New Concordia artist collective to premiere at Off-MOMENTA Biennale
Last Winter, Chih-Chien Wang, an assistant professor in Concordia’s Photography program in the Department of Studios Arts, formed a new artist collective called Group C. He initiated the group as a way to help re-connect with other artists during the pandemic, so that members could share their artistic practices and create work together as a collective.
Now, Group C will present an exhibition at the Maison de la Culture Janine-Sutto from September 7 to November 7. Across ten weeks, the group will present a time-based exhibition called, “This Should Have Been Done A Long Time Ago.” The show, featuring performance, photography, video, objects, texts, sculpture, events and installation, will be included as part of the off-MOMENTA Biennale de l’image program.
Featuring 51 artists from 24 countries in venues across the city of Montreal, the artwork in MOMENTA’s 17th edition, entitled Sensing Nature, considers environmental justice and its intersections with social justice. It is curated by Stefanie Hessler in collaboration with Camille Georgeson-Usher (MA’17 Art History), Maude Johnson (MA’17 Art History), and Himali Singh Soin.
“Being able to participate as young emerging artists is very exciting for them,” says Wang. “We all come from a photography background, so this connection with MOMENTA makes everyone happy!”
'We are not only coming here to make art'
Group C’s membership is mix of current and recently graduated students from Concordia’s Photography Department. They are: Ali Rodriguez, Isabelle Bredt, Sigrid Patterson, Gilles Samoisette, Joanni Grenier, Luigi Iagulli, OK Pedersen, Petrija Dos Santos, Mick Sand and Chih-Chien Wang. The collective’s name is purposely abstract to avoid implying meaning, but Wang says self-deprecatingly that Group C could “give a sense that we are not the best, because we’re only C.”
“I see Group C as a meeting of artists asking the question, ‘what does it mean to make art and how is this something we can possibly do together?” says artist and Group C member OK Pedersen.
“At first, we were operating somewhat formlessly, asking each other questions about the meaning of love, family, togetherness, the limits of language, and how a group of ten people who had never met could possibly make something as shiny and grand as Art together.”
Wang says the collective came together intuitively, akin to making a nice soup or dish.
“I missed the connection to people, and I feel a lot of students miss that opportunity to work with other people. We all, consciously or not, know that we are not only coming here to make art.”
'I am excited to experiment, play, learn, maybe fail a couple of times'
Each week of the exhibition, a different artist will inhabit the space. From week to week there will be performances, artist talks, and opportunities for the public to interact directly with the artists. Members of Group C will explore the theme of negotiation through nine chapters, one for each week. A film work created by the collective—which is about gathering, memory, and love—will be presented throughout the course of the exhibition.
“I am excited to experiment, play, learn, maybe fail a couple of times, and activate the space over and over again. It’s going to be really alive and exciting. Sometimes I also feel nervous because it’s been a while since exhibitions like these were actually possible” says artist and Group C member Ali Rodriguez.
“I feel a lot of gratitude for our upcoming show, to Chih-Chien, to the group, to the Maison de la Culture Janine-Sutto,” says Pedersen. “Working on the show has become our first real experiment as a group about being a group, a kind of prelude, learning to negotiate a collective identity without erasing what is essential to each of us individually.”
Learn more about the Photography program in the Department of Studio Arts.