The MAC launches two new exhibitions from its collection
Montréal, May 16, 2018 — The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is proud to present two new exhibitions of works from its collection, just in time for the summer season: Alone Together (May 18 to August 26, 2018) asks about solitude in our hyper-connected society and showcases new acquisitions by artists Sarah Anne Johnson, Graeme Patterson, Jon Rafman and Jeremy Shaw. The Prophets (April 6 to August 26, 2018) is centred on an installation by that name created by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, a duo of Québec artists interested in economic sciences’ representation of the world. Works by Josef Albers, Jack Bush, Sol LeWitt and Jana Sterback round out the exhibition.
These two new presentations are part of Pictures for an Exhibition, an evolving cycle of exhibitions based on works from the collection and intended to generate new connections between historical works and recent acquisitions, between the different media and artists of various generations.
Four Canadian artists belonging to the same generation are brought together around a simple yet complex phrase: Alone together. Solitude being supreme in our core being, how does it express itself in an era of unparalleled connectivity?
In this new exhibit showing works from the collection, Sarah Anne Johnson revisits a music festival and creates a photographic record of these modern-day Dionysian celebrations, collective rituals where social intoxicated freedom replaces social norms. The scenes that compose Field Trip combine euphoria and psychedelia. The ephemeral quality of individual experience reveals the futility of the utopia sought by the community of festival goers.
Graeme Patterson examines the vagaries of male friendship and the passage to adulthood as the transition from the collective state of childhood to the solitary state characterizing maturity. Player Piano Waltz is a sculpture and video installation composed of a scale model of a 1920s hotel and bar perched atop a mechanical piano. The building takes on life when a visitor feeds a coin into the piano. Animated movies are projected in the building’s rooms, to the sound of melancholy music composed by the artist. The protagonists’ interactions peter out until they find themselves alone together in a nameless bar.
Jon Rafman takes a lucid and caustic look at digital technology and new media. Visitors are invited to watch the film Erysichthon while isolated in a glass box, exposing themselves to the gaze of passersby. Through this experience, the work demonstrates technology’s hold on modern consciousness while taking a nostalgic and ironic look at social conventions as well as our virtual communities and their disconcerting realities.
In his series of photographs titled Towards Universal Pattern Recognition, Jeremy Shaw crystallizes, using images characterized by their strong materiality, the concept of rapture. The artist uses archival photographs showing communities of individuals having transcendental and mystic experiences, especially during religious events. He traps these documentary images inside prisms, focusing on the area where the heart of the transcendental experience lies, like a vanishing point. The kaleidoscopic effect and image distortion explicitly illustrate a state of rapture that opens the way to parallel and multiple realities.
How does the way we use new technologies and public spaces, attend great political and religious gatherings and partake of festive events redefine our individuality, intimacy and interiority? Each in their own way, Sarah Anne Johnson, Jeremy Shaw, Jon Rafman and Graeme Patterson reflect on the paradoxes of our society and the concept of community.
As people who examine the destiny and moral character of a nation, economists are modern-day prophets, and the charts and diagrams they produce are their prophecies. – Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens
This exhibition centres on The Prophets, a work featured at the MAC in 2014 and the Istanbul Biennial in 2015. Created by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens, the work is a collection of small and delicate sculptures handmade using everyday materials such as string, bamboo sticks, wire and sheets of acetate. Displayed on long tables, these fragile, abstract-looking sculptures reveal 3D models inspired by economic charts and graphs.
Filled with humour and irony, they depict knowledge gleaned from academic and scientific publications, and attempt to predict human behaviour by analyzing how work, consumption and production interact. They include concrete data and mental abstractions, law-curves and fact-curves, positions drawn in logical time and in historical time, as well as a number of other forms and procedures common to economic analyses and representation. Comprised of over four hundred and thirty structures that interpret a broad array of historical and contemporary subjects, The Prophets examines the concepts of labour and the workforce as well as consumer and productivity data. The tone of their hand-written description and play on words express scepticism regarding the accuracy of their sources and an understanding that scientific and economic models are ephemeral and transitory.
By creating these scale models, which are sort of diagrams of economic thinking, Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens shape data that usually reveals concepts, ideas and statistics into a vast collection of abstract forms. The exhibition creates a dialogue between The Prophets, currently being acquired, and works by Josef Albers, Jack Bush, Sol Lewitt and Jana Sterbak drawn from our collection. Featuring shared formal and conceptual thinking, this instalment of Pictures for an Exhibition aims to highlight a selection of works with complementary material qualities.
The exhibition was curated by Marie-Eve Beaupré, Curator of the MAC Collection.
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is grateful to Québec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications for a grant provided under its program to support permanent exhibitions, which has made this project possible.
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Located in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal makes today’s art a vital part of Montréal and Québec life. For more than fifty years, this vibrant museum has brought together local and international artists, their works and an ever-growing public. It is also a place of discovery, offering visitors experiences that are continually changing and new, and often unexpected and stirring. The MAC presents temporary exhibitions devoted to outstanding and relevant current artists who provide their own particular insight into our society, as well as exhibitions of works drawn from the museum’s extensive Permanent Collection. These may feature any and every form of expression: digital and sound works, installations, paintings, sculptures, ephemeral pieces, and more. In addition to its wide range of educational activities familiarizing the general public with contemporary art, the MAC organizes unique artistic performances and festive events. It is a window onto a myriad of avant-garde expressions that extend the reach of art throughout the city and beyond.
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