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A Hot Winter Ahead On The Montreal Art Scene!

Those heady days of fruitcake and cheap bubbly may be over, but the fun has just begun on Montreal’s visual arts scene. From now until the first thaw, it promises to be a real hootenanny across much of this fine city. Down in the Old Port, conceptual artist Thomas Demand is about to give things a shake and shuffle three steps back from reality at the DHC/ART. And who’s that spiking the punch and flashing the crowd? Why, it’s experimental filmmaker and multimedia mad genius Michael Snow getting ready to show it all off at La Galerie de l'UQAM. Seems the McCord’s still hot and heavy with Napoletano Mimmo Jodice, and local lenswoman Lynne Cohen has plans to camp out in the corner (some like to watch) at the MACM. A party is not a party until someone is flat on the floor, and—oh, there goes Aude Moreau, laid out neat by the white stuff.

Want to get in on the action? Check out some of these places to see and be seen this season:

 

1. DHC/ART: Thomas Demand: Animations (January 18 – May 12)

Thomas Demand started out as a sculptor, but began using photography to document his elaborate, life-sized paper re-creations of photographed environments and interior spaces. As time went on, large-scale photographs overtook as Demand’s display medium. More recently, Demand added film to his repertoire, lending a layer of both insight and obfuscation to his commentary on societal and political happenings. The result of his work is often the replication of images contained within an image inside an image, challenging the viewer to discern what is real—Plato’s Cave Allegory in a most modern context. Be sure to take your time with Pacific Sun (2012), and revel in the deceptive simplicity of Rain (2008).

 

2. Galerie de l'UQAM: Michael Snow: Solo Snow (January 11 – February 16)

Curated by Louise Déry and produced in partnership with Le Fresnoy in France, Solo Snow features a body of photographic, video, sound works and installations by one of the most experimental and awe-inspiring figures in the contemporary art world. From the early '60s onwards, Michael Snow has challenged the status quo and upped the ante for all media artists the world over. Though this will not be a complete retrospective of his work (an almost impossible feat for any one gallery to physically mount, given the enormity of the oeuvre), this exhibition does promise to hit on many of the important themes and motifs running through Snow’s endeavours: technology, time, space, metamorphosis, interior vs. exterior, representation, and perception.

 

3. Montreal / Brooklyn: A Contemporary Art Event (in Brooklyn from January into February)

Okay, okay—this event is not technically in our city right now. So sue me. However, if you plan on taking a bite out of the Big Apple this winter, you might want to save a bit of your appetite for the hometown talent now on display at several galleries and spaces throughout NYC’s most bearded borough. Montreal / Brooklyn is positioned as the first artistic encounter between these two creative wonderlands in over a decade. I’d recommend hightailing your heinie over to Smack Mellon for Aude Moreau’s most ambitious and fragile project to date, “Sugar Carpet”. Two tonnes of loose white sugar will be spread and configured to resemble a Persian rug—can you say, “sweet Jesus”? Wow. Also of note, Michel de Broin of the “go big or go home” school of land and installation art is at Interstate Projects. Certainly worth the price of a subway trip.

 

4. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal: Lynne Cohen: False Clues (February 7 – April 28)

For more than three decades, Lynne Cohen has taken her box camera and photographed semi-public and institutional interior spaces. Though obviously the work of much human endeavour, Cohen’s mostly nameless interiors are always shot unpopulated, imbuing each photograph with a curious, sometimes humorous, almost always disturbing quality that slowly seeps in, urging you on to the next image and the next.

 

5. The McCord Museum: Mimmo Jodice: Sublime Cities (now until March 10)

Perhaps you haven’t sidled on over to the McCord yet to see Sublime Cities. That’s fine. You still have time to lace up your boots and put on your toque and grab a pal to go and see one of the most beautiful exhibits currently on view in Montreal. Internationally renowned Mimmo Jodice is one of the leading figures in Italian photography. His work often plays modern against classic urban architecture, using high contrast black and white photography to heighten the tension between the ages. Jodice’s use of light is unparalleled, and his framing is to die for. Bellissimo!