artists & participants
The 7th edition of La Biennale de Montréal – BNL MTL will be held from May 1st to 31st, 2011 and will bring together the works of artists from Québec, Canada and abroad. Under the theme of chance, the BNL MTL will present a rich and varied program.
Elements of Chance, is being held under the co-curatorship of Claude Gosselin, Executive and Artistic Director of CIAC -- Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal and David Liss, Artistic Director of MOCCA -- Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto.
The BNL MTL 2011 was inspired by Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard, published in 1897. Some people feel that this poem, given its unique text and graphic design, heralded the birth of contemporary art, or at the very least marked the beginning of a new concept of art that has impacted all artistic diciplines.
Chance hides behind different words: randomness, gambling, probability. Chance plays a significant role in our lives. We move forward, not knowing what tomorrow will bring. This reality molds our lives, our imagination and influences our understanding of the world around us.
For the longest time, and more specifically since the middle of the 20th century, artists have integrated the notion of chance in the conception and creation of their works.
In the field of visual arts, Marcel Duchamp has incorporated randomly chosen every day objects to works of art via the concept of the “ready made”. He rejects the notions of vituosity and know-how and defends the idea that art is the result of perception rather than of creation.
In music, John Cage, will develop a musical score constructed on the principle of indetermination.
Merce Cunningham, in dance, will offer up improvisisation and randomness.
Artists from the Fluxus movement have encouraged the accidental assimilation of external elements to their workds in order to narrow the gap between art and life.
Finaly, work in progress and the unpredictable partcipation of the general public to the works of artists are an increaseingly widespread trend in contemporary art, exploring various components of chance: doubt, destiny and chaos.
This 7th edition of La Biennale de Montréal proposes various avenues of relexion – visual arts, music, film, conferences, seminars, workshops and mediation activities – on a subject that plays an essential role in art as in life, i.e. the role of chance.
Indeed, there is a political component to recognizing chance in our behaviours. In today’s societies where our daily lives are becoming increasingly “pre-determined” by restrictive laws and regulations, it is urgent that we recognize chance in the simple way the world unfolds. To recognize chance is to recognize freedom, randomness, the undisplined forces of nature, our nature. To recognize chance is to open ourselves to others, to the undetermined, and to receive the unexpected positively.
To illustrate this theme, commissioners will be hosting some 40 artists hailing from 10 different countries. Sponsored by QUEBECOR, the BNL MTL 2011 will be held from May 1st to 31st in the former École des beaux-arts de Montréal, 3450 Saint-Urbain, corner Sherbrooke West. Doors open daily from noon to 6 pm, Thursdays until 9 pm.
Curator Paule Mackrous:
To quote Mark Amerika on Twitter, “Video is the new net art”! Given that video art is considered to be one of the sources of net art, this statement may appear to be somewhat contradictory. Yet, it mirrors the works brought together for this exhibition as well as art forms emerging on the Internet. They stand at the crossroads of video, cinema and hypermedia. Such mixed experiences are not only revamped via current technological tools (Video Jockey and animation software, webcams, YouTube, streaming, cell phone), but more importantly, they are revitalized through chance, that great force of the imagination through which the principles of predictability of computer media are diverted.
In his installation Motor + 1 French artist Grégory Chatonsky expresses the interactive experience through its most dangerous, they being immeasurable, repercussions. By simply viewing the website, visitors activate a robotic arm grasping a motorcycle. While events occurring in the exhibition hall are transmitted by webcam, the final destruction of the vehicle remains unpredictable.
In Immobilité (Extraterrestrial Glitch Remix), a cell phone created film, Mark Amerika pursues the adventure of a scenario free filming. The diegesis is left to improvisation. A major player in the American Remix culture, Amerika composes with the irregular aesthetics of the computer glitch and of the Video Jockey.
Turkmenbashi, mon amour features the famous virtual character Mouchette created by Dutch artist Martine Neddam. Her scenario is drawn from a love letter addressed to the former dictator of Turkmenistan, the animation depicting how Mouchette gets to know the dictator. Over the course of occasional sightings of his image (statues, digital photos) in the city of Achgabat, she falls madly in love with him.
As for Thomson & Craighead (England), they display their on line project Template Cinema, a series of films whose content are presented in real time on the Internet. Images, texts and elements that are transmitted by webcam randomly generate a new version for each viewing.
In response to popular online videos that feature animals that practice human activities (memes, LOL cats), Canadian artist Jhave shows two unsettling figures: a kitten on the verge of dying and an enslaved primate. The tragic portraits of Give Me Your Light are orchestrated according to a random algorithm. Consequently they become veritable metaphors of the human condition.
These projects are presented in the CIAC e-magazine and will be featured on the Biennale de Montréal space during the month of May. Thanks to those artists who have illustrated, in a manner that words could not express, the important issues associated with the presence of virtual technologies in our everyday lives.
Artists: Mark Amerika, Lois Andison, David Armstrong Six, Gilles Barbier, Jeremie Bennequin, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Walead Besthy, John Bock, Marcel Broodthaers, Sophie Calle, Michael Capio, Gregory Chatonsky, Sylvie Cotton, COZIC , Jean Dubois, Jean Dupuy, Rodney Graham, Karilee Fuglem, Jhave , Kristiina Lahde, Scott Lyall, Stephane Mallarme, Michael Maranda, Amir Mogharabi, Guido Molinari, Gareth Moore, Nadia Myre, Martine Neddam, Werner Reiterer, Jeremy Shaw, Daniel Spoerri, Derek Sullivan, Jon Thompson / Alison Craighead, Keith Tyson, Ian Wallace, Cerith Wyn Evans
La Biennale de Montréal 2011
Elements of Chance
Künstlerische Leitung: Claude Gosselin, David Liss
Kurator Electronic Arts: Paule Mackrous
Künstler: Mark Amerika, Lois Andison, David Armstrong, Gilles Barbier, Jeremie Bennequin, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Walead Beshty, John Bock, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Michael Capio, Gregory Chatonsky, Sylvie Cotton, COZIC , Merce Cunningham, Jean Dubois, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Dupuy, Rodney Graham, Karilee Fuglem, Jhave , Kristiina Lahde, Scott Lyall, Stephane Mallarme, Michael Maranda, Amir Mogharabi, Guido Molinari, Gareth Moore, Nadia Myre, Martine Neddam, Werner Reiterer, Jeremy Shaw, Daniel Spoerri, Derek Sullivan, Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead, Keith Tyson, Ian Wallace, Cerith Wyn Evans