OTTAWA, June 11, 2015 /CNW/ - Canadassimo, the installation created by the art collective BGL (Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère and Nicolas Laverdière) for the Canada Pavilion at the 56 Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte – la Biennale di Venezia, has been enthusiastically received by the international press and visitors alike.
Venice's leading daily Il Gazzettino rated Canadassimo among the ten not-to-be-missed presentations. The work has also attracted the attention of key newspapers such as The Guardian and such prestigious specialized publications as Kunstforum International, Berlin Art Kunst and CCQ a creative conversation, as well as being covered by media based in a number of European and South American countries (Austria, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Russia, the United Kingdom and Brazil, for example).
The public has until November 22, 2015, to enjoy the unique, immersive experience of BGL's installation, which features numerous references to Canadian culture and North American lifestyle. Canadassimo has received support from the Royal Bank of Canada, the exhibition's Presenting Sponsor, and Aimia, its Major Sponsor, together with generous assistance from the National Gallery's Contemporary Art Circle Patrons, its donors from across Canada, and the Distinguished Patrons of the NGC Foundation.
Now that they have returned home, the members of BGL are busy working on their next project, Water Velocity, a major piece for the Aquatics Centre of the Pan Am Games, being held in Toronto from July 10 to 26, 2015. The trio is also finalizing La vélocité des lieux, a monumental 18-metre-tall Ferris wheel composed of buses, placed nose to tail. Located at the intersection of Henri-Bourassa and Pie-IX, in the Montréal-Nord neighbourhood, the sculpture makes a spectacular addition to the revitalization project for this major gateway to the city. La vélocité des lieux will be officially inaugurated by the Ville de Montréal next fall.
As so often with BGL's work, Canadassimo blurs the traditional boundaries of the art experience. Partially obscured by scaffolding, which gives the impression the exhibition is still under construction, the Canada Pavilion has become the site of a vast immersive installation. Completely transforming the space, BGL has taken advantage of the building's architecture to create an intriguing path through a world of products, objects and materials, where art rubs shoulders with merchandise and economics. Visitors access the pavilion through a small typically québécois neighbourhood convenience store, with tinned goods and other household essentials.
This strange, chaotic area is followed by a living space under renovation, which itself leads to a studio crammed with all kinds of objects, including hundreds of cans covered in drips of coloured paint.
A staircase leads from this section to the scaffolding structure, which is covered by a terrace that extends from the pavilion and overlooks the Giardini. Once there, visitors are invited to drop coins into a maze of gutters that spill into the building's large glassed walls. This action reinforces the theme of consumerism in Canadassimo while also calling attention to the complex links between interior and exterior, between the structure of the pavilion and the architectonic elements of the installation.
Over the past twenty years, BGL has taken part in numerous exhibitions, including events at MASS MoCA (North Adams, United States, 2012), MAC/VAL (Val-de-Marne, France, 2011-2012), the National Gallery of Canada (2008-2009), Casino Luxembourg–Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg (2005), the LaM (Lille Métropole, France, 2003) and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2001). The collective has also participated in the Bienal del fin del mundo (2007), the Biennale de Montréal (2007), the Bienal de la Habana (2006) and the Manif d'art, la Biennale de Québec (2000, 2005), as well in Nuits blanches in Calgary (2012), Paris (2011) and Toronto (2008). BGL is represented by Parisian Laundry in Montreal and Diaz Contemporary in Toronto.
About Marie Fraser, guest curator
Marie Fraser teaches art history and museology at the Université du Québec à Montréal. She has organized some thirty exhibitions in Canada and Europe, and was Chief Curator at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal from 2010 to 2013.
For more information about BGL, the curator Marie Fraser or Canada's participation in the 2015 Venice Biennale, visit the webpage dedicated to the Canada Pavilion.
Canadassimo is accompanied by a 200-page colour catalogue, in English and French. The publication includes a foreword by the Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada, Marc Mayer, an essay by the exhibition's curator, Marie Fraser, an interview with BGL and an essay by Wayne Baerwaldt. The catalogue is on sale at the Canada Pavilion, the Biennale Bookstores, the NGC bookstore and online at www.shopngc.ca, at a cost of $39.95 CDN.
SOURCE National Gallery of Canada
For further information: For all media inquiries: To set up an interview or for more information about Canadassimo, please contact: Josée-Britanie Mallet, Senior Media and Public Relations Officer, National Gallery of Canada, 1.613.990.6835, [email protected]; To set up an interview or for more information about Ville de Montreal's inaugural event for La vélocité des lieux, please contact: Marie-Noël Phaneuf, Annexe Communication, 514.844.8864, ext. 211, [email protected]