Taking as its theme L’avenir (looking forward), La Biennale de Montréal (aka BNLMTL 2014) celebrates visual and performance arts over a multi-month period in Montreal. The international assembling of participating artists offer works that consider the question “what is to come” as a way to respond to current conditions. Gregory Burke, Peggy Gale, Lesley Johnstone, and Mark Lanctôt curated the event. BNLMTL began in 1998 and became an independent organization in 2013. It works in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain (the MAC) and many of the exhibits appear there, but also at the McCord Museum and the SBC Gallery and other places. In particular, BNLMTL 2014 uses Expo ’67 as its reference point, since this historic moment in the city used the future-focused work by Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s work Terre des Hommes/Man and his World, as its title. Exhibits go everywhere from there and address issues such as the environment and globalization.
The artists participating are numerous and perhaps not familiar to those who are shy to check out contemporary art events. Some things that caught Montreal Rampage interest include:
The Friday night Nocturnes at the MAC are always worthwhile events to attend. They take place the first Friday of the month at the museum. Music, the ability to walk around the MAC, a great cocktail bar, and… oh… its free. A great place to do something that feels very cultured and won’t hurt your wallet. Hit up November’s Nocturne at the MAC (185 St. Catherine W) on Friday November 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Mind the Gap
At the MAC, you can catch a number of interesting exhibits. Outside the building, on the façade of Theatre Maisonneuve, Krzysztof Wodiczko has a public projection called Homeless Projection Place des Arts. It features images and voices of the homeless people found in the downtown core. The 20 minute projection questions the difficult dance between the privatization of public space, commercial interests and marginalized peoples. The exhibit runs Wednesday-Sunday nights, from October 8 to November 22 at Place des Arts. Free.
Another interesting pair of pieces at the MAC are Time Machine, 2011 and premiere Dobaded, 2014, both by New York/Norway artist Ann Lislegaard. Both are projected animations. Time Machine has a computer animated fox discussing his adventure in the future. Dobaded is described as a hallucinatory journey that calls on Surrealism’s dream of revolutionary art anchored in the subconscious. I have no idea what that means, but I’m sure it’ll be weird. The exhibit is on display at the MAC from October 22 to January 4.
Montreal/Swedish artist Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen’s installation Space Fiction and the Archives, 2012 is a look at the landing of a UFO in St Paul Alberta in 1967 as part of Canada’s Centennial celebrations. A 19 minute film about 1967 and Plexiglas panels with Canada’s immigration policy show that aliens might have a hard time becoming citizens. Space Fiction and the Archives is on display at the MAC from October 22 to January 4. You can catch her lecture at the York Auditorium of Concordia University on October 29 at 6 p.m.
Art Mirrors Life
For those who like performance art (charismatic and nutty), Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby collaborate again to create “M&A”. With a fairly sizable cast, this piece looks at works that make reference to August Nordenskiold, an 18th century Swedish mineralogist who wanted to produce enough alchemical gold to undermine the financial system. The frequency and duration of the performance are tied to an algorithm designed by a computer scientist that determines how much the actor can get paid. The rehearsals last only so long as money lasts, imitating how markets work. This piece can be seen from September 27 to November 22 at the SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art. (372 ST Catherine W). Gerard Harris (actor), Paul Leong (investment Banker), and Pip Day, all involved in the performance will answer questions on October 23 from 2:30-4 p.m.
Don’t Lose Your Memory Stick
The Golden USB by Richard Ibhy and Marilou Lemmes is a solid gold USB memory stick with a catalogue of goods and services from earth that can be offered in exchange for goods and services in outer space. The contents of the stick are on display through spoken word and project images. The two artists will also present a work called The Prophets, a 13-metre-long table with hundreds of small sculptures on it made from household materials. Labels are handwritten, a nice touch. The Golden USB is at Vox centre de l’image contemporaine from Sept 11 to November 8. The artists give a lecture at 12:40 p.m. on November 5 at UQAM (315 St Catherine E, R-M 120).
Not So Everyday Art
Finally, for those who want to meander Montreal’s underground city in search of artwork, take a tour of Heteropolis, 2014. Adaptive Actions asked city workers to bring in a photograph of special meaning into their work environment. The pictures, presumably, are the subject of a guided tour as well as a printed document that can be found in the Underground City. This also has a lecture associated with it. Check it out from October 22 to January 4 in the underground city. In particular, on December 11, Adaptive Actions will be giving a tour at 6 p.m. at the MAC. $5.
Biennial Montreal has its benefit preview on October 21 and continues in various city museums and galleries until January 4. See website HERE for details.