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Recto/Verso II

Summer Spatial Intensive


July 23 – August 3, 2012

Exhibition description

From July 23 to August 3, 2012, Concordia's Faculty of Fine Arts (FOFA) Gallery returns for the second year with Recto/Verso, a two-week summer intensive studio that inverts the gallery's display space into a site of production and exchange. The vitrine spaces of the FOFA gallery are a thin membrane between distinct public spaces. Recto/Verso invites an active investigation of these publics and spaces, one that has changed drastically in light of the ongoing student movement and its responses.

This summer's Recto/Verso programming is considering this swelling activism in Québec as a backdrop and starting point from which to further investigate it and other ideas of manifestation and of demonstration. The slippage between these words and actions allow for a ripe site of production. The cultural producers' role has been traditionally to manifest, as in, to bring into public view or physical presence that which we have been thinking, feeling or desiring. The cultural producer demonstrates through modeled behaviors, productions, performances and engagements.

Adhering these two approaches to the "recto/verso" format, “manifestation/demonstration" * considers the role of the artist's agency and puts into question the convergence between art and activism.

During Recto/Verso, the FOFA Gallery acts as a platform for dialogue and consideration for the plurality of voices that occupy these conversations, both central and peripheral to the current climate of movement.  As such, the Recto/Verso Collective and École de la Montagne Rouge, an initiative of young, conscientious artists who are mainly from the bachelor of graphic design program at UQAM, is experimenting with ways of using the spaces of the gallery as sites for gathering, place-making, production and exchange.

École de la Montagne Rouge

"Most current ‘debates’ are debates about numbers: How much should be reinvested in education and who will pick up the tab? But you rarely hear anyone ask this fundamental question: What is the purpose of education? For some, education should be a centre of intellectual entrepreneurship that produces employees and marketable patents. Yet, this would be a radical departure from the original mission of universities, which is to pass on humanity’s cultural, intellectual and scientific heritage and teach critical thinking.”

-Éric Martin and Simon Tremblay-Pepin, Université Inc.

Who are we?

The École de la Montagne Rouge is an initiative of young, conscientious artists who are mainly from the bachelor of graphic design program at UQAM. Through its actions, thoughts and research in the area of graphics, EDLMR offers a different and original aesthetic approach to revolutionary movements and an alternative way of helping the Québec Spring make its mark.

We and thousands of other students across Québec believe that education is a right, not a privilege reserved for the well-off. The tuition increase jeopardizes access to higher learning for our generation and future generations.

Sensing that an unlimited general strike is looming, many protest movements and pressure tactics are being organized across Québec. This is an opportunity for all students to show solidarity, defend our points of view and get involved so that we can create a balance of power in relations with the government. Our victory depends on the daily efforts made by each and every one of you.

"No pierdas el tino / Don’t lose your aim/ Ne perdez pas votre objectif"

Maria Ezcurra | Jacqueline Fortson | Carmen Giménez Cacho | Ana Elena González | Flavia Hevia | Maya Khankhoje

A group of Mexican women, all living in Montreal, will create a piñata as part of the Recto/Verso+ project on August 2nd, 2012. The piñata will be broken at the end of the day with the collaboration of the Recto/ Verso Programming Collective, École de la Montagne Rouge and the public.

A piñata is an important Mexican tradition, consisting of a decorated container made of papier-mâché or pottery, filled with candies, fruits and toys, that is then broken by a group of people, usually during a birthday party or religious celebration. The piñata will take the form of a cornucopia, similar to the map of Mexico, a gesture that represents a series of complex social and political issues. While the original idea was intended to symbolize the difficulties that have been taking place in our country, Mexico, and that are ever more visible due to the recent controversial presidential elections, this work also contemplates our current context in Montreal. Therefore we are inviting the public to come and share their responses and aspirations. The piñata will be filled with diverse symbols of individual and collective desires and ideas for possible solutions, represented through images, texts, and objects, of the current political climates of social movements. Following the tradition, the piñata will be smashed in turns with a stick, while singing songs, sharing stories, and eating food, until it breaks, spreading its prizes, which will be shared with participants. This is a collaborative and participatory project that intends to break the tension and release intentions through art and creative processes, not only by exposing social and political problems, but also by looking together for possible solutions.

(+) Although the recto is the front and verso is the back side of something, we see it also as the interior and exterior, what you show and hide.

"Rouge ta Rue"

Open-wi sent out an open call for photographs and animation of the Quebec student protests and manifestations casseroles. Within one week they received over 500 photographs, videos and animated images that form the Rouge ta rue video.

Rouge ta rue celebrates the collective, inclusive and street-level activism that have marked the Quebec student strike against tuition hikes and protests against loi 78.

FOFA Gallery will be showing a 10s clip from the Rouge ta rue video.  The clip is by Malcolm Sutherland. The video is a collaborative montage created by Alison Reiko Loader, Nancy Bouchard, Magda Olszanoeski, Kim Sawchuk, Scottmontreal, Matt Soar and Owen Chapman’s Rouge ta Rue.  Courtesy of Wi Journal of Mobile Media.  June 2012.

Silkscreening workshops

During the two week period of Recto / Verso, the FOFA Gallery Summer Programming Collective and École de la Montagne Rouge will be facilitating silk screening sessions in the Gallery, free open to publics.

Weekly Outdoor Screening Series I-IV

FOFA Gallery is proud to present our annual screening series Recto/Verso for four summer evenings, free to the public. The walk in screenings are programmed from the ONF/NFB catalogue with the intention of increasing access to the artistic experimentation and rich filmic heritage of Québec and Canada.

Black Box Screening Series

In building the programming for our outdoor screening series, the Recto/Verso collective came across important films from the NFB catalogue that strongly supported the Recto/Verso theme of Manifestation/Demonstration. Due to the length of these flims, FOFA Gallery has ommitted them from the Weekly Outdoor Screening Series; however, the gallery will be presenting these films, one per day on loop, within the Black Box. 

Titles include:

  • 24 heures ou plus, Gilles Groulx, 1973, 113 min 09 s
  • L'Acadie l'Acadie?!? / Acadia Acadia?!?, Michel Brult and Pierre Perrault, 1971, 117 min 51 s
  • Le chat dans le sac / The Cat in The Bag, Gilles Groulx, 1964, 73 min 54 s
  • Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance / Kanehsatake - 270 ans de résistance, Alanis Obomsawin, 1993, 119 min 15 s

Events schedule

Week 1 Events

Monday, July 23 – Friday, July 27 — Black Box Screening Series

Monday — Le Chat dans le sac/The Cat in the Bag

Tuesday — L'Acadie l'Acadie?!? / Acadia Acadia?!?

Wednesday — Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance / Kanehsatake - 270 ans de résistance

Thursday — 24 heures ou plus

Friday — Le Chat dans le sac/The Cat in the Bag

Monday, July 23, 2–4 p.m. Silkscreening

Tuesday, July 24, 12–4 p.m. Silkscreening

Wednesday, July 25, 12–4 p.m. Silkscreening

Thursday, July 26 — Reception: 8:30 p.m. , Screening: 9 p.m.


Week 2 Events

Monday, July 30 — Friday, August 3, Black Box Screening Series

Monday — L'Acadie l'Acadie?!? / Acadia Acadia?!?

Tuesday —  Kanehsatake 270 Years of Resistance / Kanehsatake - 270 ans de résistance

Wednesday — 24 heures ou plus

Thursday – Le Chat dans le sac/The Cat in the Bag

Monday, July 30, 2–4 p.m. — Silksreening

Tuesday, July 31, 12-4 p.m. — Silkscreening

Wednesday, August 1, 12–4 p.m. — Silkscreening

Thursday, August 2, 5–8 p.m. — Piñata Decorating, 8 PM Piñata Breaking + Reception

Thursday, August 2, 7–8 p.m. — T-shirt Silkscreening

Thursday, August 2 — Reception: 8:30 p.m. , Screening: 9 p.m.


FOFA Gallery would like to express our gratitude to the National Film Board of Canada for their generosity, materials and support for our screening series.

We would also like to thank and acknowledge École de la Montagne Rouge for their collaboration and Wi : Journal of Mobile Media, Concordia University Print Media, Felicity Tayler, Maria Ezcurra, Jacqueline Fortson, Carmen Giménez Cacho, Ana Elena González, Flavia Hevia and Maya Khankhoje for their contributions.

*FOFA Gallery would like to acknowledge the input of several people in the development of these ideas, but specifically Mia Mounia Abousaïd.

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