For decades Montreal has been a hotbed for beautiful and challenging contemporary art – this year’s Biennale de Montréal art festival celebrates that history alongside the brightest works of art today and delves into what art may soon become…
The 8th Biennale de Montréal, also known cleverly as BNLMTL, paints the town red and every other colour of the rainbow this fall, beginning October 22. The Biennale officially pairs with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal – already in a jovial, adventurous mood as it celebrates its 50th anniversary– to bring artists, curators and art aficionados together for an even bigger and brighter showcase of Quebecois, Canadian and international artistic talent.
With exhibitions, conferences and activities at galleries, museums, public spaces and other venues across the city, BNLMTL creates a community-minded atmosphere not only for appreciating art but engaging in critical dialogue about the current state of art in Canada and around the world. Under the overarching theme of “L’avenir (looking forward),” the Biennale de Montréal, this year directed by Canadian curator and art critic Sylvie Fortin, welcomes two exciting guest curators, Peggy Gale (influential independent curator and critic) and Gregory Burke (former director of Toronto’s The Power Plant), and two progressive lead curators from the Musée d’art contemporain, Lesley Johnstone and Mark Lanctôt.
More than a series of art exhibitions, BNLMTL tackles art-oriented topics that run the gamut from aesthetics and art practices to technology, ethics to metaphysics, social activism to art economics. The art in question takes the form of film, sculpture, photography, painting, performance and installation – its aim to captivate and delight as well as provoke thought. Numerous themes and topics relevant to the art world and to our everyday lives stand out among the dozens of artists invited to take part in the Biennale.
Among the artists: Lynne Marsh challenges our expectations around mass-media images and artistic appropriation; the international collective Arctic Perspective Initiative draws attention to the cultures of the circumpolar region; Lawrence Weiner looks at art as language; Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen merges art, politics and historical identity; Edgar Arceneaux shares his exploded view of painting and sculpture; video artist Ursula Biemann travels the world to capture the sociopolitical nuances of people and their environments; Shirin Neshat forefronts the body in an exploration of complex identity; Krzysztof Wodiczko presents art as examination of war and resistance; John Massey explores manipulation of perceptions; Abbas Akhavan alters the domestic sphere and public space; Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster blends imagined and real space and time; Amanda Beech uses multiple mediums to investigate realism, fiction, politics and power; digital image artist Isabelle Hayeur sheds new light on industrial landscapes that alter nature’s course; and many more brilliant artists inspire with insightful work at this year’s BNLMTL.
Photo and video credits, in order: Lynne Marsh, Musee d’art Contemporain, Anton Vidoke and Pelin Tan, Isabelle Hayeur, Shirin Neshat
Biennale de Montréal, October 22, 2014 to January 5, 2015
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