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NEW ART: Something ambiguous (mais précis à la fois)

An exhibition at Concordia’s Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery uses multiple mediums to address the impulse to move
November 10, 2016
By Renée Dunk

On November 12, I’d rather something ambiguous. Mais précis à la fois, an exhibition of work curated by Sophie Bélair Clément and Marie Claire Forté, opens at Concordia’s Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery.

In keeping with the gallery’s mandate to respond to societal issues, tensions and changes, Clément and Forté explore spatiality, movement, fertility and aging.

We spoke to Forté about the artists’ inspiration for the exhibition.

What will visitors to the gallery see in the space?

Marie Claire Forté: Gallery patrons can expect a collection of work gathered around a question Sophie and I have, which is: what generates movement? Video works by artists Isabelle Pauwels ​and Jason Simon, plus a video installation by Sophie will be shown for the duration of the exhibition.

We will screen Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie at the Cinémathèque Québécoise on November 28, K8 Hardy’s Outfitumentary in the gallery on November 19 and December 13, and Catherine Lalonde will do a poetry reading on December 6.

Once or twice a week, I will perform a choreography that I created with my friend Alanna Kraaijeveld. Additionally, we’ll display some posters Isabelle made and we’ll be assembling a book of texts sourced from the project (the works, the artists and the thinking behind it).

Visually, the gallery will be sparsely occupied and the art will invite the viewer to spend a good amount of time there. During the events, the space will also function as a performance venue and a screening room.

What is the significance of the exhibition title?

MCF: Sophie and I are quoting a conversation that we had about the title. It intentionally doesn’t define a unifying lens to consider the art. It is open-ended, a presentation rather than a representation. And it’s a true statement: we value specificity, and enjoy when specificity leads to multiplicity or ambiguity.

Have you worked together before?

MCF: Sophie has a background in visual arts and I have a background in choreography, but we’ve both always valued interdisciplinarity. We first worked together in 2012. At that time, we knew each other’s work quite well and Sophie invited me to create something in her exhibition 2 rooms, equal size, one empty, one with secretary at Artexte.

The following year, we worked together again for her exhibition Des formes d’égale résistance at Casino Luxembourg. Our collaboration is one in which we work alongside each other in dialogue — we do not collapse our desires into a shared finality.

How does this exhibition connect to your other work? 

MCF: For me, it is exactly aligned with my practice, and I think this is true of Sophie as well. Her work has always included invitation, and so she has taken on the invitations to other contributors in the exhibition.

We are both revealing ourselves a little more than usual. As women who are nearing 40 and deeply sensitive to the erasure of women in general and especially beyond fertility, we are playfully showing ourselves.

We aim to do so not ostentatiously, but rather through dialogue, within and beyond the works we have made and the exhibition project itself.

I’d rather something ambiguous. Mais précis à la fois
opens Saturday, November 12 at Concordia’s Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery. A vernissage will take place that afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m.

See the exhibition schedule for performances, screenings and public readings. 


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