Through September 19, 2010, in the Contemporary Art Square on Level S2 of the Jean‐Noël Desmarais Pavilion, the The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
presents Drive End, a remarkable photographic project by Martin Beauregard. This is the artists first solo exhibition in a museum. Admission to the exhibition is free at all times.
A drive‐in has been converted into an automobile graveyard. An old man with a dramatically lined face, wearing a cowboy hat, watches time go by. An empty screen glimmers in the twilight sky amid the rusty old jalopies. A sign identifies the location of the drive‐in, Val‐dOr. The four images are enormous, three metres high and over seven metres long, and they glow like film projections. As the artist explains, The installation offers several simultaneous viewpoints on the visible yet imaginary territory conjured up by what the images represent. The spatial layout suggests the idea of ubiquity, and enables spectators to be present in different places at one and the same time.
These scenes, elegantly staged and meticulously composed by Beauregard, show the imagined end of a world, or rather of two worlds, as the title Drive End cryptically implies. That of the car that has reached the end of the road, condemned to wind up as a heap of scrap metal, connoting a universal disintegration.
And that of drive‐in movie theatres, those outdoor cinemas that sprang up with the development of the automobile and died out almost entirely as a result of urban sprawl, which inflated land values, and above all with the advent of the home theatre.
Underlying these images are the themes of obsolescence and migration that interest Beauregard: the obsolescence of technologies like the drive‐in and the automobile, which affect lifestyles, communities, a whole very North American culture of the relationship between space and image; and physical, motorized migration and the migration of the cinematic image, which, since it was invented, has moved from theatres to cinemas and drive‐ins and later to televisions and computer screens, even to the walls of museums. As the artist himself explains, I am interested in the migration of film to contemporary art spaces, and in the relationships between the fixed and the moving image. The melding of cinematic and photographic time seems to capture the end of a story or of a world, to which both the iconography of the work and its title Drive End metaphorically refer.
Martin Beauregard was born in Ville‐Marie in 1978. A graduate of the École des beauxarts de Bordeaux, he is currently studying for his doctorate in research‐creation at the Université de Paris 1 Panthéon‐Sorbonne and the Université du Québec à Montréal. His work has been exhibited at Location One Gallery (New York, 2006), LOEil de poisson (Quebec City, 2006), Asahi Art Square (Tokyo, 2005) and CAPC Musée dart contemporain de Bordeaux (France, 2005).
Stéphane Aquin, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, is in charge of the presentation of Drive End.