Myriam Yates, Parcs. Playgrounds — Josianne Poirier

[Summer 2022]

By Josianne Poirier

Optica, Montréal
6.11.2021 — 18.12.2021

For the series of photographs and videos comprising the exhibition Parcs. Playgrounds, Myriam Yates aimed her camera at deserted playgrounds. The facilities that she documented in different New York neighbourhoods in 2018 nevertheless bear the traces of past use and suggest bodies in gymnastic motion. They also bear witness to an era when child development was envisaged differently than it is today: it is not the recent generation of theme parks, with their soft surfaces, that have drawn Yates’s attention.

The heritage of artistic and architectural modernity is a strong current throughout this body of work, in both the materials (concrete, steel, fibreglass) and the minimalist forms shown. One of the climbing structures, photographed frontally, could be a sculpture by Sol LeWitt. In this world of geometric abstraction are hidden a few animal statues, however – little elephants, a whale, a frog – that remind us that these environments, as cold as they are when uninhabited, were intended to be fun for kids. Threaded through the observation of these parks is one of the most important critiques of the design of the modern city: that it does not take sufficient account of the emotional and psychological needs of the people who live in it…
Translated by Käthe Roth

[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 120 – FIGURES OF AFFIRMATION ]
[ Complete article and more images, in digital version, available here: Myriam Yates, Parcs. Playgrounds — Josianne Poirier ]