“Magnetic grids”: group images in Artexte

«Réseaux magnétiques»: images de groupe chez Artexte

Photo: Paul Litherland, 2020
View of the exhibition “magnetic Grids”

There was a time — not so long ago, even if it seems so different from our own — where the photography and the video seemed to be able to embody a possible democratization of art in The mechanical reproduction of images was to make them financially accessible to all. In the future, in art, there would be more originals or even copies, that copies similar. Well, things have changed. Many photographers make our days unique prints, destroying their negative or digital file after printing. And the video art are sold as prints, very limited.

At the same time — say, to sum up, from the 1960s to the early 1980s — the artists used the photo and the video as a tool to build or motivate communities. It was the era of collective photographic, but also meetings of videographers in artist-run centres, centres that were born and grew then in the countries. It is from this time that speaks in a small, but very intelligent, an exhibition these days at the centre Artexte.


«Réseaux magnétiques»: images de groupe chez Artexte

Photo: Paul Litherland, 2020
Overview of the work, “Janet Sees Herself (1977)” of Marshalore

Titled poetically and intelligently magnetic Grids, it presents the contagious effervescence of these groups create and exchange video. A network that was meant to be an engine of social transformation . In 1971, in Montreal, artists based Videographer, center still very much alive, and that is, with Artexte, the basis of this expo. In 1972, the place interdisciplinary Vehicle Art opens its doors and disseminates, among others, of the video. In the rest of Canada, such places will bloom also : Trinity Square Video (TSV) in Toronto in 1971, the Satellite Video Exchange Society, Vancouver in 1973… Of the organizations who believed in the power of art as a form of education.

The women’s groups then develop. Video art and video documentary are also in the issues raised by the struggle of the women in their desire for emancipation. As one of the texts of the abundant documentation of exposed, these centers — of which some are reserved for women — were intended, among others, “autonomy and the expression of women” by providing them with the video equipment and expertise in technical video.

In the directories of videos made in the 1970s in the country, we find a variety of films on topics relating to : the non-traditional jobs performed by women, indian women, and the impact on those of the canadian Act, on the marriage of Aboriginal people, the violence done to women, pregnancy, unmarried mothers, maternity leave, volunteerism (often done by women)… Among the selection of films presented by Artexte and Videographer, you’ll notice in this regard Women dream (1970) by Louise Gendron, a film which appropriates with biting a multitude of advertisements of the era featuring the clichés about femininity.

The struggle of women, then, was clearly associated with the class struggle, women being regarded as exploited by the capitalist system. It must be said that at the time, art videos, or the videos documentaries are often very committed and political. The artists speak of the abuse of psychiatry, the prison, which does not really perform a work of social reintegration, of the struggle of the miners and workers living in the city of Thetford Mines, of trade unionism…

The visitor can also see many art films, experimental that give the impression that our time is well academic : Electronic Sunsets 25 Jane Wright, Janet Sees Herself of marshalore, Frivolous of Terence McGlade, The amertube of Jean-Pierre Boyer…

This is a matter of exposure which should be of interest to our major art museums, but they are not important enough to devote their space. Damage. Fortunately, art centres with more modest means can do it. They are the worthy heirs of these centres, there are nearly half a century, defended a different way of thinking about the world.


Magnetic grids

At the centre Artexte until 18 April

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