Not to produce, otherwise the expos

Ne rien produire, sinon des expos

Photo: Adil Boukind The Duty
The Project Pangaea led to an opening slow works by Joani Tremblay adapted to the déconfinement.

The end of 2019, Karen Trask and Paul Litherland became the owners of their workshops, after 35 years of practice. Finished the ups and downs of the increase of rents. A Couple in life, the two artists are now working under the same roof, in a local converted to their taste. On the signboard of the facade that once stated, ” Food Products Oriental “, a few letters still legible : “Nothing “.

Product Nothing, ” a space for experimental projects in contemporary art “, is the great novelty of the epoch which is beginning, the post-pandemic. It appeared there where one would have least imagined, in the same discreet rue Marconi which the alternative gallery Life angel has been hunted in 2019. The place is pretty big for a room will be dedicated to exhibitions, such as that inaugurated in may, after months of waiting.

In this case, as in several others, the spring has become, in the visual arts of quebec, a reflection on the way of reaching the public. A soul that has given birth to projects unusual. Two galleries in particular have left the Belgo building, temporarily in the case of Project Pangea, which is experimenting with ” a summer at the consulate “, the long-term in one of The Castiglione, which became a nomadic.

The path taken by the UQO gallery, Gatineau, seem to be more radical. Return to normality ? No thank you, crying there on the side of the diffuser in the university. The result : exhibitions 2020-2021 have been cancelled, to be replaced by the time for reflection.

Reopen or not, that was not the question. It was a question of in what conditions. In the industrial area of Little Italy, Nothing pops up as a sign of destiny. Kibosh on the race. Up to patience, to new ways.

Ne rien produire, sinon des expos

Photo: Adil Boukind The Duty
To the left, the ex-factory tofu become the workshop of the couple Karen Trask and Paul Litherland, Produces Nothing, is a discreet place dedicated to experimental projects.

“A statement ? Yes and no, “shade Karen Trask, which ensures that Nothing, no release calendar is” set “. In the name found by chance by his brother non-francophone, it perceives the gap with a factory dedicated to the profitability. “On the amount of work we produced, the one guard is small,” she said.

“Initially, it was a slaughterhouse of rabbits. It has become a smoker of fish, and then the first factory of tofu in Montreal. We want to feed the world, ” says Paul Litherland, tongue-in-cheek.

The UQO gallery, as it is, does not hide its intentions. “[Our] gesture does not correspond to a negation of art, one reads in the press release. It is to open to itself a space ready to accommodate our individual beats and our courses of action subjective, freed of any expectation and of the imperatives of productivity. “

The option slow

The opening night of the ” super slow “. The image of Paul Litherland offers the best synthesis of the new reality. If it is possible to start to visit exhibitions, there was no question of doing it in a group. The openings, which people attend for the crowd and the glass of wine, are gone.

The opening of a slow extreme is another. If it drags on, it also stands out because he lives “one person at a time,” says the owner of Nothing. It’s not dislike her not because it showcases ” the kind word “. “We thought we would go 20 minutes, but… Each person, it is a hour, minimum,” he said. What happiness ! “

Karen Trask and Paul Litherland is not intended to become gallery owners. If the inaugural exhibition, which brings together their own works, could inspire others, so much the better. They hold to a vocation multifunctional, not only at the expos, and the unexpected. Already, proposals are received, proof that the place attracts by its flexibility. Or by his past, blank art, ” says Paul Litherland.

A preview of the type of slow, has also been experienced in Project Pangea, during the inauguration of the exhibition Resplendent vastness, in mid-June. The day was held under a “full flow” of visitors, not more than ten persons at a time. Since then, the attendance is like this, spaced out and at a healthy distance. Satisfied, the director Julie Side do not regret having rented the former consulate of Czech on the posh avenue des Pins Ouest.

“We knew that people were eager to see the expos. We wanted to make the experience enjoyable and comfortable, ” said the one who did not see the thing as possible Sainte-Catherine street. Project Pangea, however, keeps his space at the Belgo. “A summer at the consulate” without financial risk, and is used to experiment with a more broad and eccentric, to the edge of the woods.

Hope in the collective

The situation of The Castiglione, the only gallery in quebec devoted to photography, is quite different. It is to survive as its director, who is responsible for the destiny of the place without the support of a patron, leaving the Belgo, for good.

“In the normal activities of the gallery, I couldn’t pay all the expenses, nor an employee, not even me,” said Marie-Josée Rousseau. The site on Sainte-Catherine has done wrong, the pandemic was added. But it remains convinced that it fills a need, with evidence for the support of the environment and the financial support of the SODEC, always there.

To be “nomadic,” explains Marie-Josée Rousseau, gives time for thinking about projects. Be nomadic, it is in the meantime. “The Castiglione will appear this fall somewhere, an exhibition at the time. There will be four, including those deferred by the COVID-19 : a project of the curator Pierre Dessureault on the photography of 1960s quebec, with a rare subject, and a solo of the relatively new Laurence Hervieux-Gosselin. “It is often said that tragedy brings out the best and the worst. I expect everything, especially solidarity. I’m sure we will find a solution individually and collectively, ” says the gallery owner, citing the word of a colleague.

It is collectively, with the support of artists and curators concerned by the year 2020-2021, the gallery UQO has put the brakes. “Why continue in a breakneck pace, as if nothing had happened ? says the director, Marie-Hélène Leblanc. It does not take a break, but a full freedom. “

Round Tables and discussions will form the nucleus of next seasons. Everything will pass, the dependency to the entity’s degree — 90 % of funding comes from the UQO — the very concept of exhibition.

A return to normal, no thanks. Marie-Hélène Leblanc hoped that the reopening of the gallery, the result of the research leads to something positive, that brings people together and human. “I have confidence in the process in which one engages,” she says.

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