BNL MTL 2011: The 7th Montréal Biennale
01 – 31 May 2011
at the former École de beaux-arts de Montréal /
La Fondation Guido Molinari /Le Cinéma du Parc www.biennalemontreal.org
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(Clockwork from top left) Karilee Fuglem “There’s a place on my back that ins’t there” (2005) courtesy of the artist and Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporain; John Bock, “Nothingness under the jaw” (2011) courtesy of the artist and Regen Projects; Lois Andison “Heartbreaking 91″ (2009) courtesy of the artist and Art Mür; David Armstong Six “The Law of the Excluded Middle” (2010) courtesy of the artist and Parisian Laundry; Rodney Graham “Good Hand Bad Hand” (2010) courtesy of the artist and Lisson gallery
BNL MTL 2011, the seventh edition of La Biennale de Montréal will open from Sunday 1st until Tuesday 31st May 2011. Curated by Claude Gosselin, executive and artistic Director of CIAC (Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal) and David Liss, artistic director of MOCCA (Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto), the theme of the biennale is “La Tentation du hazard / Elements of Chance”. It is inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s 1897 poem “Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hazard / A Throw of the Dice Will Never Abolish Chance” which pushed formal boundaries by allowing its readers to choose a starting point and reading order; each person’s experience of the poem is therefore unique—and a matter of happenstance. Since its publication, the poem inspired many works of art. According to Gosselin, “Chance touches on the very idea of freedom. To give yourself over to chance is to embrace freedom, the unknown, total openness.”
(Clockwork from top left) Ron Ethridge “Thanksgiving 1984″(2009); Thomas Demand “Heldenorgel” (2009);
Elad Lassry “Man 071″ (2008); Jim Goldberg “Man who found a rancid goat in city dump to eat ” (2007)
Kent Monkman “Mary” (2011) High definition video. Courtesy Bailey Fine Arts, Toronto
Nearly two decades ago, I visited the National Museum of the American Indian in Harlem (It relocated in One Bowling Green, New York City in 1994). An art student at the time, I was curious to find links between my upbringing in Japanese Shinto religion and the Native American’s worship of nature. I vaguely remember the features of this space, but I did notice that only a handful of visitors were in the museum and, after settling in for a while, I could hear echoes of drumming in the hallways. When I followed the sound I found a man presumably in his early 30s, playing on a traditional animal skin drum, singing a song of folklore. He wasn’t dressed in any overstated ceremonial costume but simply festooned with ornaments on his long dark hair. Children and adults gathered around as the man continued his performance, in this space dimly lit to preserve the nearby artifacts stored behind glass cases. A split-second later, my eyes were blinded by a flash of light, coming from the camera of an elderly person standing next to me. The singing man sternly frowned, ceased playing. He spoke in the elderly person’s direction, in a firm yet polite manner: “Please don’t take my picture because I’m not an exhibition display”. After a measured pause and palpable tension in the air, the man resumed his drumming with dignity.
Kent Monkman’s exhibition “My treaty with the crown” recalled in me this buried memory of the proud signing man, I may have completely forgotten otherwise. The exhibition proffers multilayered narratives and profound symbolism from Monkman’s work, together with other paintings, objects and ornaments from the collection of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the McCord Museum of Canadian History.
This week’s pick ‘n’ mix from London, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Paris, LA, Long Beach and New York
Urs Lüthi “Self-portrait with a bird” (detail), 2009, Image courtesy of the artist and Gallery S O. Photo by Alicia Luxer
Event: Drawing 2011 Biennial Fundraiser at Drawing Room, Exhibition dates: 7 April to
18 May. Auction night: 18th May 2011. Artists include: Fiona Banner, Cornelia Parker, Angela De La Cruz, Bob & Roberta Smith, Richard Long, Hamish Fulton, Goshka Macuga, Paula Rego, George Shaw, John Stezaker, Erik Van Lieshout have given among many other established and emerging artists in the UK and abroad.
Dana Vajda in collaboration with Willie Brisco, with contributions by a.o. Fia Backström, Melanie Gilligan, The Otolith Group, Patrick Staff, Superflex. “Holoddecks (and Other Spaces)” at FormContent, 7 Apr – 8 May 2011 (Opening on Thursday 7 April 2011 6.30–9pm) Curated by Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh
For the exhibition at Chinese Arts Centre, London based design collective Household and Dario Utreras, a former member of Household have created works that explore the relationship between machines and their users. The smooth operation of our daily lives relies heavily on the assistance of various machines. Technology makes our life easy but frustrates us when it lets us down. The exhibition highlights our reliance on machines to complete daily tasks and emphasises the potential for human error.