Arts Arts and Culture Exhibit

Strange memory

From the mechanical to the organic, Concordia MFA students Émilie Allard and Kuh Del Rosario’s curious sculptural works draw uncanny connections between the familiar and the strange.

Émilie Allard’s cold and metallic readymades—a manufactured object repurposed as a work of art, think Marcel Duchamp—in Point of Irony, Point of Organ stand in stark contrast to Kuh Del Rosario’s viscerally organic sculptures in Summoning Black Beach. However, the adjacent exhibits, currently occupying the two distinct gallery spaces in the Mile End’s Centre Clark, create a curious dialogue when approached as a pair. 

View of the gallery. Émilie Allard, Point of Irony, Point of Organ, Centre Clark. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian.

Both galleries are sparsely peppered with the artists’ works that stand out against the cold white walls and concrete floors. Any didactics or titles to accompany the works on display have been excluded from the installation space, which encourages the viewer to approach the body of work as a cohesive whole, rather than a collection of individual pieces. 

View of the gallery. Kuh del Rosario, Summoning Black Beach, Centre Clark. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian.

Each artist employs a strikingly unique visual language to engage with the familiarly unfamiliar. In other words, whether it is a set of reconfigured aluminium chair legs turned upside down and strung up with bells (Allard, “Le rêve et l’argent”) or an oozing pool of grimy water and salty, porous rocks (Del Rosario, “invocation na babayin itim”), both artists use recognizable materials to create unrecognisable, abstracted forms that call into question our ability to materialise that which only exists in our minds.  

Installed high-up on the gallery wall of Allard’s exhibit, something between a photograph and a sculpture resembles a fleshy pair of ears, but they are abstracted beyond immediate recognition—it takes a moment for the viewer to grasp what they are looking at. The manipulated organs appear to be poised to listen to the hypothetical music of the stone xylophone below them, yet the room remains positively silent. 

Émilie Allard, “Morse,” 2023, in Point of Irony, Point of Organ, Centre Clark. Photo by Emma Bell / The Concordian.

The works seem to speak to the fallibility of memory—try remembering what a pair of ears looks like if you aren’t looking at one, or try remembering what a xylophone sounds like. What do you see in your mind’s eye? What do you hear? Is it, perhaps, an imperfect, abstracted version of the real thing? Allard’s work seems to seek out what is revealed to us when our minds attempt to piece together what something looks, feels or sounds like when we cannot immediately access it.

Similarly, Del Rosario’s sculptures harken back to the artist’s abstracted memories of her homeland of Batan in the Philippines. In a statement that accompanies the exhibit, Marissa Largo asks: “How does one return to a place that no longer exists?” This recalls the artist’s memory of a journey taken with her late father to a beach that she has not been able to locate since his passing. “Summoning Black Beach proposes an alternative way to return and to reconnect with that which has been lost,” Largo wrote.

Both Point of Irony, Point of Organ and Summoning Black Beach will be on view at Centre Clark through Nov. 25. A closing reception will be held on Nov. 21 at 6 pm, which will feature readings from the artists. 


POP takes over the Mile End

POP Montreal is an annual multidisciplinary music and arts festival, taking place in various locations across the city from Sept. 26 to 30. In a takeover of the Mile End and some of the neighbourhood’s most prominent venues, more than 400 artists, musicians and filmmakers participated in a vast number of events.

Under the umbrella of the festival, there are several subsections, such as Film POP, Art POP and Puces POP, focusing on music-related film events, visual arts and crafts respectively. This year, events under these branches included talks by filmmakers Alanis Obomsawin and Allan Moyle of Empire Records, outdoor film screenings, diverse art exhibitions and site-specific performances across the city. POP Montreal also put on a variety of panels and symposiums, discussing a range of topics in relation to the arts and music community, from gentrification within the arts to the relationship between music and astrology.


Film POP

Kicking off Film POP was a free screening of Betty: They say I’m different. The documentary reveals the bold and enigmatic Betty Davis as she burst into stardom and, just as quickly, disappeared from the limelight.

Now, more than 30 years later, she is ready to tell her story—her transformation from a “bright, orange bird” to the dark and powerful “crow.” The latter encapsulated the musician’s Nasty Gal stage persona. With the subsequent loss of her beloved father, the crow disappeared from her heart, and she from the stage.

POP Symposium

Fail Better: Learn from the Pros’ Mistakes featured successful music managers and publishing administrators Mark Kates, Molly Neuman, Nancy Ross, Jeff Waye and Tom DeSavia who spoke about their mistakes in the industry and how they’ve since bounced back. From debates surrounding exposure and payment, to growing your network and being true to your art, the panelists exposed a different side to the music industry.

Historical Erasure of Queer Spaces: Shakedown and Beyond featured musician and artist Elle Barbara; community organiser, activist and artist Jodie-Ann Muckler; hip hop artist, entrepreneur and community organiser Lucas Charlie Rose; and Montreal-based DJ and designer Tati au Miel. Together, the panelists led an empowering discussion that questioned true inclusivity. They spoke about building trust and relationships among QTBIPOC to better foster safe community spaces and encouraging environments for performers and party-goers alike. They also indicated the importance of properly documenting and archiving these community organizing methods for organisers to come.“The work I’m doing will help the people after me,” Tati said. “We don’t realize how lucky we are to be safe enough to document these events.” In the past, documentation was high-risk. Now that it’s safer for the queer community to do so, their stories must be told and non-POC must help be their microphone.

Find POC organizers and give them money,” suggested Muckler. “Hire QTBIPOC performers, not because they’re people of colour but because they’re qualified. Don’t tokenize; give it to them because they need it more.”

Gentrification: The Role of Artists in Changing Neighbourhoods was a collaboration between Concordia’s Fine Art Student Alliance (FASA) and POP Montreal. The panel discussed the presence of gentrification in the arts community, and took place at Piccolo Rialto. Moderated by Robyn Fadden, a Montreal-based writer, editor and broadcaster, the panel featured Faiz Abhuani, Gregory Burton, Fred Burrill and Cathy Inouye. Who all have unique experiences and personal connections to the arts, and its relationship to gentrification within Montreal, through their respective careers, practices, and experiences.


Whispering Pines

California-based video and performance artist Shana Moulton created Whispering Pines as an ongoing project to define the virtual environment of her alter-ego and avatar, Cynthia. A hypochondriac and agoraphobe, Cynthia searches for harmony and unison in her surrounding environment, both indoors and outdoors. She is obsessed with the kitsch and New-Age, avant-garde home decor and consumerism. Projected onto the gallery walls, Whispering Pines transports viewers into the artist’s mystical, kaleidoscopic world and Cynthia’s pop culture-obsessed subconscious.

Where: Centre Clark, 5455 Gaspé Ave., suite 114
When: Now until Oct. 13
Admission is free.

Miniature turtlenecks cover the wall in Portable Closets. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Portable Closets

Kyle Alden Martens is a Montreal-based interdisciplinary artist working with sculpture, textile and fashion design. The miniature garments in Portable Closets were attached to or, in some cases, fitted within ready-to-wear articles of clothing and wooden sandals. Accompanied by a video to further explore Martens’s project, the installation includes strange sculptures, tiny turtlenecks, T-shirts and pants. “Don’t look for fixed meanings here, you won’t find them,” wrote Concordia’s art history PhD student, Mikhel Proulx, in the gallery’s pamphlet.

Where: Centre Clark, 5455 Gaspé Ave., suite 114
When: Now until Oct. 13
Admission is free.

Òu sommes-nous?

This multidisciplinary exhibition is showing at the artist centre OBORO and features the works of Judith Albert, Nik Forrest, Katrin Freisager and Dana Claxton. The exhibition focuses on connections and relationships with nature. Featuring works in the media of photography, film and moving images, the works also invoke feminist and postcolonial themes and perspectives. The exhibition and the artists’s respective works provide a diverse mix to look at and interact with, yet are cohesive and connected through these central themes.

Where: OBORO, 4001 Berri
When: Now until Oct. 27
Admission is free.

Showing at the Ellephant Gallery in Quartier des spectacles, Cité-Jardin features the work of artist Sabrina Ratté, a Concordia graduate with a master’s degree in film production. The exhibition presents works in video projection and 3D printing, and transforms the gallery space into otherworldly, imaginary, ephemeral landscapes. The exhibition considers and explores connections between the physical and virtual realms. In addition to the exhibition, an interview with the artist will be broadcast every day by XX Files Pirate Radio at Rialto Theatre.

Where: Ellephant, 1201 St-Dominique St.
When: Now until Nov. 3
Admission is free.

What you missed…

Photos by Mackenzie Lad.

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