Rashid Johnson The Garden, 2010.
Asian Brain Trust the house that Whiteness built, 2018.
Photo : courtesy of Galerie de l’UQAM
Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal
September 18 – November 21, 2020
[En anglais]
There is a moment in Mending when the viewer stands at the heart of the space, shouldered by two recently acquired photographic works by Kamissa Ma Koïta and Amartey Golding that centre on Black experiences, while across the room a series of five large paintings by Monique Régimbald-Zeiber magnify the epidermis of aging white skin over the names of the King’s Daughters in Nouvelle France. In tension, these works encapsulate an often strained intergenerational and cross-cultural discourse in Québec on the urgency of recognizing and supporting a broader range of artists in institutional collecting practices. Contemplating the juxtaposition of these three pieces, and the layers of repair they aspire to represent, it becomes abundantly clear how director Louise Déry and her team hoped to relaunch programming with an eye towards the social, conceptual, and aesthetic legacy of the university’s collection.

 This powerful triad is one of the many highlights in an exhibition that re-engages the Collection d’oeuvres d’art de l’UQAM, comprised of over 4,000 works spanning almost a half a century. As the gallery’s first in-person exhibition after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mending looks back at the past while projecting a critical eye for the connective tissue that unites a broad cast of actors. From the outset, Mario Merola’s Presto Moderato (1966), a colourful composition of vertical wooden slats that pulsate with energy, harks back to the university’s earlier days with an artist who served as professor for over twenty years. In the main space, a number of works employ the structural motif of a grid, such as Michel Goulet’s Positions Perplexes (2004), a cold steel structure that binds delicate and brightly painted everyday objects.

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