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THE 2018 EXHIBIT
This exhibition is a remix of the past, the present, here and elsewhere. Drawing from digital and popular culture, as well as early painting, the works presented revisit visual codes in order to better shift their meaning. These manipulations project the cultural heritage specific to each artist and invite us to reflect on the way we define our identity. Playfully displayed, the artworks are driven by a taste for eclecticism, comprising various referents and symbols that have influenced the artists’ creative process. They explore notions of exchange and authenticity at a time when images circulate on an unprecedented scale. Echoing a changing world, Juxtaposition showcases practices focused on new possibilities generated by digital technologies.
Dominique Pétrin is a self-taught visual artist who lives and works in Montreal. Her practice is centered around in situ installations made of silkscreened paper. Throughout the years, she went from creating mural paintings reminiscent of the Greco-Roman era to completely immersive works that draw upon cyberspace and its architecture. Often ephemeral and conceived for specific environments, her monumental installations are freely inspired by Pompeii’s frescoes, the history of ornamentation, and Internet culture. A former member of the petrochemical rock band Les Georges Leningrad from 2000 to 2007, Pétrin collaborated with renowned artists such as Sophie Calle, Pil and Galia Kollectiv (London), and with choreographers Antonija Livingstone (Berlin), Stephen Thompson (Paris) and Jennifer Lacey (Paris) on a performance called Culture, Administration & Trembling. She has also drawn international recognition through her involvement in The Walled Off Hotel, Banksy’s recent project in Palestine. She was nominated for the Louis-Comtois Award in 2017 and longlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2014. Her work has been exhibited across Canada, France, the United States, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Campbell River, British Columbia. Through his diverse practice, spanning painting, sculpture, photography, digital art, and printmaking, he explores his family history and the experiences of being an Indigenous person in a colonial state. The works exhibited here, taken from the Interventions On The Imaginary series, show scenes that seem incongruous at first sight: brightly coloured ovoid shapes inspired by Northwest Coast traditional iconography are superimposed on digital reproductions of famous Canadian paintings. Mordant yet insightful titles indicate the subversive nature of this project to the viewer. Challenging myths and stereotypes perpetuated by conventional representations of our country and its inhabitants, Assu’s interventions highlight the settler narrative underlying these artworks. Not only does the artist disrupt the colonial gaze, but he also confronts the portrayal of Indigenous peoples as a vanishing race by relying on today’s language and technology. His work has been accepted into various institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Seattle Art Museum and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
James Kerr is a digital artist based in Montreal. He is best known for his animated GIF project Scorpion Dagger, in which he mixes his own illustrations with cut-outs from early paintings. In the process he creates a new world to comment and satirize our modern age and pop culture in general. What started as an online phenomenon has now evolved into a large-scale project taking various forms. Kerr collaborated with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to design the present works, revisiting paintings from their collections. His GIFs have been shown in art galleries throughout the word. The artist regularly does commissioned work and counts among his clients The New York Times, Gucci, and Adult Swim. He even caught the eye of renowned film director Jim Jarmusch, who invited him to create animated sequences for the documentary Gimme Danger, which pays homage to Iggy and The Stooges. The film’s international premiere took place during the 2016 Cannes Festival.
Founded in 2014, Live Wild is a collective formed by seven artists from different backgrounds: Charlotte Fos, Anna Hahoutoff, Marguerite Horay, Lucie Khahoutian, Lila Khosrovian, Camille Lévêque, and Ina Lounguine. Live Wild embraces a wide range of influences, including Dadaism, Soviet propaganda, folk art and post-Internet aesthetics. Multidisciplinary and defying categorization, the collective’s practice incorporates various forms of expression like collage, photography, GIF, and video. Live Wild’s approach is rooted in ideas of memory and identity, highlighting the multicultural origins and the nonlinear path of the individuals composing the group. Following exquisite corpse logic, their production questions the artist’s role and the veracity of images in a humorous manner. Their works thus combine strategies initiated by avant-garde movements with a distinctively contemporary visual language.
Agamemnon (2015) – For Richard Strauss’s Elektra production at l’Opéra de Montréal Model 1/7 – Synthetic resin and marble
Victor Ochoa is a Spanish sculptor who has created monumental works of exceptional beauty and strength that can be seen in Europe and America. Universal and accessible, his sculptures are appreciated by art lovers as well as by neophytes and pride the countries that show them. About this piece, the artist writes: “Agamemnon represents for me the naked and vulnerable human being, confronted with his tragic destiny, as he is brutally killed upon his return from the Trojan War. Obsessed by the colossal specter of her father, his daughter Elektra takes us on her mad love journey, her revenge and her ultimate immolation.“ The presentation of Elektra was a highlight in the history of the Opéra de Montréal: not only was it the first staging of the work in Québec but also an opportunity for a collaboration between Spain and Canada through the unique talent of Victor Ochoa. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducted l’Orchestre Métropolitain and a brilliant international cast directed by Alain Gauthier.