Thursday, January 27, 2011

Come to Luis Jacob's show!

Elaine Yau, 1988.
Luis Jacob
Pictures at an Exhibition
Curated by David Liss. Organized by MOCCA

Cabinet (NGC Toronto)
Curated by Luis Jacob

Geoffrey Pugen
Sahara Sahara

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
952 Queen Street West Toronto ON M6J 1G8  

Luis Jacob, They Sleep With One Eye Open (detail), 2008. Courtesy of the artist and Birch Libralato, Toronto.

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is pleased to launch our 2011 season with two projects by internationally-acclaimed, Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob, and a special presentation of Geoffrey Pugen's two-channel video, Sahara Sahara, taking place in our galleries from February 4 through March 27, 2011.

Luis Jacob | Pictures at an Exhibition is the second chapter in a multi-city, mid-career survey of his work and features a carefully chosen selection of early and recent work, including Album X, the latest in a series of narrative sequences consisting of hundreds of images culled from a variety of published sources mounted together to form an "image bank". In addition to small hard-edge and monochromatic paintings, the exhibition also includes a selection of large-scale canvases from the series They Sleep With One Eye Open, (2008). In each of these, two hallucinatory eyes emerge from a dazzling patterned background, like spectral faces from murky depths. Installed together they appear to watch visitors with an intense gaze, and suggest the possibility of an uncanny but living work of art endowed with animistic powers.

In conjunction with his exhibition in MOCCA's main space, Luis Jacob has been invited to curate an exhibition for the recently inaugurated National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art program. For Cabinet (NGC Toronto) Jacob combines objects drawn from various collection areas of the National Gallery not ordinarily displayed together, extending the thematic notions of viewership, perception and the light of artistic inspiration embodied in Pictures at an Exhibition. This Cabinet, like others in the series that Jacob has curated for other venues, can be seen as a "model" or "performance" of a museum—a museum within a museum—presented as a coherent work of art in its own right.

Together these exhibition projects consider the essential components and fundamental dynamics of aesthetic experience: light, color, pictorial form, the context of the exhibition. Jacob conjures a vision that is about vision; that is about looking, seeing and understanding.

Luis Jacob has achieved an international reputation, particularly since his participation in Documenta 12 in 2007, with solo exhibitions at the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg and the Hamburger Kunstverein, and in Canada at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, the Darling Foundry and Musée d'art de Joliette. In 2010 his work has been on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in the exhibition Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance, and in the Kunsthalle Bern in the exhibition Animism. Luis Jacob is represented by Birch Libralato, Toronto.

In the face of the global resource shift, Geoffrey Pugens' Sahara Sahara depicts speculative pre-apocalyptic myth-making. The 2-channel video follows a small organized group of misfits that are vandalizing local technologies and the fossil fuel industry. Cinematic and absurd, the video occupies the heist, action and dance genres to seductively address machismo and the recent economic crisis.

A graduate of OCAD and an MFA graduate in Film & Video at York University, Geoffrey Pugen specializes in photography & video, and shows internationally. With theatrical absurdity, he explores the relationship between the real & the perceived, the natural & the virtual, man & animal; all through altering and manipulating media. Insightful, yet humourous, Geoffrey asks us to question what we think we know, society ís perceptions of us, and our preconceived notion of self, through fictitious construct. Geoffrey Pugen is represented by Angell Gallery, Toronto.

Media Contact
Fayiaz Chunara

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art | | 952 Queen Street West Toronto ON M6J 1G8 | 416.395.0067 | Gallery Hours | Tuesday – Sunday 11 – 6 | Admission: Pay What You Can

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Les mains ont la parole...

As a child from the 1970s, I grew up watching a strict selection of channel 2 and 3 programs for kids, like Récré A2. One of the feature shows was "Mes mains ont la parole" (1979) which, to me, was so intriguing as it had a certain soothing and poetic effect on me, like magic. The show was originally created for the hearing impaired young public, it was the first one of its kind on French TV. Everything appealed to me from Mozart's opening music to the beauty of their hands moving so deftly to form the symbols of sign language.

Once the Mozartian introduction (from Piano Concerto n°21) died away, Marie-Thérèse L'Huillier-Abbou would start telling us a story in sign language and the voice over would put it into words. It would always start like this:

'Regardez, regardez mes mains.
Elles vont vous raconter une histoire.
L'histoire de...'

Now here is why this memory came back to my mind... Last weekend, I was offered a spectacular duo of illusionists who pulled the strings of their art in front of my mesmerized eyes.
I spent Saturday in the good hands of Sylvain Chaumet's L'Illusioniste, a gently melancholy and absurd animated cartoon about tricks and tricksters, and magicians. Yes, magicians exist! Suffice it to laugh our way through Tatischeff's ordinary and less ordinary magical trips to get a hint or a whiff of what sheer magic is. Fragile, tender like the pages of a book blown open by the wind and whose shadow form the fluttering wings of a bird. The screenplay was based on Jacques Tati's script, so there are no real dialogues. Don't force it if you are allergic to Tati's films!

Sunday afternoon we sat, watched and listened with great care to the 'octopus playing' technique (as Marco coined it) of grand pianist Hélène Grimaud at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Yes, last weekend was really all about illusionists.

Les mains ont eu la parole et, croyez-moi, j'ai bien écarquillé mes yeux et tendu l'oreille!
(Their hands did talk and believe me, I stared wide-eyed and pricked up my ears)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pape Manor-Work in Progress!

Our tree in the garden, from our bedroom window.
Welcome to our house!
The first piece we bought for the house was this late 1950s Sputnik brass chandelier (found at Zig Zag) to playfully greet us in the hallway!
Please don't forget to put on your slippers, we just sanded the floors.
Let me show you the main floor...
The kitchen (through the window you can see the sun/mud room, which we might get rid of). The sun comes in from the garden!
  A smart way to keep your dirty dishes away from your guests' sight! Our oldy-worldy butler's pantry, the sink is on the right by the window. We will ultimately turn this tucked-away pantry into a washroom when we renovate the kitchen.
The front room
The dining room
Now I'll take you upstairs to the second floor!
Our not-so-functional bathroom. To be improved, sooner than later!

Typical 1930s ventilation technique. The chimney goes into the attic and out through a pipe.
Our bedroom
The middle room or the guest room/ baby room.
The office with a walk-out balcony onto Pape Avenue- great for inspiration and relaxation from spring to autumn!
Hope you enjoyed the "petite visite guidée de la maison".

For your information:
Here is an update of the renovation works we have set as priorities for Operation Pape Manor, Phase 1:
1- Floor sanding and waxing: done before we actually moved in. It changed everything, not only the floors, but the whole look of the house.
2- The 'knob and tube' was put to code just before we moved in (hence a lot of small holes in the walls). Before we patch them, we now have to get the electrician over to shift a few switches, add more outlets, etc. Basically we need to make the electrical more functional : to be done this current week...
3-Energy-saving audit: done! Now we need to get a quote and get started with the insulation job + other energy-friendly improvements. This will have to be done before end of March in order to benefit from an Ontario energy-saving program that will refund us some of the money invested.

Painting, wallcoverings and bathroom reno will come next in Spring (Phase 2).
The kitchen and the sun room will probably not be dealt with before a year time (Phase 3).

No rush!
I am learning how to be patient ;O)

Chi va piano va sano e chi va sano va lontano!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Our first Christmas at Pape Manor!

Taking a ride at night through Toronto during the Holiday season was quite something! Torontonians can easily get over the top when it comes to illustrating their vision of Christmas, and any LED (or not) garland was used to display a certain sense of wonderland.

 As seen on Margherita Street ;O)

So bearing this possible extravaganza in mind, we decided to deck our halls in a slightly more sober way... A clear lights garland outside on the front porch, a wreath on the front door, a big tree in the living room and Pfew, done - let the magic happen!

We had a wonderful Christmas filled with the love and warmth of our family and friends who visited us. This is a very promising beginning for our adventures at Pape Manor - as a friend of ours amusingly called it. To be continued!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphanie & Cie.

Since the Middle Ages, in celebration of the Epiphany (Kings' Day), French people traditionally eat Galettes des Rois. Galette des Rois is called King's Cake in English. Here is a song called J'aime la galette, meaning I Love Cake, that French kids sing on Kings' Day!

" J'aime la galette,
Savez-vous comment ?
Quand elle est bien faite
Avec du beurre dedans.
Trala la la la la la la lère,
Tra la la la la la la la la,
Tra la la la la la la la lère,
Tra la la la la la la la la."

Today was the 12th day after Christmas, the Epiphany. 
In my new hometown, Toronto, this Christian landmark is not as celebrated as in France.

Never mind. I still intend to bake my "galette des rois" for this coming Sunday as we have guests over for tea, that will be a good opportunity for them to discover a new tradition without choking on it, hopefully... ;O)

You don't have a clue what I am talking about... See what Clotilde says about the tradition, it should brighten up your wintry, snowy skies with the recipe of a buttery and fluffy galette!

"It is a typically French tradition to celebrate l'Epiphanie: this holiday celebrates the day on which the three kings Gaspard, Balthazar and Melchior came to pay their tribute to the world-famous baby born just a couple of weeks before. In French those wise men go by the cool name of Les Rois Mages (the Magi), and their first names are totally coming back in fashion these days, let me tell you. (Well, except maybe for Melchior, that's a tough one.)
Like many a Christian holiday, this one has lost its religious significance in most French families, gaining a sweeter, much more buttery one in the bargain: on the day of the Epiphany, families share a Galette des Rois, a flaked pastry pie filled with frangipane, a butter-rich, smooth mixture of crème d'amande (almond cream) and crème pâtissière (pastry cream)*.
The actual date on which to have the galette has gotten fuzzier and fuzzier: some families celebrate on the 6th, some on the first Sunday in January, but it's mostly considered fine to celebrate it all through the month of January. (I must however protest against the sale of galettes before the new year, and sometimes as soon as November. I mean, really.)
The fabulous thing about a Galette des Rois, apart from its deliciousness, is the family ritual that goes with it: the youngest child of the family hides under the table, an adult divides the galette in even slices, and the child calls out which slice goes to whom.
Why all the fuss you ask? Aah, it is just this small thing I haven't yet mentioned: la fève is hidden in the galette. Historically a dry fava bean (hence the name), it is now a little porcelain figure. (That figure used to have some kind of religious meaning but that, too, has gone the way of the dodo.) Whoever gets the fève in his serving is named King (or Queen) for the day, gets to wear the golden paper crown that came with the galette, picks who the Queen (or King) will be, and glows with pride for weeks hence." (From Chocolate & Zucchini)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 good reasons to express yourself!

Any plans for the new year? Whether action-packed, or/and very laid back, I wish you all the best to get it right - your way.

Whether it is by sipping on a cup of tea in a swimming-pool, or by learning Spanish to better dance the salsa, nothing will stop us in 2011. Let us declare 2011 the year of better self-expression!

Go, go, go forward and don't look back in anger !

PS: Thank you Cristy for sharing the link to the video. Thank you for sharing your fantasy and magical world. Your incredible performance of Sam Brown's I love my Tea, at dinner time the other day, will sure remain a classic in the archives of my memory.
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