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The Visual Page

by Archives October 25, 2006

Last week we brought you a preview of Collapse, the new exhibition running at Concordia’s very own VAV Gallery. Organized by the “That’s It That’s All” collective, based in both Montreal and Toronto. Collapse deals with five artists’ views on our society which, as they claim, is on the decline.

Ah, the joys of postmodernism. The entire “no conventions / appropriation is fine and even encouraged / do whatever you want” doctrine has been ruling the art world since the 1970s. What a liberating time to be an artist. or at least that’s what you’d think.

But there’s a glitch, and Collapse is excellent proof of that. For a while now, contemporary art has reminded me of a cookie jar in terms of its relationship of the container versus the contained. The focus is on the concept much more than on its visual representation; the process, rather than the end result.

Spend at least one semester at any post-secondary art institution in this country, and you’ll listen to your teachers discredit commercial, “decorative” art entirely, in favour of all things deeply conceptual.

t may come as no surprise, then, to find out that all five members of “That’s It That’s All”, which was formed in 2004, are either current or former fine arts students at Concordia. Joshua Barndt, Philippe Chabot, Jannick Deslauriers, Adrian Dilena and Louis-Pierre Lachapelle have got the whole container versus contained idea down to a science.

Collapse features each of the artists’ individual work, as well as some “collective” pieces, created by the group. The result is an array of paintings, sculptures and projected animations – some of which do not necessarily function well with one another – but all of which deal with the artists’ view of a failing society.

Sadly, it is the collective pieces that may be the least interesting part of the exhibition. The murals with businessmen, baseball players and (possibly desperate) housewives soaring through the air scream “d

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