Patrick Faigenbaum, Born in Paris in 1954, Massimo Family, Rome, 1986, Gelatin silver print, 7/8, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.
John Currin, Born in Boulder, Colorado, in 1962, Sister, 1992, Oil on canvas, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, © John Currin. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
Karel Funk, Born in Winnipeg in 1971, Untitled No. 54, 2012, Acrylic on Masonite, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Purchase, gift of Michael St.B. Harrison.
Jana Sterbak, Born in Prague in 1955, Generic Man, 1987-1989 (print 2002), Duratran display transparency, light box , Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal , Purchased, with the generous funds from the employees of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal,
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1380 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
1 + 1 = 1. When the Collections
of the MMFA and the MAC Collide
February 21-June 15, 2014
MMFA presents in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), an exhibition featuring a convergence of the collections of contemporary art of the two institutions, 1 + 1 = 1. When the Collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Collide.
For the very first time, at the instigation of Nathalie Bondil, Director and Chief Curator of the MMFA, the public will be able to see some of the most remarkable works collected by the city’s two great art museums exhibited together, thanks to the efforts of the co-curators of this event, Stéphane Aquin, Curator of Contemporary Art at the MMFA, and John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC.
A celebration for the fiftieth anniversary of the MAC, this exhibition will embody a genuine dialogue between the two Montreal institutions. Through this aesthetic conversation, the show will reflect the ties of friendship that unite these museums, and will reveal the city’s extensive collection of contemporary art, one of the most impressive in Canada.
Nathalie Bondil states, “In addition to celebrating the anniversary of the Musée d’Art contemporain, this initiative of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is inspired by our profound conviction as citizens: we wish to show that our institutions dialogue and work together in evolution rather than in competition, with the firm intention of building unifying links and fostering the generous spirit of a cultural metropolis for everyone.”
John Zeppetelli adds, “The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is delighted to partner with the Montreal of Fine Arts in an historic event, which will bring together, for the very first time in a joint exhibition, the contemporary art collections of these two great Montreal institutions. As the title implies, 1+1=1 adds, combines and reconfigures, at least for the duration of the presentation, two institutional visions, two different histories and mandates, to create a unified whole, the elements of which are indistinguishable from one another.”
Stéphane Aquin concludes by pointing out that “it is important for us to send a clear signal of unity not only to the city but also to the art milieu of Quebec and Canada. Contrary to the received ideas often promulgated by the media, our two museums do not work against each other. Our relationship is based on friendship and we have the same fundamental mission: to enrich the lives of our fellow citizens.”
Circuit of this exhibition When one work of art is entered into a dialogue with another, meaning emerges, and a mental picture arises.
Viewing these works side by side causes a number of issues and themes to come to light, which the exhibition explores through a presentation revealing the concerns of the time.
The main challenge of this exhibition was to create a circuit or narrative that encompassed several evocative themes.
The curators’ job was to identify moments of complicity between works, to make them “speak”. The cumulative effect of these encounters, the various “intentions” and meanings that emerge from them, constitute the chapters of a story.
Exchanges on the nature of identity, the relationship between the individual and society, love and death, dreams and memory, the impulse toward the spiritual, the transformation of the body, and a world in conflict take place in the galleries and as many sections of the exhibition that follow.
The exhibition enables exploration of both museums’ specific approaches to the development of their collections, their complementary aspects, and their respective strong points. For example, installations and multimedia, just like works from the classic practitioners of contemporary art, are well represented at the MAC, while the MMFA has concentrated more on collecting pieces related to disciplines in the fine arts, most notably painting and sculpture, as well as the work of talents from the newly emerging global art scene. The two collections form a remarkable whole, an asset that confirms Montreal’s standing in contemporary art today.
Visual art as seen by several artists represented in the exhibition
David Altmejd“Right from the beginning, I wanted to make something that would be very different from everything else, simultaneously very strange and very appealing, at a time when it is not very fashionable to be appealing. . . . Why could films be visually fantastic, and not sculptures?”
Valérie Blass“My work is impure, vulgar, crude, and instinctive, sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly, often in very bad taste—just like life!”
Louise Bourgeois“All my work… all my subjects, have found their inspiration in my childhood. My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.”
Geneviève Cadieux“I think that an artist works intuitively. In any case, that is how it works for me.”
Pierre Dorion“I would say that I paint from photography, but I take photographs as a painter.”
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer“I work with technology because it is impossible not to. Technology is one of the inevitable languages of globalization.”
Bruce Nauman“There is a tendency to clutter things up, to try to make sure people know something is art, when all that’s necessary is to present it, to leave it alone. I think the hardest thing to do is to present an idea in the most straightforward way.”
Sterling Ruby“I want to allow people to say, ‘Wow, that’s f—ed up,’ and place their own kind of read on them.”
Françoise Sullivan“Art as idea and as action. The only way to begin to understand a work of art is in its essential relationship with life’s fundamental values.”
Bill Viola"In the daylight, we do what we need to do. In the nocturnal dimension it’s a whole different world, and that’s really where the essence of my work lives — in the place that you can’t see. It’s down at the emotional centre. It’s down deep."
Jeff Wall “People only talk about celebrities. What I’m interested in is social invisibility.”
Credits The exhibition 1 + 1 = 1. When the Collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and of the Musée d’art contemporain was initiated and is presented by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts would like to thank its exhibition partners, Air Canada, Bell, La Presse and The Gazette, for their support. The MMFA’s contemporary art programme benefits from the financial support of the RBC Foundation and the MMFA’s Young Philanthropists’ Circle.
The Museum also wishes to thank Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications for its essential contribution. Our gratitude also extends to the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing support.
We would also like to thank all our members and the many individuals, corporations and foundations who support our mission, especially the Fondation de la Chenelière, headed by Michel de la Chenelière, and the Arte Musica Foundation.