A word from the Curator
And Then, We Built New Forms
The exhibition And Then, We Built New Forms presents contemporary artists from Québec and Canada, the United States, Guatemala, Mexico, the Netherlands, France, Austria, and Russia, who use art as a means to challenge political roles and postures. Organized as a nexus of exhibitions both within and outside of institutional spaces throughout the city of Québec, the project is centered on the theme of resistance and is based on the premise that Québec artists have played a role in giving voice to the 99%, using art as a vehicle for social change. Resistance, in this context, refers to the construction of a force, of a life, and to the logic of change within a situation.
In tandem with the extensive public programming, much thought went into how to frame the very wide variety of tactics and strategies on display in the exhibition. The new forms that are privileged by the thirty-six artists are brought together in a constellation of contexts that address diverse concerns. Of importance in the selection process was the question ofhow contemporary artists negotiate the way that power is secured and challenged in everyday life, and what new forms and discourses are available to them today that propose alternatives to dominant social, political, and historical narratives.
While some of the artworks on display help to communicate and share the political arguments and tactics of social movements (Oliver Ressler), others explore direct action (Just Seeds Artists’ Cooperative, Richard Martel), and documentary forms (Groupe d’action en cinéma Épopée). Other artworks in the exhibition speak to more subtle constructions of identity and self-representation such as neo-feminist action and body art (Julie Andrée T., the Fermières Obsédées, Regina José Galindo). Creating a heightened ambience, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen’s For an Epidemic Resistance is a 25-channel audio work that recreates a laughing epidemic in Africa in 1962. AbbasAkhavan’s Untitled Garden functions like a time-based animated garden near the Coopérative Méduse building and Gisele Amantea creates a signature large-scale flock installation at the Galerie des arts visuels. Other works for Québec city include Juan Ortiz-Apuy’s This sleep, full of folded dreams, Alain-Martin Richard’s Le bloc que j’habite, Geneviève Chevalier’s Mon boisé, and Jean-Robert Drouillard’s new series on adolescence at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. And Then, We Built New Forms also presents two more conceptual exhibitions at l’Œil de Poisson and the Musée de la civilisation that feature the work of Guillermo Trejo, Chto Delat?, Marc-Antoine Côté, Mathieu Beauséjour, Rebecca Belmore, Jamelie Hassan, Nadia Myre and Dominique Blain.
The exhibition will also present Paris collective Claire Fontaine’s neon structures Capitalism kills (love) and STRIKE, Amsterdam-based Mark Boulos’s three-screen installation No Permanent Address, and Vienna-based Oliver Ressler’s three-screen installation Take the Square, amongst many other projects and propositions (Marie-France Légaré, Ron Benner, Richard Ibghy & Marilou Lemmens, Justin A. Langlois, Martin Bureau, Condé + Beveridge, Jean Maxime Dufresne and Virginie Laganière, Thomas Kneubühler, Michael McCormack, Clint Neufeld, Giorgia Volpe and Jarod Charzewski).
By bringing together their unique artistic research and different methodological strategies, the artists of the Manif d’art 7 contribute to a five-week zone of interaction and dialogue. What these strategies look like in the exhibition spaces and how they reflect and refract the profound social, cultural and political changes of our times is the interest of this exhibition and is yours to discover as a visitor and participant.
Vicky Chainey Gagnon
Manif d’art 7 – The Quebec City Biennial
From July 2014, Vicky Chainey Gagnon holds the position of Director/Chief Curator of The Rooms in St John’s, NL. From 2004-2014 she worked at the university-based Foreman Art Gallery located in Sherbrooke, Québec, finishing her tenure there as Director/Curator. She holds a BFA in Film and Art History (Concordia University, Sherbrooke, 1999) and a MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (York University, Toronto, 2005). Until 2011, she pursued doctoral research at Concordia University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture on the subject of civically engaged museology where she received several grants including the Fonds québécois de la recherche en société et culture and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Since 2005, Vicky Chainey Gagnon has organized projects for the Foreman Art Gallery such as: Time Inside the Image I-III; Above and Below (Adam David Brown, Martha Fleming/Lyne Lapointe, Inger Lise Hansen, Véronique La Perrière M., Penelope Stewart, Irene F. Whittome); Christina Battle: Filing Memory; Charles Stankievech: Over the Rainbow, Under the Radar; Value (Cooke-Sasseville, Antoni Muntadas, Red Channels, Anton Vidokle & Julieta Aranda, WochenKlausur)and the international residency series How Does Art Teach?. In 2009, she launched the Laboratoire communautaire d’art, a special mediation project aimed at exploring, from a creative point of view, urgent contemporary social questions and how they affect our communities.
Her essays and texts have appeared in: ETC, Curator: The Museum Journal and publications by the Art Gallery of York University and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. In 2011, she was awarded the Prix de la relève from the Société des musées québécois. In 2012, Vicky Chainey Gagnon is participating in the residency The Decapitated Museum at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has taught museology in the Art History and Theory program at Bishop’s University and sat on numerous committees, for the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, as well as for the Canada Council for the Arts.