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ART & POWER — Reading the collection through civic engagement

ART & POWER Reading the collection through civic engagement

October – December 2018

MONTREAL : This fall, Arsenal Contemporary Montreal explores the concept of power through a new presentation of its collection. The selection of primarily recent works alludes to a decadent world with increasingly visible limits – daily violence, terrorist acts, armed conflicts, migrations… Drawing critical force from current news, the artists’ practices allow us to examine the relationships of power, scrutinize human relations and develop new approaches to our collective moment. This selection invites visitors to shift perspectives, adopting new postures towards contemporary life.

The installation is comprised of two large rooms and three multimedia spaces with works expressing their power through a range of formal and conceptual devices. By exploring the historical, political, sociological, and cultural aspects of our society, the artists raise issues worthy of our collective and personal reflection. Ultimately, the selection of works by local, national and international artists encourages awareness and attunes us to the many influences and forms of authority directing our gaze.

Above : Amalia Ulman, Privilege 3/3/2016, 2016 (Courtesy of the artist & Arcadia Missa)

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Fall 2018 : TD Cultural Tuesdays x Danse Danse

Fall 2018 : TD Cultural Tuesdays x Danse Danse

Montreal, September 19, 2018

 

MONTREAL : Arsenal Art Contemporary, in collaboration with Danse Danse and TD Bank Group, announces the return of TD Cultural Tuesdays for the fall 2018, with a Focus : Dance & Creative Research. Composed of three residencies, each coupled with a TD Cultural Tuesday event, this special season aims to offer a unique look on the dance creative process.

Since 2015, Arsenal Art Contemporary allows you to discover local talents by creating partnerships with various artistic and cultural organizations. This fall, we are pleased to reiterate our partnership with Danse Danse to offer you an eclectic and eloquent experience of choreographic art. The program will be punctuated by artistic residencies by Tentacle Tribe, La Otra Orilla + guest artist for OFF-CINARS and Kim-Sanh Châu, who will occupy our space to further develop and present their explorations.  Is the body, in a perpetual quest of spatial understanding, defined by its dynamism or by its static outline? The relationship of a body – a being – to its environment must be tirelessly questioned, and that is what the artists of Danse Danse aim to do this fall at Arsenal Art Contemporary.

Founded in 1998, Danse Danse is involved in the development and diffusion of contemporary dance by local and international artists. For this 21st season, the distributor uses our collective memories to weave the narrative of its performances and look in a progressive way at political and identity matters that shape our humanity and our quests for meaning. By promoting synergies between disciplines, the creation proposed by Danse Danse combines visual arts, theater and music to physicality in order to present unique and diversified works. By letting themselves be inspired by the uniqueness of Arsenal Art Contemporary, the dancers and choreographers will be creating a transdisciplinary exchange with the public.

 

PROGRAMMING

TENTACLE TRIBE
September 24 to October 5, 2018 : Residency
October 2, 2018 : TD Cultural Tuesday – Tentacle Tribe

OFF-CINARS : LA OTRA ORILLA + artist tbd
November 10 – 17, 2018 : Residency
November 13, 2018 : TD Cultural Tuesday – OFF-CINARS

KIM SANH CHAU
December 5 – 18, 2018 :  Residency
December 11, 2018  : TD Cultural Tuesday –  Kim-Sanh Châu


For the price of $10, each Mardi Culturel TD ticket includes a free drink. More details to come.

Arsenal Contemporary would like to thank its partners TD Bank Group and Danse Danse.

Slow Time : Patrick Coutu at Magasin Général

Slow Time: Patrick Coutu at Magasin Général


by Anna Kovler

At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, near the small community of Rivière-la-Madeleine on the Gaspé Peninsula, Patrick Coutu is working on a series of direct casts of mountains. This is no easy task, as he balances on steep cliffs surrounding a waterfall to adhere the casting material – paper pulp – to the surface. His choice of material evokes the location’s industrial past, once part of the booming network of pulp and paper mills, foundries, textile factories, and aluminum smelters that operated along the St. Lawrence in countless numbers. The Great Eastern Paper Company is long gone from this location, but the rocks of the Appalachian Mountains are still here, fixtures that change at a slower pace than industry and its fickle cycles.

Coutu cast those parts of the rock face where fault lines run like veins through the vast mountain formations, signaling the sudden shifts or long-term erosion, which change the surface of the earth. Like a scar that unmistakably suggests something has occurred, points of cleavage mark a moment of change and reveal the rock’s interior structure. The series of casts connects the mountains with the trees that surround them, and thus geological changes with industrial ones.

Indeed changes in land formations mirror the changes in towns and industries, only at a different time scale. It was 134 years from the time when the first Canadian wood pulp mill was established in Québec in 1866 until the year 2000 when the paper industry entered its sharp decline. The Appalachian Mountains formed about 480 million years ago.

The building where Coutu’s series of casts is on view speaks to yet another shifting landscape. His project is part of a residency at Magasin Général, an international residency program and exhibition space occupying a 19th century building, originally the village’s general store. With the paper mill gone and the town no longer a “boom town,” new kinds of economies emerge, and an outdated business like a general store transforms into an international residency. Retaining the building’s original name is a bit like looking for fault lines in the mountain; we are drawn to know the history of a town and a landscape, and to wear our scars proudly.

Patrick Coutu’s new series and the exhibition “Natural Loci” was produced as part of the residency at Magasin Général Studio International en creation multidisciplinaire in Rivière-la-Madeleine, Québec, and is on view until August 12, 2018.

Upcoming exhibitions for Coutu will take place at at Choi and Lager in Cologne, Germany in December, 2019, and at Musée d’art de Joliette in fall of 2019.

Patrick Coutu, Flux III, Fosse, 2018. Enamel and acrylic on paper.

Patrick Coutu, Flux I, Grand Sault, 2018. Enamel and acrylic on paper.

Patrick Coutu adhering paper pulp to the mountain in Rivière-la-Madeleine on the Gaspé Peninsula, 2018.

Patrick Coutu adhering paper pulp to the mountain in Rivière-la-Madeleine on the Gaspé Peninsula, 2018.

Magasin Général Studio International en creation multidisciplinaire in Rivière-la-Madeleine, Québec.

Archival image of the machine room at the Canada Paper Company in 1894.

Acting at the End of the World: Ed Fornieles at Galerie Wedding, Berlin

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Acting at the End of the World: Ed Fornieles at Galerie Wedding, Berlin


by Anna Kovler

Ed Fornieles is interested in the ways that people create and inhabit identities. How susceptible are we to importing preordained, packaged identities? And how vulnerable are we to fantasies and stories morphing into our existing selves? These questions surface time and again in Fornieles’ multidimensional practice. Over the last decade, he has thrown frat parties, fabricated lovable cartoon characters, and created a Facebook sitcom that entails case studies in the mechanics of identity formation. His recent body of work titled SIM Vol 1. includes a series of simulations done over a five-month period with a group of four young people.

When initially viewing Test Studies (2017), a film in which the participants reflect on the experience, one might guess they were immersed in a VR simulation. In fact, the youths were simply having a conversation and role-playing, while seated around a table with Fornieles acting as “Project Director.” Building on simple suggestions made by Fornieles, the participants made the imagined scenarios dimensional. Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic scenarios were chosen as starting points, because of their inherent opportunities for re-examining the world and pushing participants to their ethical breaking points.

“With the alien invasion,” Fornieles explains, “I started off the session with a simple statement, ‘several months ago, an unusual object was spotted in the sky,’ and asked them to describe it. Everything else in the scenario came from them.” The youths’ testimonials reveal just how real this imaginary world became.

“The act of killing her—I wanted to keep it as non-messy as possible,” one participant recalls as she describes murdering a little girl to ensure the safety of the group. “It was strange because she was in such an innocent situation: she was playing… I felt a sense of relief; she felt like a source of danger.” Another participant describes the death of her father from a flu epidemic, followed by her own death.

In the gallery, a manual accompanies the film with detailed instructions on how anyone can stage such simulations at home. “Even if it’s premised on very violent circumstances,” Fornieles notes, “simulating these scenarios can help people to reflect on their moral, ethical parameters, and perhaps do things differently after this reflection.”

Ed Fornieles’ Test Studies (the film) and SIM Vol.1 (the manual) are on view until July 15th, 2018 at Galerie Wedding in Berlin, as part of the group exhibition, “I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes.” Upcoming exhibitions include two large-scale immersive performances, “Absolute Community” at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin from July 13th-15th, 2018, and “The Group” at the Athens Biennale on October 24th, 2018.

Ed Fornieles, Test Studies, 2017, looped HD video (18:17 minutes). (Displayed on a split screen with participant interviews on the left and computer generated imagery on the right). Exhibition Documentation by Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy of Galerie Wedding.

Ed Fornieles, Test Studies, 2017, looped HD video (18:17 minutes). Exhibition Documentation by Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy of Galerie Wedding.

Ed Fornieles, Test Studies, 2017, looped HD video (18:17 minutes) and Sim. Vol.1: Existential Risk, 2017, A4 Book 30 x 21 cm. Ed Fornieles, Test Studies, 2017, looped HD video (18:17 minutes). Exhibition Documentation by Trevor Lloyd. Courtesy of Galerie Wedding.

New exhibition in our spaces: Gilles Carle – Shared Heritage

New exhibition in our spaces: Gilles Carle – Shared Heritage

It is with pleasure that Arsenal Contemporary Montreal will be hosting Shared Heritage, an exhibition bringing together Gilles Carle’s entire body of works, between March 31st and April 13th. Through this artistic celebration, Chloé Sainte-Marie, muse and lover of the filmmaker, wants to offer the visitors a unique opportunity to dive into Carle’s universe. Real witnesses of his life, the 400 artworks that will be reunited in the exhibition will allow for a new tribute to the artist. 

Even if Gilles Carle is primarily known for his work as a movie director and for his contribution to the quebec cinema world – counting more than 35 short and long films including Les Plouffes and La vrai nature de Bernadette –, the exhibition Shared Heritage will explore another part of the creator’s production. Ghatering the whole artist’s pictural production realized between 1972 and 2006, the show will highlight the powerful necessity of the artist to create.

Gilles Carle, Sans titre, feutre lavis 17'' x 14''. Partage et Héritage, Arsenal art contemporain Montréal, 2018. ©Chloé Sainte-Marie

Gilles Carle, Sans titre, feutre lavis 17” x 14”. Partage et Héritage, Arsenal art contemporain Montréal, 2018. ©Chloé Sainte-Marie

A multidisciplinary practice

Inspired by caricature, by comic book, by erotic and satiric drawings as well as by emblematic movements of art history, the drawings and the acrylic paintings of Gilles Carle complete themselves as a real visual diary. The images painted by Carle are sometimes humorous, sometimes naive, but always sensitive and marked by intuition. 

This exhibition aims to share, once again, the artistic and symbolic heritage left by this man in Quebec society. Echoing the multidisciplinary approach of the artist, our spaces will also become the theatre of some projections and testimony, in order to reflect the indelible mark left by this filmmaker. 

The official opening of the exhibition will take place on March 31st.
Join us between 1 pm and 5 pm to discover the works in presence of Chloé Sainte-Marie.

Leonard Cohen: A Force of Nature

Leonard-Cohen-Force-Of-Nature-Jon-Rafman

Leonard Cohen: A Force of Nature


by Anna Kovler

Une brèche en toute chose/A Crack in Everything is Montréal’s epic tribute to Leonard Cohen. The sprawling exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal shows us a man that is larger than life, loved in an immense measure, deified in all his humanity. One cannot take in the entire show except in a hurry, or with the regret of not having seen it all. It is a retrospective, an obituary, a commentary, a missed engagement, a remix, a projection of loss, and a tribute. It features more than 40 artists from around the world, including a sound-installation by Canada’s Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, projections by Jenny Holzer, and an innovative installation-video by Jon Rafman who exhibited recently at Arsenal Contemporary Montreal in 2016 and Arsenal Contemporary Toronto in 2017. The magnitude of the show equals the excess of who Cohen was, to many people and places. But at its best, it is an invitation to enter Cohen’s life and work, again or for the first time.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. The Poetry Machine, 2017. Courtesy Luhring Augustine, New York, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo. All poetry written and performed by Leonard Cohen from Book of Longing. Commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Sébastien Roy.

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller. The Poetry Machine, 2017. Courtesy Luhring Augustine, New York, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, and Koyanagi Gallery, Tokyo.
All poetry written and performed by Leonard Cohen from Book of Longing. Commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Sébastien Roy.

The exhibition produces experiences of Cohen at different scales of intimacy and interaction, and some works manage to take us beyond Cohen himself. There are individual works that isolate viewers, while others reconstruct Cohen in interactive form, like Cardiff and Miller’s The Poetry Machine (2017) which transforms a 1950s organ into key-based generator for Cohen’s poems, played at the whims of the audience.

Rafman’s Legendary Reality (2017) consists of tattered rows of cinema seating with a looping audio-visual work that submerges viewers in a sprawl of digitally processed land and cityscape footage. An existentially displaced voice unfolds over city traffic or through a dark tunnel, pulling together imagery sourced from found photography and video games. While the narrator’s alienation of being displaced in a technological world draws our immediate attention, Rafman’s work multiplies this alienation through a rotoscopic digital processing that gives the work a dizzying, otherworldly effect. The outcome is immersive in color and distortion, and Cohen’s cryptic phrases subtly interject in the slow, uneasy monologue, which unravels like a voice without a place.

Jon Rafman. Legendary Reality, 2017. Single-screen video installation including customized theatre seating. Courtesy the artist, Sprueth Magers, Los Angeles, and Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montréal. Commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Sébastien Roy

Jon Rafman. Legendary Reality, 2017. Single-screen video installation including customized theatre seating. Courtesy the artist, Sprueth Magers, Los Angeles, and Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran, Montréal. Commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Sébastien Roy.

In the end, the curation of Une brèche en toute chose is about the disappearance of Cohen as a figure and his endurance as a voice, a life force, a way of having looked at the world. Cohen is introduced massively and as a focal center, but he begins to noticeably disappear as the exhibition moves toward its end. By the end, he is present only as a mood and a few recognizable phrases in Rafman’s video of a despairing perspective without a world, or as a meditation on death and time in Clara Furry and Marc Quinn’s pairing of choreography and sculpture. There is a certain appropriateness here for someone who continually called us to think deeply about the weight of loss and the meagerness of our human offering to the world

Jenny Hozer. For Leonard Cohen, 2017. Installation View at Silo no. 5, Montréal Photo: George Fok

Jenny Hozer. For Leonard Cohen, 2017. Installation View at Silo no. 5, Montréal
Photo: George Fok.

The location is as important as the show itself. Montréal was the city that raised and formed him, and the home he always returned to. Generations will decide whom he belonged to and what he meant, but this show makes clear that the relation between Montréal and Cohen is consummated. For a short time in November, Jenny Holzer’s projections on Silo No. 5 made Cohen’s words part of the city architecture. Parc du Portugal will remain a spectral landmark of his presence there for so many years. Shows of this scale and in a memorial wake tend to invoke celebration and, in this case, an almost religious admiration. Nowhere is this more evident than in Montréal, where his face is now on a mural at the heart of the downtown corridor. But the truths that made his work powerful should also continue to be hard to hear, humbling and somber.

Leonard Cohen: Une brèche en toute chose/A Crack in Everything is on view at Musée d’Art Contemporain until September 4, 2018. It shows 20 works by 40 artists from 10 countries. It is part of the program for Montréal’s 375th anniversary celebration.

Surprise collaboration with Art Souterrain Festival!

Surprise collaboration with Art Souterrain Festival!

Arsenal Contemporary Montreal is proud to announce a surprise collaboration with Art Souterrain Festival. As part of the 10th edition of the festival, Arsenal will be welcoming an exhibition from March 3 and April 7, and present a collaborative TD Cultural Tuesday on March 13. 

Revolving around the expression Labor Improbus, this year’s edition brings together the practices of Canadian and international artists reflecting on the theme of work.  The exhibition spaces will thus host the works of Naomi Dodds, Nelson Henricks and Stanley Février.

Nelson Henricks will be exploring the notion of work and entertainment, but also the relationship we have with time in his artwork Happy Hours ; Naomi Dodds will be engaging dialogue with the architecture of Arsenal and with the question of industrialization and progress with her work Bridge ; Stanley Février will, on his part, present Strange Fruit, a piece created specially for the festival through which the visitors will be invited to meander. 

As part of the TD Cultural Tuesday, the artist Stanley Février will invite visitors to activate his performative installation. Allegory of the social pressions exerted by the system, the artwork creates a participative space in which the visitor is invited to pick up and transform cotton.

By exploring the close links existing between work and slavery, Février tries to create encounters, reflexions and confrontations around his installation. He invites the public to intervene and to be players constructing their own history.

The exhibition curated by Festival Art Souterrain is presented until April 7 in the heart of our spaces. See our opening times. 

New Works In The Collection: Lea Cetera

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New Works In The Collection: Lea Cetera

Recently acquired in the permanent collection of Arsenal Contemporary Montreal, three pieces by American artist Lea Cetera are now presented at the entrance of our spaces. Brown Table (2015), The Handsome Serial Killer (2015) and Untitled, Tan Railing (2017) are exhibited in such a way that it creates uncertainty in the visitor’s mind. Composed like minimalist sculptures, they unite metal grids, video screen and coffee cups made of porcelain.

cetera-untitled,-tan-railing--2017-southard-reid.

Lea Cetera, Untitled,Tan Railing, 2017. © Southard Reid.

Through her temporal installations, Lea Cetera investigates the relation between object and body, private and public as well as real and virtual. Her practice draws from more popular mediums such as theatre, filmmaking and puppetry and highlights the narrative potential of objects. By combining video elements and sometimes even performative actions to her sculpture, the artist adresses constructed identities and the alienation of the body regarding the omnipresence of technology.

Lea-Cetera-untitled,-tan-railing-2017-southard-reid

Lea Cetera, Untitled,Tan Railing, 2017. © Southard Reid.

Her work also clearly holds a political and feminist message. When we approach the installation  Untitled, Tan Railing enough, for example, we are able to read this sentence on a metallic sheet presented like a commemorative plaque :

« I have this one art idea, where I only concern myself with female artists and writers, learn and read about their work, so much to the point where when someone references a male artist, I am confused and apologize for not knowing who they are talking about. »

This rather satirical phrase allows for the reflection on the place of women in the art eld and in society in general.  The artist thus questions the culture that legitimates the erasure of women and their subjectivities from a major part of human history.

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Lea Cetera lives and works in New York. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from the Cooper Union School of Art. The artist is represented by Southard Reid in London and her work has been shown in many places in the USA as well as internationally in institutions including Art in General, The Jewish Museum and Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.

Lea Cetera pieces are currently exhibited. See our opening times.