Antoine Ertaskiran. Courtesy galerie antoine ertaskiran, Montréal
galerie antoine ertaskiran is quickly rising as one of the newest yet most active contemporary art venues in Montréal. Since its official inauguration in September 2012, Ertaskiran has already accumulated a total of seven exhibitions within its main space, alongside a hat trick of art fairs (Toronto 2012, VOLTA NY 2013 and Montréal’s Papier 13). Acknowledging a deep-rooted experience in the art business, director Antoine Ertaskiran discloses to M-KOS a few of his latest ambitions for this new space in the heart of Griffintown.
MKOS: How did you initially start up this gallery project?
Antoine Ertaskiran [AE]: I had the idea to launch my own gallery two years ago. By then, I had already been in the business for 15 years. My father had a gallery in Paris (Galerie Nikolenko) so I grew up in the business, grew up going to museums and art galleries. I was born here [in Montréal] but my family moved to Paris when I was 8 months old, and we stayed there until I was fifteen. Then after high school, I went to University of Montréal to study Art history and started working with my father even before I finished my degree. We had a family-run gallery on Sherbrooke Street (Galerie Berensen) and for about past six or seven years I was dealing mostly in the secondary market, modern and contemporary international art. Two years ago, I felt the need to change the model of my business, to either move abroad or stay in Montréal and open the gallery. I decided for the latter because I love the city, I love the art scene here and also my family lives here.
Janet Werner in front of her painting “Crying Eyes” (2011). Photo by M-KOS
Montreal based painter Janet Werner is currently showing a new body of work within Parisian Laundry’s main space. Throughout her painting career, Werner has been engaged with the genre of portraiture, focusing primarily on female figures. She collages and transforms images from fashion magazines, popular culture and naïve painting, to invent altered personalities with these source materials, in addition to creating new narratives. Werner plays out a tension between fiction and reality to question notions of beauty, often by distorting and messing up the posing women. The resulting paintings not only astound by their sense of scale, composition and color, but also draw the viewer into the inner psyche of Werner’s counterfeit characters. Werner talks to M-KOS about her new exhibition, and of the ways she produced her latest body of work.
M-KOS [MKOS]: Can you tell us about your choice of title “Earthling” for this exhibition at Parisian Laundry?
Janet Werner [JW]: [laugh] The reason I’m laughing is because it was so hard for me to come up with a title, I really struggled. It was one of the first titles I thought of, but I kept looking and looking. Titles are extremely difficult for me. But in the end I went with it. What was your question, why did I use the title?
MKOS: Yes, does it have to do with the people in the paintings?
JW: Well, I feel like the work is existential in nature and when you take an existential position you usually think of it in terms of: I’m here right now, on earth, at this moment. But to call it Earthling is like taking a different perspective of that same experience. It was as if they were aliens but in fact, it’s us, if you looked at us as though we were aliens. I was just thinking of the beings who are cast here, in these paintings.
Haig Aivazian, Collapsing Foundations, 2010-Ongoing. Courtesy the artist and Parisian Laundry
Beirut-born, NY-based artist and curator Haig Aivazian is now showing his ongoing project at Parisian Laundry’s bunker space. “Collapsing Foundations” is a multi-part project comprised of written text, sculpture, drawing, video and a lecture performance, all of which seek to answer the following question: Can one erect a monument to an individual who has already erased the traces of his life’s work? Initiated from the CAD drawings of the artist’s late architect father, Aivazian here evaluates the potentials of languages and materiality, examines the notion of legacy and explores the relationships between private and public, through a wider body of research and various forms of presentations. M-KOS interviewed Aivazian during the opening of his exhibition.
M-KOS [MKOS]: How did “Collapsing Foundations” start off?
Haig Aivazian [HA]: I’ve been thinking about this project for several years now. Initially it was a fairly academic paper that I wrote. I had these drawings my father had done that I needed to do something with. I knew there was a potential in them but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. I wanted to explore the lines, explore them almost formally. I was thinking about drawing parallels between the collapse of a building and the collapse of a body, but mostly I was interested in the collapse of language in these moments: At the approach of death, what happens to language? What happens when we speak? What is our relationship to death as we speak? So I got interested in this idea of the very act of speaking, as an effort to ward off death. But the more we spoke, the more we are approaching death. So those are some of the ideas at the beginning point.
Currently on view: Montréal
Summertime In Paris at Parisian Laundry
23 June – 30 July 2011
Luc Paradis “Stick Out There” (2010) oil on canvas, 60 x 84”. Courtesy of the artist and Parisian Laundry
Parisian Laundry is now showing its annual summer exhibition entitled “Summertime In Paris”, double Dutch busted with generous servings of themes: “Kindling” and “Post-New”. Five artists from Canada and America have been selected this way to spark a fire from beyond the realms of novelty.
“New” has long been overused as an adjective and oversaturated the pages of art press releases for decades. Lost in its significance and barely identifiable, art audiences still irresistibly seek newness, almost as a reflex behavior. Parisian Laundry fuses this with an equally vacuous term to create “post-new”, a humorous neologism that perhaps will ignite the whimsical attitudes of Summertime in Paris artists.
Luc Paradis creates uncanny and fantastical scenery in his paintings, such as “Stick It Out There” (2010), its undulating mountains and valleys, coveting a factory-like building alone by the cliff of a fictional wilderness. “Pleasure Park” (2011) also depicts a fun place to go to, with the familiar theme park attractions teasing our desire to take on a ride. But the surroundings of the park are submerged in darkness, tensing up the atmosphere as if an undetected danger was about to pounce and shatter an innocent moment of glee.
Posted in Review, Visual Arts
Tagged Chloé Desjardins, Drawing, Jaime Angelopoulos, Luc Paradis, Montréal, Painting, Parisian Laundry, Rachel Shaw, Sculpture, William Villalongo