Montréal-based artist Gisele Amantea creates large-scale site-specific installations that disrupt architectural spaces in order to examine how our lives are shaped by their cultural, political and social dynamics. In this series of ink-jet prints, Amantea combines photographic documentation of the MAC Rotunda with drawings inspired by Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s mid-eighteenth-century etchings. Her stated intent is “a personal critique of the museum and a musing both on its power dynamics and on the position I have in relation to it as an artist.” The architectural space of the Rotunda, with its soaring pillars, which seems to promise an uplifting experience, is in fact awkward and defies spatial logic. As visitors to the MAC well know, navigating the space to access the galleries on the floor above can be a challenge.
Exhibiting these prints in the Rotunda, we amplify their meaning as they create a mise en abyme, or double take for the viewer. We are also playfully participating in a critique of our own institution at a moment of anticipation before the transformation project begins, in which the Rotunda is slated to disappear.