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Guest Curator and Artist Explore the Collection of the Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal
Rita Letendre, Northern Sky, 1971. Acrylique sur toile, 183 x 305 cm. Don anonyme. Collection Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay.

MONTREAL.- A guest curator and a guest artist have explored the reserve collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to each present their Points of View on the Collection. From the 7,600 works, both have selected a group of some forty pieces presented in two brilliant exhibitions, respectively entitled Blue and Acts of Presence, which will be on view through March 27, 2011.

Point of View on the Collection, inaugurated in 2009, is a series of theme-based exhibitions arising out of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collection. For the second and third instalments in the series, the museum has called upon a curator, Marie-Eve Beaupré, and an artist, Manon De Pauw, who each take a look at the Collection. Marie-Eve Beaupré focused on artists interested in the colour blue for perceptual, poetic, cultural or social considerations, while Manon De Pauw has highlighted notions of gesture, manipulation, position and action taking.

In her study of the works in the reserve collection of the Musée d’art contemporain, curator Marie-Eve Beaupré noticed the dominant presence of the colour blue. That’s how the theme of Blue came to be. She then decided to make an inventory of works for which the colour blue is a significant and structuring parameter, and to exhibit a selection of it. The museographic concept of the show is based on the formal structure of Rober Racine’s work entitled Spica, installed in the museum’s lobby. According to the curator, we can see in it a representation of constellations against an endless blue background, a sky in which one star lights up the next, a visual structure in which light, colour and language speak volumes.

Like a colour chart, this exhibition is made up of over forty works and aims to highlight blue constellations within the Musée Collection, since colours, just like words, take on meaning if they are included in a network of relationships. Blue endeavours to reveal conceptual metamorphoses that show how our experience of colour has been transformed and how, beyond the colour’s mere material quality, this pictorial space has multiple references. For example, some artists have used the colour blue as a metaphorical device (Edmund Alleyn, Charles Gagnon, Nan Goldin, Joyce Wieland), others as a contemplative experience (Michael Flomen, James Turrell, Henri Venne) or as an evocation of landscape (Tom Dean, Fernand Leduc, Rita Letendre). A number of other artists have exploited its expressive power (Marcelle Ferron, Sam Francis, Claude Gauvreau, Shirley Whiitasalo) or focused on formal investigations (Josef Albers, David Blatherwick, Lynne Cohen, Denis Juneau, Michael Snow, Jackie Winsor) and visual experimentations driven by the properties of colour (James Brown, Paterson Ewen, Yves Gaucher, Jean McEwen, Guido Molinari).

Marie-Eve Beaupré is pursuing a Ph.D. in art history at UQAM and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. Her thesis is on Canadian monochrome painting. As a curator, she has organized several exhibitions, including Stéphane La Rue: Retracer la peinture, in collaboration with Louise Déry, at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, François Lacasse: Les Déversements at the Musée d’art de Joliette, David Spriggs at Galerie de l’UQAM where she is currently working and, as such, she has contributed to the exhibition of David Altmejd’s work at the Canadian Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale and to the Cloaca No 5 project by Wim Delvoye in 2009.

Acts of Presence
“How can we make resonate over time an ephemeral art, an art that involves an act of presence here and now? As artists, what are the specific gestures that forge our creative process? How are they connected to the thought and discourse that underlie our practice?” These are the issues explored by artist Manon De Pauw.

Gathering over forty works, the exhibition highlights particular notions of gesture, manipulation, position and action taking. The body is a dominant feature, whether through a performative approach (Marina Abramovic, Gina Pane), an exercise in self-representation (Michael Snow, Chih-Chien Wang), a visual device that it triggers or controls (Francis Alÿs, Barbara Probst) or a set of processes that reveal its tangible action on matter or in the image itself (Eric Cameron, Rober Racine).

The different positions adopted range from playful action to confrontation, from fleeting, spontaneous gestures to some repeated over the years. Through the body, the effect of a presence re-emerges, whether vibrant with immediacy or subdued. Suzy Lake’s photograph Pre-resolutions: Using the Ordinances at Hand, No 12, 1984-85, crystallizes in a way this Point of View through an act of transformation in the making.

Manon De Pauw’s practice involves various mediums: video, installation art, photography and performance. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and events such as the Musée’s Triennial (2008) and the 8è Bienal de video y nuevos medios de Santiago 2007 (Chile). It can be found in the permanent collections of the MACM, the MNBAQ and UQAM. Among her solo exhibitions, Manon De Pauw: Intrigues (Galerie de l’UQAM, 2009), curated by Louise Déry, is still circulating in Canada and abroad, and is accompanied by a major monographic catalogue. Manon De Pauw collaborated to Là où je vis, a work by choreographer Danièle Desnoyers (Le Carré des Lombes, 2008), and she teaches in the photography program at Concordia University. She lives and works in Montréal.

Musée d'art Contemporain de Montréal | Point of View on the Collection | Manon De Pauw | Marie-Eve Beaupré |

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