975), also on view. We see a girl wearing a Young Pioneers red scarf; Mao’s Little Red Book is on the table.
[Fall 2011] This article was originally published only in French. You can read it by switching over to the French version of this page. Artists’ Magazines: An Alternative Space for Art (Cambridge, MIT Press, 2011, 376 p., angl.) The Dead (Toronto, The Magenta Foundation, 2010, n.p., angl.) Angela Grauerholz. The Inexhaustible image… épuiser l’image (Ottawa, […]
January 24, 2017 [originally published in CV89 in Fall 2011] — Marie-Josée Jean became director of VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine in 2002, after organizing the sixth and seventh presentations of Mois de la Photo à Montréal. For the last ten years, her research has focused on the theory and practice of image-based and conceptual art. For VOX, she has organized exhibitions by John Baldessari, Bill Vazan, Marcel Duchamp, Maria Eichorn, …