Montréal Biennale 2013

Curators’ Statement

Our project will be assembled under the banner title L’avenir – (looking forward).

As the title suggests the focus of the project is on speculation and the history and currency of projecting into the future in relationship to recent developments in contemporary art. The idea of “what is to come” provides a framework for considering our current condition from geo-political, environmental, technological, scientific, social, cultural, ideological, economic, ethical and metaphysical perspectives.

We are seeking to examine the relationship of contemporary art practices to both historical discourses of futurity and the currency of projecting into the future. Accordingly the exhibition will present artists working in film, sculpture, photography, painting and installation who respond to current conditions by considering “what is to come”. It will also include artists who propose art practices that are socially responsive to challenges presented by possible futures, practices that are frequently situational, performative and temporal, as well as artists who address the vexed question of the current agency of art and whether it has the transformational potential to influence the future.

States of performance and temporality are evoked in the project title and the idea of ‘looking forward’, which involves an action that simultaneously engages both the present and future. To look forward implies picturing a future moment, a process that is intrinsic to the project, which will examine the relationship of sight to consciousness and its role in both witnessing the present and imaging the future. Ultimately our exhibition aims to look backwards from possible futures to consider the present and to address the connectedness of the local to the global in that context.

Gregory Burke and Peggy Gale

Director and Curators

Claude Gosselin, general and art director of the Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal (CIAC), and members of the board of directors are pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Nicole Gingras as general and artistic director of La Biennale de Montréal – BNL MTL.

A well-known figure in the world of contemporary art, Nicole Gingras has curated more than fifty individual and group exhibitions of Québec, Canadian and foreign artists. She is credited, among others, with major monographic exhibitions of local artists Raymonde April, Mario Côté, Donigan Cumming, Raymond Gervais, Manon Labrecque, Emmanuelle Léonard, Christof Migone, Michèle Waquant, as well as ambitious thematic exhibitions and programs presented on the Canadian and international stage. Among her achievements, let’s recall the curatorship of the 6th Manif d’art de Québec last May, Machines – Les formes du mouvement, that of TraficART, Saguenay contemporary art biennial in 2010, Les formes du temps and Tracer Retracer, an exhibition on the notion of trace, presented at Concordia University’s Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery in 2005 and 2006. Among her earliest projects as curator were her participation in the first two editions of Le Mois de la Photo à Montreal in 1989 and 1991 and a section of Les Cent jours d’art contemporain de Montréal in 1993.

In addition to collaborating with many art centres, university galleries and Québec, Canadian and foreign museums, Nicole Gingras has been a program planner for FIFA – Festival international du film sur l’art de Montréal since 2003. She is a member of various professional associations, the co-founder of a collective of curators, and a professor. Nicole Gingras has also published a number of articles on visual art, media and sound art practices, and edited many publications (exhibition catalogues, collections of essays, interviews, anthologies).

The general and art director will assume her function in September 2012. She will see to the direction and presentation of the next Biennale de Montréal in 2013 and work out a development strategy for future editions.

A crucial element of the contemporary art landscape, La Biennale de Montréal helps promote and accompany the work of local and foreign artists through its distribution activities, takes part in the discourse on contemporary art, reflects on curator practices, and raises public awareness of major contemporary art issues. Members of the CIAC board of directors are thrilled with the appointment of Ms Gingras, whose experience and multidisciplinary profile will be invaluable assets for the pursuit of La Biennale de Montréal’s mission and its influence nationally and worldwide.

Peggy Gale is an independent curator and critic whose texts on contemporary art, especially artists’ video, have become artistic benchmarks. She studied art history at the University of Toronto and the Università degli Studi in Florence, and has published extensively, with essays in Video By Artists (1976, 1986), Mirror Machine: Video and Identity (1995), Lectures obliques (1999), and many museum catalogues. Her Videotexts, essays on narrative issues in artists’ video, was published in 1995 by Wilfrid Laurier University Press and The Power Plant. Among other titles, she was editor of Museums by Artists (with AA Bronson, 1983), Video re/View: The (best) Source for Critical Writings on Canadian Artists’ Video (with Lisa Steele, 1996), and Artists Talk 1969-1977, from The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax (2004). She was lead researcher and principal writer for Video Art in Canada, a bilingual website launched in February 2006 and expanded the following year as part of the Virtual Museum of Canada, now housed at Vtape.

An independent curator since the mid-1970s, Gale has organized many exhibitions including the inaugural Biennale of the Moving Image (Madrid, 1990), Tout le temps/Every Time (La Biennale de Montréal, 2000) and Analogue: Pioneering Video from the UK, Canada and Poland 1968-88 (co-curator, touring 2006-08). With co-curator Doina Popescu, Archival Dialogues: Reading the Black Star Collection inaugurates the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto) in September 2012.

A long-time member of the International Association of Art Critics and The Writers’ Union of Canada, she was honoured in 2000 with the Toronto Arts Award for Visual Art, followed by the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts, 2006.

Gregory Burke is a free-lance curator, writer and museum consultant based in Toronto and New York and is a seasoned and internationally respected curator. He was Director of The Power Plant in Toronto from 2005 – 2011 and Director of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand 1998 – 2005. In the last 26 years he has curated over 90 exhibitions and published over 100 texts. He has curated major projects with artists such as Rosemarie Trockel, Christopher Williams, Sam Durant, Pae White, Marcel Odenbach, Lee Bul, Fiona Banner, Rafael Lozanno-Hemmer, Simon Starling, Francesco Vezzoli, Scott Lyall, Candice Breitz, Ian Wallace, Michael Snow, Lawrence Weiner, Andrea Bowers, Goldin + Senneby, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Thomas Hirschhorn, Derek Sullivan, Peter Campus and Sharon Lockhart among others, as well as the group exhibitions Feature: Art, Life and Cinema 2001, Extended Play: Art Remixing Music 2003, Bloom: Mutation, Toxicity and the Sublime 2004, Auto Emotion 2007 and Universal Code: Art and Cosmology in the Information Age 2009, which won Ontario Art Galleries “exhibition of the year” for 2009. He has worked with artists across the world, including organizing major exhibitions of Asian art, such as Mediarena: Contemporary Art from Japan 2004 and Transindonesia, 2005. He was the Curator for New Zealand’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and was Commissioner for New Zealand’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2005. He has written for Art + Text, Art Asia Pacific, Artforum and recently published an essay in Art & Australia titled “Pre-Dictions Art and the Future”.

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