Collecting: The Inflections of a Practice
The Ellen Art Gallery’s collection is nearly 50 years old. Its history has been shaped by acquisition, conservation, documentation and dissemination practices that have evolved over the years. The works grouped together in this exhibition illustrate a combination of factors that have influenced collecting practices over the years, sometimes to the point of altering them significantly. These include shifts in the art world, new legislations, the professionalization of various museological practices, as well as the succession of directors and curators responsible for developing the collection. Ultimately it also includes the material resources made available to the Gallery during its history. These factors transformed practices related to acquisitions, but they especially modified the contexts in which the collection was developed and conserved.
Drawing parallels between these factors and the bodies of work exhibited raises an issue inherent to the collection: the changing contexts and practices of collecting generate various ruptures in the collection’s consistency. This exhibition leads us to reflect upon the shifts that have accompanied the work of the curators who have been responsible for developing the collection.
It looks into the effects of its progressive development and, more specifically, into the effects of diverse collecting, conservation, documentation and dissemination practices on the collection as it exists today.
The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s contemporary exhibition program is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.