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New Acquisitions

Year after year, the MAC’s collection is enriched with new pieces. Here is a selection of our new acquisitions.

Margaret Haines

The Stars Down to Earth, 2016 (freeze frame)
Videogram, 1/3
24 min, sound

Margaret Haines, The Stars Down to Earth, 2016 (freeze frame)
Videogram, 1/3
24 min, sound
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection
© Margaret Haines
Courtesy of the artist

Margaret Haines is a multi-disciplinary Quebec artist. After studying at École des Beaux-Arts de Paris, Concordia University, and the California Institute of the Arts, she was invited to do her residency at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. She is currently in Montreal, wrapping up her latest book, entitled On Air: Purity, Corruption and Pollution, focussing on the works of artist, poet, actress, and occultist Marjorie Cameron Parsons.

Her films are meandering, complex narratives, fuelled by philosophic investigations. Her latest creation, The Stars Down to Earth, is layered like a trailer, a journey whose destination is unknown, but whose subject is studded with stars, gods, and prophets. Partly based on the story of the Carroll Righter foundation, The Stars Down to Earth was mostly shot in Los Angeles, a city filled with stars and other cosmic signs: Universal Studios, Mars Property Management, Venus Art and Flowers, Moonstar Auto Care, and Apollo Insurance. The movie is named after an essay written by Theodor W. Adorno, and draws from the teachings of Alan Leo, astrologer and theosophist, who developed a theory of astrology as pattern recognition rather than prediction.

Moridja Kitenge Banza

Christ Pantocrator n°10, 2020
Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood
25.2 x 18 x 11 cm

Moridja Kitenge Banza, Christ Pantocrator n°10, 2020
Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood
25.2 x 18 x 11 cm
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection
© Moridja Kitenge Banza
Courtesy of the artist

Christ Pantocrator n°11, 2020
Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood
25.2 x 18 x 11 cm

Moridja Kitenge Banza, Christ Pantocrator n°11, 2020
Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood
25.2 x 18 x 11 cm
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection
© Moridja Kitenge Banza
Courtesy of the artist

Christ Pantocrator n°12, 2020
Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood
25.2 x 18 x 11cm

Moridja Kitenge Banza, Christ Pantocrator n°12, 2020
Acrylic and gold leaf on plywood
25.2 x 18 x 11cm
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection
© Moridja Kitenge Banza
Courtesy of the artist

Moridja Kitenge Banza is a Quebec artist of Congolese origin, born in 1980 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through his work, the boundaries between fact and fiction merge. He questions history, memory, and identity of places, particularly the space he occupies within them. His pieces suggest a rewriting of dominant narratives and offer spaces where marginalized discourse exists. By adjusting the lens on culture, politics, and society, Moridja reinvents a universe that excludes all geographic dimensions from the identity process.

Moridja’s idea behind the multiple faces of Christ began in 2016, at a family event where traditional masks were being used. Christ Pantocrator n°10, Christ Pantocrator n°11, and Christ Pantocrator n°12 all belong to a large collection of portraits depicting different versions of Christ as almighty in his glorious body. Each portrait is centred around the codes of Byzantine painting and African masks from private and public collections. The formal and referential elements on which his portraits are based are unique to each piece. How did the colonial system affect communities? Individual identities? How does one find their place in history, while still being aware of religious, political, and social influences? These are but a few of the important questions broached by the artist through his work.

You will be able to view these paintings in the Museum’s exhibition rooms as of this fall.

To see Moridja’s work this summer, visit the exhibition RELATIONS: Diaspora and Painting at the Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art as of July 8, 2020.

Hannah Claus

water song [Kinosipi], 2019
UV-resistant digital printing on Jetview transparent film, thread, PVA glue, acrylic
609 x 335 x 46 cm

Hannah Claus, water song [Kinosipi], 2019
UV-resistant digital printing on Jetview transparent film, thread, PVA glue, acrylic
609 x 335 x 46 cm
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection
© Hannah Claus
Photo: Paul Litherland

Hannah Claus is an artist of Kanien’kehá:ka* and English descent who, through her art, allows us to revisit our understanding and perception of being within the Onkwehonwe cosmology**. The MAC is honoured to be adding her piece, entitled water song [Kinosipi]*** to its Collection.

The installation is based on the sound spectrum of a song by Atikamekw singer and storyteller, Karine Wasiana Echaquan. This collaborative project is the third in a series of “water song” installations, representing various rivers throughout the territory. Rivers, once the only connectors between regions and communities, are an important part of Indigenous life; this piece is a testament to the relationship between water, people, and territories. You can take in this exceptional piece in the Museum’s exhibition rooms as of this fall.

To see Hannah Claus’ work this summer, visit the Àbadakone exhibitions | Continuous Fire at the National Gallery of Canada, and the BACA 2020 event: Teionkwariwaienna Tekariwaiennawahkòntie | Honoring Kinship, taking place in several locations, including the Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain gallery.

*Kanien’kehá:ka means “people of the flint”. It is the name by which the Mohawk people refer to themselves in the Kanien’ké:ha language.
**Onkwehonwe means “original people” in Kanien’ké:ha.
***Kinosipi refers to the Rivière de l’Assomption.

Tomás Saraceno

San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, 1973
Lives and works in Berlin, Germany

Hybrid solitary semi-social 54 Tauri built by: a duet of Linyphia triangularis – three weeks, a nonet of Cyrtophora citricola – three weeks, rotated 180°, 2017
Spidersilk, carbon fibre, acrylic box, metal

Tomás Saraceno, Hybrid solitary semi-social 54 Tauri built by: a duet of Linyphia triangularis – three weeks, a nonet of Cyrtophora citricola – three weeks, rotated 180°, 2017
Spidersilk, carbon fibre, acrylic box, metal
Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Tomás Saraceno, Hybrid solitary semi-social 54 Tauri built by: a duet of Linyphia triangularis – three weeks, a nonet of Cyrtophora citricola – three weeks, rotated 180°, 2017
Spidersilk, carbon fibre, acrylic box, metal
Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Tomás Saraceno, Hybrid solitary semi-social 54 Tauri built by: a duet of Linyphia triangularis – three weeks, a nonet of Cyrtophora citricola – three weeks, rotated 180°, 2017
Spidersilk, carbon fibre, acrylic box, metal
Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Tomás Saraceno draws inspiration from spiders and the beauty of their silken webs to reinterpret our relationship to the world. Since 2012 the artist has been working closely with MIT and a number of arachnologists in his quest to understand the particular characteristics of various species of spider and the types of webs they weave. Since the title of this most unusual sculpture is closely linked to the methodology of its creation, it is worth looking closely at the various elements of Hybrid solitary semi-social 54 Tauri built by: a duet of Linyphia triangularis – three weeks, a nonet of Cyrtophora citricola – three weeks, rotated 180°.

First, a delicate cube structure was made out of carbon struts. Then a pair of Linyphia triangularis was placed inside the cube, which was kept in a climate controlled environment. The Linyphia triangularis is an araneomorph spider belonging to the family Linyphiidae. In a natural setting, this spider spins a horizontal web in low bushes and hedges during the fall. A typical web is composed of a dense sheet of silk over which stretches a series of criss-crossing threads known as “barrage lines,” designed to snare the prey. The two specimens were left in their workspace for a period of three weeks and then removed.

Next, the cube was rotated through 180 degrees and a second family of spiders was placed inside. For a period of three weeks a group of nine Cyrtophora citricola spun their own webs, often making use of the threads that were already there. The Cyrtophora citricola, commonly known as the tropical tent-web spider, is an araneomorph belonging to the family Araneidae. In the wild, these spiders spin their webs in vegetation. Highly social, they often build webs in close proximity, forming colonies made up of multiple individuals. Structurally, each web is a complex, three-dimensional silken edifice, composed of a round-edged horizontal sheet to which two irregular networks are attached, above and below. Woven together, the threads form a strong, fine mesh whose regular gridded texture resembles that of a plankton net. When the three weeks were up, the spiders were removed and their work was preserved by the addition of acrylic panels to form a box.

These almost invisible stories and actions, part of a Nature to which we also belong, prompt us to cast a poetic eye on the way we inhabit the world.

Shannon Bool

Comox (British Columbia), Canada, 1972

Michaelerplatz 3, 2016
Wool and cotton fibres, 1/2, 288.3 x 188 cm
Purchase, with generous funds from Paule Poirier

© Shannon Bool / Photo: courtesy of the artist and the Daniel Faria Gallery

The Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal recently gained a new acquisition thanks to the bequest of Paule Poirier, a visionary patron who offered the Musée a major gift totalling over $2 million and dedicated to art purchases. A crowd favourite when it was shown at the Musée in fall 2016, Michaelerplatz 3, by Canadian artist Shannon Bool, is the first work acquired through the generosity of Paule Poirier.

A Canadian figure with a well-established international reputation, Bool works in a variety of media, such as drawing, painting, sculpture and photography. As is evident in Michaelerplatz 3, which incorporates photography into the tapestry-making process, the artist’s technical explorations blur the boundaries between conventional categories. Influenced by art history, literature, psychology and the decorative arts, she demonstrates a pronounced interest in formal considerations in the production of her pieces, at the same time as she addresses political, sociological and cultural issues, including those of a colonial and postcolonial nature.

Michaelerplatz 3 is a textile piece that references the address of a famous building: the Looshaus, built in Vienna in 1909 by the modernist architect Adolf Loos, who was known for his radical rejection of ornamentation. The artist produced a collage of a chrome-plated mannequin, set in the marble entrance, whose reflection seems to go on to infinity in the nearby mirrors. This headless, naked female body, surrounded by reflective surfaces, may recall the device of a store window being dressed. However, its enigmatic presence in these opulent surroundings generates a tension that catches our eye. Bool’s recent tapestry work is considered a cornerstone and a signature representative of her current practice. Michaelerplatz 3 gives us a sense of its entire rigour and scope.

Aude Moreau

Gençay, France, 1969

La Ligne bleue n° 2, 2014
Inkjet print on Dibond panel, 1/3, 121 x 479.8 cm (overall)
Gift of Collection Loto-Québec, acquired in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

© Aude Moreau / Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Maquette Lower Manhattan, 2014
3D print (Polyjet resin), acrylic and acrylic paint, 16.5 x 75 x 74.5 cm
Gift of Collection Loto-Québec, acquired in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

© Aude Moreau / Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

La Ligne bleue is a site-specific intervention project that the artist hopes to carry out on the facades of twenty buildings in Manhattan’s financial district. She plans to use the office tower lighting to trace a skyline in the New York night sky at a height of 65 metres, which would correspond to the rise in sea level if the planet underwent a sudden ice melt.

La Ligne bleue no 2 and Maquette Lower Manhattan, designed to model the intervention in New York prior to its execution, document different exploratory phases in the project. While the maquette reproduces the cadastral map of the lots occupied by the buildings in question, the photograph simulates the blue light that emanates from within the offices against a dark background, making the buildings and their surroundings disappear. The result is a line of light that subtly suggests the ghostly imprint of the city’s architectural framework.

Claudie Gagnon

Montreal (Québec), Canada, 1964

Tableaux, 2011
Colour video, sound, 21 min 31 s
Gift of Collection Loto-Québec, acquired in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

© Claudie Gagnon / Photo: courtesy of the artist

This video by Claudie Gagnon is a variation on the genre of tableau vivant, where performers hold a fixed pose before a live audience. Here, the artist revisits the various genres, compositions, poses and gestures of painting, while accentuating not so much the scene’s actions, which are minimal, but its sounds. While the characters remain immobile, they nonetheless come alive through strange and subtle sounds that accentuate the artist’s grotesque and humorous interpretation of art history. Each of her videos features art historical recreations, including the religious figures of El Greco; the bearded woman of José de Ribera; 15th century Flemish genre scenes inspired by Hieronymus Bosch; the Surrealism of Otto Dix; Edvard Munch’s famous painting, The Scream; and the acrobats of Honoré Daumier and Pablo Picasso. A veritable allegory of painting, Tableaux casts a humorous and ironic look at the history of art.

Hajra Waheed

Calgary (Alberta), Canada, 1980

Video Installation Project 1-10, 2011-2013
10 HD videos, 33 min 14 s, 1/3

Video Installation Project 1-10: Fayaz, 2011-2013 (installation view)
© Hajra Waheed / Photo: Paul Litherland, image courtesy of the artist

Inspired by news stories, in-depth research and her own journey, Hajra Waheed takes a critical look at issues related to the workings of power, mass surveillance and the traumas that stem from mass migration. The visual language she has developed reflects her early years in Saudi Arabia, where she experienced uprootedness, censorship, travel restrictions and the first Gulf War. 

Video Installation Project 110 is a video work consisting of 10 short vignettes produced in various places where photographic and video documentation is prohibited. These micro-narratives, developed like discreet observation exercises, arise out of a lengthy process of image gathering. In them, the artist captures beauty in the mundane, surprises in everyday routine, cultural distortion and the constraints of censorship. Nothing in this work is staged. The events filmed form a series of “magic moments,” like so many pages of a private diary in which the spectacular and the banal collide.