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Ways of Thinking is designed for anyone interested in exploring contemporary art and its exhibition frameworks. It offers contextualizing information on the concepts of the Gallery’s exhibitions and programs, the artists and the works featured. You can find a general presentation, areas of inquiry and ideas to reflect upon as well as suggested Internet links and bibliographic references that allow you to gain a general understanding of the artist’s approach to artmaking, the works featured and the curatorial framework adopted. It also offers a forum in which “ways of thinking” can be shared and compared: Within the ongoing program of the Gallery, and amongst the artists, curators, writers, and other contributors and participants including visitors. This takes on facets of physical and virtual forms, all of which are being collected here. Together, they form an information database and research repository that is accessible to students, teachers and anyone interested in the Gallery’s programs. This archive is an active one, because it renders the meeting points between the individual parts of the Gallery’s programs tangible.

QUI PARLE ? / WHO SPEAKS?
Isabelle Pauwels ,000,, 2016. Still from the video. Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University

Curated by Max Stern Curator of Research, Katrie Chagnon, Qui parle ? / Who Speaks? assembles works by seven artists recently acquired by the Gallery. Between them Chagnon has identified multiple inquiries into the speaking subject. Jo-Anne Balcaen and Raymond Boisjoly approach this question through their respective reflections on the presentation and construction of the figure of the artist. Moyra Davey recounts and freely associates upon five years of psychoanalysis in a work that approximates the length of a standard analysis session. Through photography Suzy Lake studies the social codes and mutable boundaries that condition one’s self-image. Isabelle Pauwels corrals everyday babble under the pressures of capital, whether the speaker is trying to grin and bear it or has given in and is relishing it. Krista Belle Stewart examines the different ways experience is conveyed through narrative or testimony. And Ian Wallace presents an apparatus for the dissection of mainstream print media.

Each new acquisition is guided in part by an inquiry into how these new works can correspond with the gallery’s programming history and curatorial direction. The acquisition of works by Boisjoly and Stewart this year also marks an effort to bring more works by Indigenous artists into the collection. And over the past fifteen years the Gallery’s programming has been punctuated by critical reflections on the collection and acquisition process, see: This is Montreal!, 2008, As much as possible given the time and space allotted, 2009, and Collecting: The Inflections of a Practice, 2010, to name a few.

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In the case of Qui parle ? / Who Speaks?, documents relating to the acquisition process are presented within the exhibition space, inviting visitors to consider the role of the collecting institution and the textual and discursive frameworks that accompany the purchase of a work. In her accompanying essay, curator Katrie Chagnon outlines this strategy, which, in effect, applies the question of who speaks to the works as well as the institution.

This exercise in parallel reading and the study of the discursive work of the institution is extended here in Ways of Thinking. Each new acquisition is accompanied by a Rationale for Acquisition, which is presented to the committee and found in printed form in the work’s dossier. These texts situate the works within the artist’s practice, outline their exhibition history, and make a case for their place within the collection in relation to the gallery’s programming and existing collection. Originally addressed to the committee these texts were later reworked and condensed for the collection section on the gallery’s website.

The texts presented here are in conversation with the exhibition essay, taking the question posed by the exhibition’s title and guiding concepts as their point of departure. Readers are encouraged to read all texts – the curator’s essay, the acquisition proposals, and the annotations here – looking out for shifts in styles of address according to the context wherein they were composed.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Agamben, Giorgio. “The Author as Gesture.” In Profanations. Translated by Jeff Fort, 61-72. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 2007.

Alcoff, Linda. “The Problem of Speaking for Others.” Cultural Critique, no. 20 (Winter 1991-1992): 5-32.

Austin, J. L. How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962.

Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author.” In The Rustle of Language. Translated by Richard Howard, 49-55. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

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Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of Performance. New York: Routledge, 1996.

Butler, Judith. “Giving an Account of Oneself.” Diacritics 13, no. 4 (hiver 2001): 22-40.

Capitaine, Brieg and Karine Vanthuyne. Through Testimony: Reframing Residential Schools in the Age of Reconciliation. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017.

Cavero, Adriana. For More than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression. Translated by Paul A. Kottman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.

Deleuze, Gilles and Michel Foucault. “Intellectuals and Power.” Translated by Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon. In Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, edited by Donald F. Bouchard, 205-207. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980.

Deren, Maya. Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti. New Paltz, NY: McPherson, 1983.

Derrida, Jacques. Speech and Phenomena, and Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs. Evanston: Northwesthern University Press, 1973.

Felman, Shoshana and Dori Laub. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Foucault, Michel. “What is an Author?” Translated by Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon. In Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, edited by Donald F. Bouchard, 113-138. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1980.

Lacan, Jacques. The Language of the Self: The Function of Language in Psychoanalysis. Translated with notes and commentary by Anthony Wilden. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press, 1968.

Owens, Craig. “The Discourse of Others : Feminists and Postmodernism (1983).” In The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology, edited by Donald Preziosi, 335-351. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Preziosi, Donald, ed. “Authorship and Identity.” In The Art of Art History: A Critical Anthology, 317-401. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, edited by Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, 271-313. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

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Annotations in the Artists and Works section by Chris Gismondi (Curatorial intern, 2018) and Robin Simpson (Public Programmes and Education Coordinator)

Produced with the support of the Frederick and Mary Kay Lowy Art Education Fund.

ESSAY

The Ambivalence of the Speaking Subject, by Katrie Chagnon

A collection of artworks, like an exhibition, is made up of a tangle of voices whose identity, status, authority and enunciative modalities often remain ambiguous, and sometimes hidden. In the framework of this presentation of the Gallery’s most recent acquisitions, asking the pointed question who speaks? doesn’t, however, aim to brush aside these fundamental ambiguities. Nor does it seek to divulge or render completely transparent a decision-making process that, regulated as it is by strict institutional policies and the ethical standards proper to a museum, must remain largely confidential.1 In adopting a resolutely interrogative approach, I hope to diligently examine the question of the speaking subject — a question that, following the acquisition process, turned out to be inherent to all the works selected. I believe this type of examination compels us to reconsider the very discourses that justify the presence of such works within the institution, while at the same time allowing for different readings of the issues raised by the cohabitation of these works within the exhibition’s physical and discursive spaces.

[…]

– Katrie Chagnon

  1. During the development of this project, the question came up of whether or not we should make public a transcript or audio recording of the acquisitions committee meeting, and integrate it into the exhibition. I discussed this possibility at length with the director and committee members, and many problems potentially created by such an approach were identified. We thus ended up abandoning the idea.

The complete essay written by Katrie Chagnon can be viewed and downloaded in the Texts and Documents section. A printed version is also available at the Gallery.

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ARTISTS AND WORKS

Jo-Anne Balcaen

Jo-Anne Balcaen was born in Manitoba in 1971. She obtained a BFA from the University of Manitoba before relocating to Montreal in 1996 to complete an MFA at Concordia University. Balcaen’s practice, which includes video, audio, sculpture, multiples, photography and print media, often looks at her own experiences as an artist and cultural worker, and on the hidden facets of the artist’s psyche. She has exhibited throughout Canada and abroad. Her recent exhibitions include The Artist Should Have Value (The New Gallery, Calgary), Kids these days (Kamloops Art Gallery), Let’s be open about… l’art conceptual (Dazibao, Montréal), and Just Cause: Bad Faith – Art Workers’ Activism and Organizing in NYC and Beyond (Interference Archive, Brooklyn, NY). She has received grants from the CALQ and the Canada Council, including a residency at International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, New York. She lives in Montreal.

WORK

Mount Rundle, 2014
Video, colour, sound, 3 min. 42 sec.
Edition 1/5

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.04)

Fixing the camera on a landscape painting done when she was twelve-years old, Jo-Anne Balcaen narrates in the second person two instances of self-doubt surrounding her capacity to perform and deliver as an artist.

As the camera zooms in on the painting’s surface to scan the trees, river, and mountain, Balcaen searches for her hand among the brushstrokes. She recalls how a poorly rendered pine was finished with assistance from the instructor. A sense of failure momentary abated by rendering the fog at the base of the mountain on her own.

This germ of shame is then accelerated twenty years to the mountainous vistas of Banff National Park as encountered during an artist residency at the Banff Centre. Where in the first half the childhood painting is framed as an artefact of anxiety, in the second it shifts to become the scenery and emotional backdrop to an unproductive artist residency.

Within this cycle of insecurity, Balcaen delivers with barbed wit a narrative that cuts through the cheery talk of the institution in its promise of unhinged creativity and the routines and art world chatter of her fellow artists. Interpellated by the second person “you,” the viewer is drawn in and saddled with Balcaen’s narrative. Moreover, Balcaen’s “you” is aimed at other artists. The painting, in turn, becomes a shared site for projection; a place not only for artists to commiserate on the “low grade generalized anxiety” of failing to produce, but also to revel in the dark humour of this feeling once the veil on the disciplined artist is lifted.

RS

EXPLORE

  • How does the official voice or hand of an institution attempt to prescribe the behaviour of an artist?
  • Consider the description of emotional states in Balcaen’s narrative and how they assist in turning an autobiographic story toward a form of open and impersonal address.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Artist’s website <http://www.joannebalcaen.ca/>

Chan, Zoe. “What’s going on? (On art, aura, and anecdotes).” Exhibition essay, Jo-Anne Balcaen, The Artist Should Have Value, The New Gallery, Calgary, November 4–December 17, 2016. <http://www.thenewgallery.org/the-artist-should-have-value/>

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Raymond Boisjoly

Raymond Boisjoly (b. 1981, Langley, British Columbia, Canada) lives and works in Vancouver. He is a citizen of the Haida Nation. Recent solo exhibitions include Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver (2016); Over a Distance Between One and Many, Koffler Gallery, Toronto (2015); “From age to age, as its shape slowly unravelled…”, VOX, Montreal (2015); Interlocutions, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2014); Station to Station, Platform Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts, Winnipeg (2014); (And) Other Echoes, Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby, BC (2013). His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including In Dialogue, organized by the Art Museum, University of Toronto (touring in Canada 2017–2018); N. Vancouver, The Polygon Gallery, North Vancouver (2017); Down To Write You This Poem Sat, Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON (2016), Moucharabieh, Triangle France, Marseille (2015);Unsettled Landscapes, SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas, Santa Fe, NM (2014); L’avenir (looking forward), La Biennale de Montréal (2014); The Militant Image: Picturing What is Already Going On, or the Poetics of the Militant Image, Camera Austria, Vienna (2014); Pleinairism, Walter Philips Gallery, Banff (2012); Tools for Conviviality, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2012); Devouring Time, Western Bridge, Seattle (2012); Phantasmagoria, Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver (2012). In 2016 he was a recipient of the VIVA Award, presented by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts, Vancouver. He is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.

Work

Author’s Preface, 2015
25 inkjet prints and wallpaper paste, 400 x 1 118 cm

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.05)

In his practice Raymond Boisjoly deliberately skews viewers’ expectations of how an Indigenous artist should perform their identity and cultural knowledge. Working with veiled texts and manipulating layers of digital technology, Boisjoly embraces the ambiguities and uncertainties that emerge from the peripheries and encounters between overlooked sites, images, and media. His own voice is mixed among layers of cultural references, displacing authorship’s point of origin. With Author’s Preface, Boisjoly uses filmmaker Maya Deren’s book and film Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti as material. In her preface, Deren commences by describing the eighteen pieces of luggage she took to Haiti in 1947 to produce a film under a Guggenheim Fellowship grant on voodoo rituals. Cultural critic Irit Rogoff observes that luggage is inherently packed with the traveler’s expectations, with their preconceived ideas of what will take place.1 Yet, Deren reveals how the project changed upon arrival in Haiti, outlining the circumstances and realizations that led her to abandon her initial intention to produce an artistic film, making in its place an ethnographic documentary of voodoo ceremonies:

It was only after I had completely conceded my defeat as an artist—my inability to master the material in the image of my own intention—that I became aware of the ambiguous consequences of the failure, for, in effect, the reasons for and the nature of my defeat contained, simultaneously, the reasons for and the nature of the victorious forces as well.2

Scrutinizing artistic intention and authorial assumptions, Boisjoly plays with the prospect and the explicit power imbalances in the ethnographic encounter and its subsequent documentation. His cryptic texts, written in graphic software to emphasize their visuality, retransmit knowledge as gleaned from Deren’s text and her reevaluation of her intentions and anticipations. Careful not to manipulate the film outright, he instead places an iPad playing Deren’s film as found on YouTube on a scanner to capture the accompanying images. This attentiveness to minimal interference, expectation, and reception speaks to an artistic and research method that encourages a reevaluation of the result, guiding the artist back to the beginning in order to form a new hypothesis. Expectations are inherently loaded with wishes and desires. Relative to spirituality, these beliefs can function as knowledge to dream and foresee an outcome. For the artist, breaking down expectation is a humble and vulnerable position generating an openness that forfeits control to the material, leads to a return to the point of origin, and a change in direction.

CG

  1. Irit Rogoff, Luggage,” Terra Inferma: Geography’s Visual Culture (London; New York: Routledge, 2000) 36-72.
  2. Maya Deren, Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti (New Paltz, NY: McPherson, 1983) 6.

EXPLORE

  • The process of making the images in the work: How a new image emerges not through intervention but by setting up a correspondence between media.
  • Consider the different ways Boisjoly, Pauwels, and Davey work with quotation, misquotation and paraphrasing.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Raymond Boisjoly in conversation with Marcia Crosby, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, May 16, 2013 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHP6Hed7wcw>

McKee, Jesse. “In Front of One’s Nose: Raymond Boisjoly and the Art of Learning.” Canadian Art (Fall 2015): 108-113. <https://catrionajeffries.com/wp-content/uploads/press/boisjoly-mckee_canart_2015.pdf>

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Moyra Davey

Moyra Davey is an artist based in New York, and whose work comprises the fields of photography, film, and writing. Along with a photo-based practice dating back to the late 1970s, she has also produced several works of film, most recently Wedding Loop (2017) as part of her contribution to documenta 14 in Athens. She is the author of numerous publications including Burn the Diaries and The Problem of Reading, and is the editor of Mother Reader: Essential Writings on Motherhood. Davey has been the subject of major solo exhibitions at institutions including Portikus, Frankfurt/Main (2017); Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2016); Camden Arts Centre, London (2014); Kunsthalle Basel (2010); and Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (2008). Her work is found in major public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Tate Modern in London. She was awarded the Anonymous was a Woman Award in 2004.

Work

Fifty Minutes, 2006
Video, sound, 50 min.
Edition 1/5

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.06)

How to describe oneself? What exceeds this account? Where to place and where to look for the speaking subject? In psychoanalysis language is positioned as the vehicle through which the unconscious emerges. Listening to the free association of the analysand, sometimes called the patient or client, the analyst connects contradictions and slips in an attempt to identify, trace and disentangle the conflicts at the root of the analysand’s symptoms.

In Fifty Minutes, the act of listening is far from blind. Arranging scripted vignettes into a sequence that mirrors the standard length of a psychoanalytic session, Davey extends her monologue into the visual. Seated facing the camera or with it in hand she leafs through photo albums, paces the apartment, dusts off books, sifts through notes, receipts and correspondence, wanders through a flea market. She records her dog. Her son sits in the background. Her partner assists with the camera. In essayistic segments she turns the camera on her books, scanning pages and notes while reading her citations out loud.

Following a script, the nuance or variation in tone of her delivery cedes to the concentration necessary for recollection and recitation. If the psychoanalytical subject is knotted up in language, Davey lifts the blinders of analysis and invites the viewer to scan the backdrop to enunciation in order to take into account the contingencies, clutter and excess of quotidian and domestic life.

RS

EXPLORE

  • Voice and content. How different accounts, stories and texts are assembled into a monologue.
  • Compare Davey’s use of photography and recitation with Lake’s combination of photos and texts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Davey, Moyra. The Problem of Reading. Montpelier, VT: Vermont College, 2003. <http://74.220.219.113/~murraygu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Problem-of-Reading03.pdf>

– – – – –. “Fifty Minutes: Video Transcript.” In Long Life Cool White: Photographs and Essays by Moyra Davey, 121-141. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. <http://imagineallthepeople.info/Davey_FiftyMinutes>

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Suzy Lake

Suzy Lake was born and raised in Detroit. She emigrated to Canada in 1968. She was a founding member of Vehicule Art Inc. (Montreal) and later, the Toronto Photographers Workshop Gallery (Toronto). Her early work was included in several historical conceptual and feminist exhibitions, such as: Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution (LA MoCA, Los Angeles, California), Identity Theft: Eleanor Antin, Lynne Hershman and Suzy Lake (SMMoA, Santa Monica California), and Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980. Lake retired from teaching in 2008 to focus on her studio practice full time. Since “retirement”, she has had a full career retrospective Introducing Suzy Lake at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2014), received the Governor General’s Award in Art and Media (2016), and won the 2016 Scotiabank Photography Award.

Works

On Stage #1 (Bank Pose), 1974/2013, from the series On Stage
C-print, 60.96 x 50.8 cm
Edition 2/10

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Gift, 2017 (017.02.01)

On Stage #2 (Miss Montreal), 1974/2013, from the series On Stage
C-print, 60.96 x 50.8 cm
Editions 2/10

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Gift, 2017 (017.02.02)

On Stage #3 (Grade 1), 1974/2013, from the series On Stage
C-print, 60.96 x 50.8 cm
Edition 2/10

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Gift, 2017 (017.02.03)

On Stage #4 (Accordion Pose), 1974/2013, from the series On Stage
C-print, 60.96 x 50.8 cm
Edition 2/10

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Gift, 2017 (017.02.04)

Maquette: Suzy Lake as Françoise Sullivan, 1974/2012, from the series Transformations
Archival digital print, 82 x 97 cm (framed)
Edition 1/3

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.01)

Approaching Suzy Lake’s work with the question “Who speaks?” one is immediately met with another question: “Where do we begin to define our true selves?” This read in On Stage #4 (Accordion Pose), in English, and in French, in On Stage #3 (Grade 1), two works in a series that combines staged photos of the artist as well as snapshots from the artist’s youth with bilingual texts examining the social, political and interpersonal forces that condition identity. Occupying the conventions of mass media fashion advertisement and spectacle and casting a self-reflexive look on the social rituals of childhood and adolescence, Lake invites a nuanced study of identity as an unstable, mutable and plural state. This analysis is executed across multiple scales from the representation of women in mass media, to the performance and framing of gender within public and private spheres, down to the granular and ambient influence of emotion, interpersonal interaction and environment.

As part of the Transformation series, Maquette: Suzy Lake as Françoise Sullivan investigates what can be thought of as identity’s sympathetic processes. Where in On Stage #1 (Bank Pose) she writes of “inadvertently picking up someone’s mannerisms,” here she transposes the eyes and mouth of friend and artist Françoise Sullivan onto her own face. Both involved with the artist-run centre Véhicule Art, co-founded by Lake in 1972, and active in the Montreal arts milieu, Lake plays with mimesis in order to push portraiture over into a transmissive process that reflects the intergenerational exchange between the two artists.

Lake’s question of where a reflection on identity starts is a particularly pointed one for the mid- to late-1970s. Situated in the midst of second-wave feminism, practices invested in questions of self-representation and self-determination confronted white male-dominated culture. Moreover, these reflections translated into actions rejecting patriarchal limits within the arts milieu and worked to develop, secure and expand space and networks supporting women artists and feminist practices. In turn, the where in Lake’s question is not simply a question of where identity can be found and scrutinized; it also seeks out the space, political climate, state of mind and standpoint necessary to fully pursue this inquiry.

RS

EXPLORE

  • In these works Lake makes use of, references and manipulates three types of photography: commercial fashion photography, everyday snapshots, and portraiture. In what ways does each type frame identity?
  • How do the captions read when paired with the vernacular photographs and, alternately, with the staged photographs?

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Artist’s website <http://www.suzylake.ca/>

Uhlyarik, Georgiana, ed. Introducing Suzy Lake. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2014.

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Isabelle Pauwels

Isabelle Pauwels is based in Montreal. She works primarily in video and installation. Her works blend performance and documentary realism.

WORK

,000,, 2016
High definition video, colour, sound, 58 min. 30 sec.
Edition 1/2

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.07)

What can ultimately be heard in ,000, is desire. This is routed through the babble of capitalism, professional life, provisional labour, consumer appetites, and commercial advertising. Some protagonists’ voices, like dominatrix Bijou Steal’s, are foregrounded and named, while others are collective and intrude from the background. In the credits, we find conglomerate figures – The Critics, The Girl Next Door, Down the Street, and All Over the Servers, and the Chorus of Random Dudes. Staccato in delivery, their dialogue pieces together material sometimes “misquoted,” as Isabelle Pauwels’s states, from client’s correspondence with Bijou Steal, a pre-existing play script, fetish clips, condo advertisements, municipal news, provincial cultural policy, the internet in general, along with original material by the artist.

Pauwels’s art practice listens in on the talk of contemporary culture, dissecting and piecing together this chatter to challenge viewers’ apathetic absorption of everything from advertising, to politics, to porn. Pauwels deconstructs and re-exposes the subjectivities that are prescribed for the viewer-consumer within capitalism, sexual and industrial economies, or on “the information superhighway” as she describes it. She evokes the bad and sensational language of the web, “No Sign Up! Free Join! No Bullshit! Your Wife Will Never Find Out!” These frivolous subjectivities are unveiled and by such their normalized authority is challenged through the hyperbolic and isolated representations. These experiences are revealed in their complexity, how they impact relationships, both personal and professional or how they mark the urban environment where they take place. The setting of this cacophony alternates between the cityscape of New Westminster, British Columbia and the digital landscape of the internet where exchanges are shrouded by usernames and interfaces. It is through this larger narrative of deindustrialization and the turn to the internet that Pauwels combines the messy subjects of media, people, sex, and desire.

CG

EXPLORE

  • The language and power dynamics of online correspondence, solicitation and commerce.
  • Consider how the voices are tied to graphical text. How does Pauwels’s use of text compare to Lake’s captions or Boisjoly’s statements?

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Pakasaar, Helga, ed. Isabelle Pauwels. North Vancouver, BC: Presentation House Gallery, 2013.

Isabelle Pauwels, LIKE…/AND, LIKE/YOU KNOW/TOTALLY/RIGHT (2012) <https://vimeo.com/104551659>

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Krista Belle Stewart

Krista Belle Stewart is known for her ability to draw out the complexities of archival material that allow for both intimacy, coincidence, and an atemporal meeting of histories across time. Working with video, photography, design, ephemera and textiles, Stewart straddles the gaps between personal and institutional histories through transparent mediation. Her work has been exhibited at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP), Brooklyn, NY; Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg; Vancouver Art Gallery; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and Mercer Union, Toronto. Stewart holds an MFA from Bard College, New York. She is a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Okanagan Nation and is currently based in Vancouver, BC.

WORK

Seraphine, Seraphine, 2014
Video, sound, 38 min 57 sec.
Edition 1/5

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.08)

Krista Belle Stewart’s video Seraphine, Seraphine arranges side-by-side two sources that concern the life and experience of her mother, Seraphine Ned Stewart. To the left of the screen are excerpts from a 1967 CBC docu-drama narrating Seraphine’s training towards becoming British Columbia’s first Indigenous public health nurse, to the right selections from her testimony to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Vancouver in 2013. By alternating between narrative and testimonial sources, Stewart encourages a mode of parallel viewing that is attentive to the ways experience, intergenerational trauma, as well as settler-colonial complicity are recounted, silenced or acknowledged, to the conditions of their presentation and ways of listening across or between these frameworks.

“Were those the questions you were going to ask? Otherwise, I can start from somewhere else.” Addressing the off-screen statement gatherer for the Commission early on during her testimony video, Seraphine answers a few questions before proposing that the terms and place of her account commence elsewhere. Playing alongside to the left is a sequence from the CBC production showing her arrival by train in Vancouver. On the right, Seraphine leans over to pick up some papers, looks down, and prepares to speak before the video disappears, leaving the black and white docu-drama to play on its own. When the testimony to the right returns, Seraphine is in the midst of speaking about her parents and grandparents, how the residential schools interrupted traditional ways of living, and the consequences of this within her family.

For a work that positions the viewer between two sources, this question of starting or speaking from elsewhere is key—Who speaks then becomes a question of from where does one speak. Where does a statement start? Seraphine’s reorientation of the shape and direction of her testimony finds an accord in her daugther’s disorientation of the structure of the CBC production and the Commission video. As the structure of Stewart’s video reveals, starting from somewhere else, moving between timeframes, between narrative and testimony, does not necessarily mean filling in all silences but rather listening for, analysing and understanding the place and effect of these breaks.

RS

EXPLORE

  • What counternarratives emerge from editing together two videos sourced from state-led initiatives—a national broadcasting corporation and a national inquiry?
  • Watch for instances where Seraphine is questioned and asked to respond in both the docudrama and the Commission testimony. How are these questions delivered? What might be expected as a response?

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Krista Belle Stewart in conversation with Dory Nason, Western Front, Vancouver, 2015 <https://front.bc.ca/events/krista-belle-stewart-in-conversation-with-dory-nason/>

Willard, Tania. “Rules for Disorder.” Mice Magazine 1 (2016). <http://micemagazine.ca/issue-one/rules-disorder>

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Ian Wallace

Ian Wallace (b. 1943, Shoreham, UK) lives and works in Vancouver. Selected solo exhibitions include Ian Wallace: Collected Works, Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, Vancouver (2017); Abstract Paintings I-XII (The Financial District), National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2015); Ian Wallace: At the Intersection of Painting and Photography, Vancouver Art Gallery (2012); The Economy of the Image, The Power Plant, Toronto (2010); A Literature of Images, Kunsthalle Zurich, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Dusseldorf (2008); The Clayoquot Protest (August 9, 1993), Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, and Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (1995-1998); Ian Wallace: Selected Works, 1970-1987, Vancouver Art Gallery (touring Canada and New York, 1988–1989); and Work 1979, Vancouver Art Gallery (1979). Group exhibitions include Recto Verso, Fondazione Prada, Milan (2015); Many Places at Once, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2014); Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980, Vancouver Art Gallery (2012); Exhibition, Exhibition, Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2010); UN COUP DE DÉS: Writing Turned Image. An Alphabet of Pensive Language, Generali Foundation, Vienna (2008); Les Peintres de la vie moderne, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris (2006); Intertidal: Vancouver Art and Artists, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (2005); Jede Fotografie ein Bild, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2004); Oh cet écho! (Duchampiana) 2, Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva; Notion of Conflict, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1995); Recent Acquisitions, Museum of Modern Art, New York (1995); Recent Acquisitions, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1991). Wallace has been honoured with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (2014); Officer of the Order of Canada (2013); the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013); and the Governor General’s Award for the Visual Arts (2004). He is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, Jessica Silverman, San Francisco, Galerie Greta Meert, Brussels, and Hauser & Wirth, London, New York, and Zurich.

Works

Magazine Piece Schema, 1970
Ink on velum, 62 x 102 cm
#25 of an unlimited edition

Collection of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University
Purchase, 2017 (017.03)

Magazine Piece (Time Magazine, December 18, 2017), 1970-2018
Magazine pages, tape, 207 x 225 cm

Magazine Piece (Look, February 9, 1971), 1970-2018
Magazine pages, tape, 140 x 331 cm

Existing in the Gallery’s collection as a schema to be freely interpreted by the installer, the conceptual work Magazine Piece takes as its medium mainstream print media. In its early exhibitions, Wallace himself selected general interest magazines that captured the political and cultural zeitgeist of the moment, while later curatorial interpretations used magazines focused on niche subjects related to the art and fashion milieus, technology, media, and hobbyist culture.

Look magazine has a long history with Magazine Piece. The work was conceived by the artist in his studio using the November 18th, 1969 issue featuring Michelangelo Antonioni’s soon to be released youth counter-culture film Zabriskie Point and was exhibited for the first time with the May 15th, 1970 issue covering the Kent State Massacre. When first shown in Montreal as part of the exhibition 45°30′ N-73°36’ W at the Saidye Bronfman Centre and Sir George Williams University Art Galleries (former name of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery), curators Gary Coward and Bill Vazan used the February 9th, 1971 issue. This same issue is used here in a nod to the work’s and the Gallery’s history. From today’s vantage point, the cover, content, and advertisements within Look act as a historical foil for the viewers. The similarities between the misunderstood “Me” decade of the 1970’s1 and today’s “millennial” culture cannot be missed: “Identity politics” are once again at their height, environmental degradation reflects the looming threat of the energy crises, #IdleNoMore has been building on the activism of the American Indian Moment, and economic concerns of today’s neo-liberal globalization are similar to inflation, recession, wealth stratification, deindustrialization, and “the last days of the working class”2 at the time.

Within the context of Qui Parle ? / Who Speaks?, it seemed appropriate to renew the choice of magazine for its social and political weight by installing a second version using a recent issue of TIME on the newsmakers and “silence breakers” who have spoken out against sexual abuse culture. The media coverage of the emerging fourth-wave techno-feminist movement has thrust discussions of consent and the abuse of power into today’s public consciousness. Accordingly, the use of TIME’s person of the year issue allows for a multiplicity of voices within an expanded feminist application of the male artist’s conceptual schema.

CG

  1. Tom Wolfe, “The ‘Me’ Decade and the Third Great Awakening” in New York Magazine, August 23, 1976, 26-40.
  2. Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class (New York: The New Press, 2010).

EXPLORE

  • While Magazine Piece Schema proposes a means of studying a print magazine as a system, occlusion remains part of this process with only one side of the pages available for viewing. How do you account for these absences and breaks in your viewing of the piece and analysis of the magazine?
  • Imagine how this work could be extended into digital publishing. What features of print publishing would be lost? Would the gallery wall and a hard copy be necessary or would it require another type of support and space to be executed?

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Wallace, Ian. Ian Wallace: At the Intersection of Painting and Photography. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 2012. See also the exhibition website <http://projects.vanartgallery.bc.ca/wallace/>

Ian Wallace lecture, Vancouver Art Gallery, January 15, 2013 <https://vimeo.com/61529521>

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