[Summer 2019] Three recent exhibitions oﬀer a rare look at the act of collecting. In Archipel, Serge Clément presents a collection of all the photobooks that he has made – books that can be seen as sequencings of collections of his own images. Bertrand Carrière immerses himself in the collection of the Cinémathèque québécoise, focusing […]
From the manipulation of light (through filtering, combination, or diffraction) to work on the supporting medium (film, photographic paper, walls) to searching out pictorial compositions on city streets, a space of exploration opens up for photography around the various manifestations of colour. The result is images that challenge our perceptions. Often, the referent for these works is abstract painting, with its long tradition of experimentation, but the real also bears its share of perceptual ambiguity with regard to the impact of colours.
More than thresholds, borders have become a kind of non-place – extra-national zones – where migrants’ identities and statuses are examined and their statuses held in suspension for periods that are increasingly long and undetermined. In this issue, we examine certain aspects of the crossing of borders with works that explore how migrants are received and integrated, and the identity-related questions raised by such territorial movements.
The works brought together in this issue look back at significant phenomena and events in recent history to bring them back to memory and assess their current relevance. These are prolific works, with multiple iterations, that take forms as complex as their subjects: an entire field of artistic practices, pioneering works and pivotal moments, and the multiplication of cultural artefacts that are subject to intense ideological manipulations.
This issue’s thematic section shows works that come from a wide variety of places and times, but all are marked by the notion of public visibility. These three bodies of work cover a wide spectrum of what defines the public space for artistic expression, ranging from the societal and cultural context that circumscribes what can be said, to the more specialized professional and worldly network that hosts and nourishes experiments and new artworks, to the civic and urban space in which artworks are put to the test of fitting with people’s daily lives and the constraints of urban planning.
The artists whose works are brought together here under the theme of ruins are interested in capturing the traces of a disappearing world, a world in which the evolution of the photographic image is symptomatic of a more fundamental transformation of culture and social values as a whole.
At first glance, the works presented here might seem to be simply about work on a motif. A more attentive look, however, shows that what is indicated here, in this focus on trees, or icebergs, or clouds, is the shaping of natural elements by human action on a landscape that has become an environment.
Over the years, many photographers have explored Montreal and its neighbourhoods. Their images have captured portraits of residents, the colour and composition of the streets and commercial arteries, and the mixture of cultures that contribute to the quality and diversity of a city, as well as the commitment of residents who create the fabric of communities and sometimes generate resistance to changes that create upheavals in their living environment.
With great sensitivity and remarkable image quality, the works brought together in this section offer a renewed gaze at discredited realities and experiences. They do this by showing us people in their living environments. And yet, it is not individuals that these works offer as much as a certain order of representation, certain priorities, a certain way of seeing things that encourages us to reevaluate them.
There are places where nature’s presence is more intensely felt, where the question of the city’s interrelations with its natural environment emerges more spontaneously. Certain circumstances are also conducive to raising such reflections – among them, sense of unfamiliarity experienced during a stay abroad, obvious deterioration in the equilibrium or beauty of a place, and pressure exerted for appropriation of a public site for private purposes.
Globalization is making us more aware of the realities of the entire planet through news, visits, and business travel. In addition, urbanization and consumer markets are tending to bring cultures and lifestyles ever closer to each other. Even so, and fortunately, diversity and differences remain. What is more, the most radical forms of alterity are found not only outside of our societies but tend to merge with them, and at the same time to change our core identities and our very ideas about universality.