Christine Davis exhibition at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal



    MONTREAL, May 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Weaving together the interconnected
histories of dance, cinema and the sciences, the works of Christine Davis
conjure up encounters that are surprising, to say the least, between the poet
Stéphane Mallarmé, the dancers Loie Fuller and Vaslav Nijinsky, and the
mathematician Euclid. From May 22 to September 7, 2009, the Musée d'art
contemporain presents Christine Davis.
    Born in Vancouver en 1962, Christine Davis lives and works in Toronto.
Over the last twenty years, she has developed a highly poetic, sensual body of
work exploring literature and the human psyche. The artist projects-literally
and symbolically-images onto unusual screens that are both "feminine" and
fantastical: feathers, buttons, butterflies, flowers...
    This exhibition presents a series of new works by Davis. The three
multimedia installations and eight collages take as their point of departure
two key figures in the beginnings of modernity, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé
(1842-1898) and the dancer and choreographer Loie Fuller (1862-1928). Mallarmé
viewed dance as the ideal form of poetry-as-theatre. Two of his four texts on
dance were devoted to Fuller, a fascinating figure in the early days of modern
dance. Her experiments with electricity, lighting, mirrors and chemical
compounds led Mallarmé to describe her work as both "intoxicating art" and an
"industrial accomplishment."
    In the installation Did I Love a Dream?, 2008-2009, Davis "illuminates"
an excerpt from a film of one of Fuller's trademark serpentine dances. Using a
clever cinematographic technique-projection in reverse-she defies the laws of
gravity. The copper screen hung from the ceiling alludes to Fuller's
experiments with electricity and lighting, while the imposing presence of the
film projector combines with the ethereal projection to form a sculptural
object. The title is drawn from Mallarmé's poem L'Après-midi d'un faune.
    In the eight collages of Euclid/Mallarmé, 2008-2009, Davis embeds lines
from L'Après-midi d'un faune into selected pages of an 1847 edition of
Euclid's Elements. In this way, she replaces the Greek mathematician's text on
three-dimensional space with a poem written at a time when Euclidian geometry
was no longer in vogue.
    Euclid/Orchid, 2008-2009, presents a material and philosophical
dialectic. A page (2D) from Euclid's Elements is projected onto a live orchid
(3D), setting up an opposition between images of time-free space and the very
slow movement of plant growth, between intellect and emotion, between culture
and nature.
    The short video loop Satellite Ballet (for Loie Fuller), 2008-2009,
highlights the technological shifts that occurred at the dawn of both the
twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, taking us from the age of mechanical
reproduction to the digital era. The clip is presented on a dozen iPod Touches
arranged on the walls according to Nijinsky's choreographic notations for
L'Après-midi d'un faune.
    Also on view is an earlier work by Davis, Not I/Pas moi, 2006-2007,
recently acquired by the Musée and presented until October 4, 2009 in The
Collection: Some Installations, an exhibition organized by Josée Bélisle,
curator in charge of the Musée Collection. This piece takes the form of a
hanging screen covered with vintage buttons and flanked by two mirrors.
Excerpts from texts by Samuel Beckett and Simone Weil are screened alternately
in French and English, forwards and backwards, thus becoming readable, in
turn, on the screen and on the mirrors.
    These two complementary presentations will offer visitors a deeper
appreciation of this sensitive, intriguing work. The exhibition Christine
Davis was curated by Lesley Johnstone, curator at the Musée. The works were
developed at the Future Cinema Lab of York University in Toronto, where Davis
inaugurated the Artist Residency Program.

    Catalogue

    The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual, 96-page catalogue, the
result of a happy collaboration between the Musée and the Future Cinema Lab.
It will contain essays by Lesley Johnstone, Musée and exhibition curator,
Olivier Asselin, philosopher and filmmaker, and Josée Bélisle, curator in
charge of the Musée Collection, along with a list of works, a biobibliography
and colour reproductions of the works in situ. The publication will be
available for $24.95 at the museum's Olivieri Bookstore or from your local
bookseller.

    Meet the artist

    Meet Christine Davis (in French) as well as artists Robert Polidori (in
French) and Spring Hurlbut (in English) on Thursday, May 21, from 5 to 6 p.m.
in the exhibition galleries.

    Reading room

    A reading room devoted to the artists featured this summer at the MAC has
been set up in the Mariette-Clermont Lounge adjoining the exhibition
galleries.

    
    Source and information                     Visual material available
    ----------------------                     -------------------------

    Danielle Legentil, MACM                    www.macm.org
    Public Relations Coordinator               Newsroom
    danielle.legentil@macm.org              Link: Visual material
    Tel.: 514.847.6232                         User name: presse
                                               Password: gtrcmedias
    
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For further information:

For further information: Danielle Legentil, MACM, Public Relations
Coordinator, (514) 847-6232, danielle.legentil@macm.org; Visual material
available: www.macm.org, Newsroom, Link: Visual material, User name: presse,
Password: gtrcmedias


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