Featuring the internationally renowned contemporary artists Bernd & Hilla Becher (Germany), Christian Boltanski (France), Angela Grauerholz (Montreal) and Arnaud Maggs (Toronto), About Memory and Archive examines photography as a mnemonic tool for evoking the past, documenting the present and creating memories for the future.
Curated by JosÃ©e BÃ©lisle
About Memory and Archive is organised and circulated by the MusÃ©e d'art contemporain. This exhibition was made possible thanks to financial assistance from the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The Art Gallery of Bishop's University is proud to present About Memory and Archive, a travelling exhibition of selected works from the MusÃ©e d'art contemporain de MontrÃ©al's permanent collection. Curator JosÃ©e BÃ©lisle, has chosen artists who, in their own distinct ways, explore notions of memory, history and archives.
Featuring the internationally renowned contemporary artists Bernd & Hilla Becher (Germany), Christian Boltanski (France), Angela Grauerholz (Montreal) and Arnaud Maggs (Toronto), About Memory and Archive examines photography as a mnemonic tool for evoking the past, documenting the present and creating memories for the future. This is a rare chance for the public to see the influential work of important living artists not often seen outside of major North American and European urban centres.
Photographers Bernd & Hilla Becher have been collaborating for almost four decades. Inspired by the New Objectivity movement of 1920's and 1930's Germany, the Bechers have focused exclusively on industrial photography throughout their collective career, obsessively photographing such structures as gas tanks and silos, that are exhibited in series according to building type, mirroring the objectifying approach of 19th century scientific and museum practice. Essentially documents of Western architectural structures and society, Walls and Conduits (1964-1990), like all of the Bechers' photographs, can be seen not only as witness but as tribute to archetypes of the mechanical age.
Arnaud Maggs started his career as a graphic designer but decided to become a photographer in the 1970's. Influenced by the Bechers, Maggs' work is known for his repetitive head shots which he presents systematically often laid out in modernist grid forms. Interested in taxonomy and other systems of identification, Maggs has in the past photographed a series of French chefs, hotel signs and, more recently, the invoices of a French upper middle class couple from the 19th century. For Joseph Beuys: 100 Frontal Views, DÃ¼sseldorf, 21.10.80 (1980), Maggs took 100 photographs of the infamous German artist, who maintains the same position in all of the exposures. Given the repetition of this work, it is indeterminate as to whether the viewer learns more about Beuys or the process of photography itself.
With their romantic sensibility, the photographs of Angela Grauerholz are diametrically opposed to the formalist documentary style of the Bechers and Arnaud Maggs. Like old faded postcards in an old curiosity shop, they make us nostalgic for a vague though seemingly familiar past. Softly blurred, her ambiguous photographs are impossible to identify in terms of time and place, creating a kind of universal space that allows for multiple subjective readings by the viewer, a place where narrative has no limits between the real and the imagined. Eglogue or Filling the Landscape (1994) is filled with hazy photographs of mysterious landscapes indexed in a cabinet according to a poetic filing system that questions the very relevance of the so-called objectivity of official history.
For Christian Boltanski, whose art is marked by his desire that it be mistaken for life itself. Boltanski first became known for playfully attempting to re-create his childhood through the collection and exhibition of children's toys, old clothes, and old family photos, mixing actual and borrowed items to create a possible past. Boltanski-whose father was Jewish-was profoundly haunted by the events of the Holocaust, a reoccurring theme that looms in his Monument series. Recalling the tradition of public tributes to the dead, Monument (1986) uses everyday and recycled materials: instead of the traditional stone and marble however, Boltanksi mounts photographs of people, wrapping paper and strings of cheap lights, reflecting the precariousness of human life. His homage to the dead is makeshift and melancholy, a plea against the constant threat of forgetfulness of the horrors of the past.
Join us at the opening reception of About Memory and Archive on January 29, 2003 from 5 to 7 pm. About Memory and Archive will be on exhibition at the Art Gallery of Bishop's University until March 29, 2003. Gallery hours are from Tuesday to Saturday, from 12 noon to 5 pm, and before Centennial Theatre performances.
CATALOGUE 2001-2002 LAUNCH: 5 exhibitions, 5 points of view
The Art Gallery of Bishop's University is proud to launch its third publication, entitled Suspended Spaces/Espaces suspendus. This catalogue highlights the featured exhibitions from our 2001-2002 season, namely, Annie Thibault's Animalcules et dessins obscurs, Robert Holland Murray's No Safety Zone, Sarah Stevenson's Hundreds and Thousands, Melissa Day's Lily Pond Blue (and other devotional works) and Pieces de collections et regards en coin curated by ValÃ©rie Rousseau and Jean Simard. The publication is prefaced by the Gallery's Director/Curator GaÃ«tane Verna and comprised of five critical essays written by the noted art historians, art critics and/or curators Maria Brendel, Rossitza Daskalova, Makiko Hara, Lisanne Nadeau and Valerie Rousseau.
Each year since 1999, the Art Gallery of Bishop's University has produced a bilingual anthology featuring essays about its annual exhibition program written by active members of the arts field. These catalogues focus on the exhibitions presented at the Art Gallery and serve as a tool to enhance the profile of the artists who have exhibited with us.
We, at the Gallery, feel that our catalogues are critical in affirming our role as a participant in the production and exchange of academic ideas about contemporary artistic practice in Canada. In addition to serving as a lasting record of the exhibitions, the catalogue will also be distributed to art galleries and museums throughout Canada, thus allowing us to create links and allow for exchange with other art institutions, while promoting our visibility within the forum of ongoing debate about contemporary Canadian art.
Please join us to celebrate the launch of our 3rd catalogue Suspended Spaces / Espaces suspendus which will take place at our opening reception for the exhibition About Memory and Archive from 5 to 7 pm, on January 29, 2003.
Image: Christian Boltanski, Jewish School of Grosse Hamburgerstrasse in Berlin in 1939, 1994
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Source: ZoÃ« Chan
The Art Gallery of Bishop's University
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