Charles Stankievech

LOVELAND, 2009-2011

Charles Stankievech
Dimensions and medium
HD video, 5 min, sound by Tim Hecker, limited edition of the book « The Purple Cloud » from Matthew Phipps Shiel, Chatham synthetic emeralds, 3.63 × 6.45 × 8.45 m (variable dimensions)
Gift of Collection Loto-Québec, acquired in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Artwork description
LOVELAND, a spectacular and captivating video installation by Charles Stankievech, addresses the notion of utopia and brings together a range of historical references, from the modernist fantasy of American post-pictorial abstraction to the military conquest of the North. Inspired by Jules Olitski’s Instant Loveland, a monumental, violet-coloured painting from 1968, the video loop documents a performance that took place in the Arctic, where Stankievech filmed the effects of a purple cloud produced by a detonated smoke grenade. The fluid alternation between the vaporous, wind-blown mass and the blinding light of the deserted, snowy landscape echo Olitsky’s atmospheric painting. As the sublime scene unfolds on screen it is reflected against the whiteness of the room, evoking the chill of the North and the neutrality of the “white cube.” A sound track composed by Tim Hecker accompanies this “tableau,” whose dimensions match the Olitsky painting, further underlining the formal and conceptual links between the two. In an adjacent room, a mirrored glass box set into the wall displays pages from Matthew Phipps Shiel’s The Purple Cloud, a 1901 science-fiction novel about a northern expedition. Opposite this, another vitrine contains emerald crystals placed under UV light which cast a mysterious, fluorescent glow.

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