Commemorating the darkroom
At the National Gallery of Canada
October 18, 2013 to January 5, 2014
OTTAWA, Oct. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - Since 2005, Montreal photographer Michel
Campeau has photographed the vestiges of what is now termed "analogue"
photography. His subject matter—darkrooms, film cameras, safety lights,
and flashbulbs—is now almost archaic, products of a by-gone industrial
era. From October 18, 2013, to next January 5, the National Gallery of
Canada presents some forty of these photographs in the exhibition Michel Campeau: Icons of Obsolescence. The photographs capture and commemorate not only darkrooms across
Canada, but those in Mexico, Cuba, France, Belgium, Germany, Japan,
Vietnam and Nigeria. In other images, the artist isolates old cameras
and photographic paraphernalia in a void of black, transforming them
into icons worthy of veneration. More than documents, these images are
first and foremost works of visual art and poetry. For more
information, visit gallery.ca.
Organized by NGC Associate Curator, Photographs, Andrea Kunard, Michel Campeau: Icons of Obsolescence highlights the materiality of the older photographic method, while
alluding to the psyche of a culture increasingly removed from the
physical in its embrace of the intangible world of the digital.
In his photos, Campeau transforms the previously familiar; safety lights
glow as suns, blue moons appear at the bottom of waste bins, an
Alexander Calder sculpture blossoms from light dodgers, and strips of
coloured tape transmute into a Guido Molinari painting. The artist's
images blend documentary and art, nostalgia with rational clarity,
purposefulness with chance. They are a reminder of the enormous
transformation that has occurred in just over a decade for one of
humanity's most accessible and ubiquitous mediums.
Andrea Kunard is Associate Curator, Photographs at the National Gallery of Canada. She
has presented several important exhibitions, including Shifting Sites (2000), Susan McEachern: Structures of Meaning (2004), Michael Semak (2005), The Painted Photograph (2006), Cheryl Sourkes: Public Camera (2007), Steeling the Gaze (2008) and Scott McFarland: A Cultivated View (2009), Fred Herzog (2011), Spaces of the City (2011), and Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences (2012). She has taught the history of photography, Canadian art and
cultural theory at Carleton and Queen's University. In addition, she
has co-edited The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada, and written articles on contemporary and historical photography in a
variety of publications including The Journal of Canadian Art History, the International Journal of Canadian Studies, Early Popular Visual Culture, Muse, C Magazine and ETC Montréal.
Michel Campeau and Robert Burley in conversation with Marc Mayer
On Saturday, October 26, come listen to Robert Burley and photographer
Michel Campeau speak on their respective exhibitions addressing the
disappearance of analogue photography. Hosted by NGC Director Marc
Mayer. At 2:30 pm in the Auditorium. Free admission.
NGCmagazine.ca, the National Gallery of Canada's online magazine is a frequently
updated source of information on the Canadian art world and the
goings-on at the National Gallery of Canada. Correspondents from
across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical
and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine includes exclusive
interviews with artists. This month, read the article Requiem for film: Robert Burley and Michel Campeau and the interview with the artist.
Connect with Michel Campeau: Icons of Obsolescence
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About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections
of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains
Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st
century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous
Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and
photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played
a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its
principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for
all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art
exhibition programme. For more information: gallery.ca.
SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada
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