Exhibition - Geoffrey Farmer at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - February 8 to April 20, 2008

    MONTREAL, Jan. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - "The Geoffrey Farmer exhibition is the
largest devoted to this artist to date. Nothing we know about the Vancouver
scene could have predicted this work." Those are the enthusiastic words with
which Musée Director Marc Mayer presents the new exhibition Geoffrey Farmer
slated to run from February 8 to April 20, 2008 at the Musée d'art
contemporain de Montréal, thanks to the generous support of BMO Financial

    Geoffrey Farmer is certainly one of the most unique and disconcerting
voices in the Vancouver art community. Borrowing elements from conceptual and
installation art, he practices an aesthetics of accumulation to works that
incorporate sculpture, video, performance, drawing, photography and the found
object. In a tone that combines poetry and social commentary, Farmer examines
history, pop culture and art history, as well as the exhibition process
itself, with its fictional power and its temporal aspect.


    The exhibition comprises some twenty works produced over the last fifteen
years, including some new pieces produced especially for the show. Within this
second group is The Idea and the Absence of the Idea, 2008. Farmer has cut out
a small area of the gallery's wooden floor, reduced it to a pulp and then used
it to make a piece of paper on which he has written a quotation from Gordon
Matta-Clark: "Not the Work, the Worker." Here the artist employs a favourite
strategy of his: defining the work on the basis of the process that gave rise
to it.
    Also featured are key works that have marked Farmer's career, such as
Trailer and Entrepreneur Alone Returning Back to Sculptural Form, both from
2002. The former refers to the cinematic in order to give form to an intense
personal experience. While an art student, Farmer witnessed an accident in
which a woman was struck and crushed by a semi-trailer. In the latter, the
artist has developed an ongoing site specific work, reinstalled for the Musée,
exploring the disintegration of identity within the working world.
    Finally, a large part of the last gallery is taken up by the spectacular
installation The Last Two Million Years, first shown in 2007 at The Drawing
Room in London and presented here in a new form. The work consists of hundreds
of images cut out from a copy of an eponymous book published in the 1970s by
Reader's Digest, which set out to sum up the entire history of humankind in a
single volume. Farmer, in turn, literally cuts up history (and the
encyclopaedia!) in a series of free associations that haphazardly mixes
periods, cultures and regions. According to exhibition curator Pierre Landry,
"The result is monumental and fragile, ordered and chaotic, serious and
humorous-and extraordinarily poetic."

    Geoffrey Farmer

    Geoffrey Farmer was born on Eagle Island, British Columbia, in 1967, and
lives and works in Vancouver. Through his studies at the Emily Carr Institute
of Art and Design in Vancouver and at the San Francisco Art Institute, he
developed a strong interest in the notions of process and transformation, as
well as narrative structure. Represented by the Catriona Jeffries Gallery,
Vancouver, Farmer has seen his career take off meteorically in the last few
years. In 2007 alone, he was the subject of a one-man show at The Drawing
Room, London, with The Last Two Million Years, and took part in the group
exhibitions Remuer ciel et terre, in conjunction with CIAC's Biennale de
Montréal, and The World as a Stage at the Tate Modern in London. The current
presentation at the Musée d'art contemporain is his largest exhibition to
date. Geoffrey Farmer is the latest in the Musée's ongoing series of shows
focusing on the leading figures in Canadian art today, which has previously
highlighted such Vancouver artists as Stan Douglas in 1996, Jeff Wall in 1999
and Rodney Graham in 2006-2007.


    A catalogue providing an overview of the artist's work will be released
in March, in order to include pieces produced specifically for this
exhibition. It will contain essays by the show's curator Pierre Landry, by
Jessica Morgan, curator at the Tate Modern in London and by Scott Watson,
director/curator of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and professor at
the University of British Columbia, along with a biobibliography and
reproductions of the works. This publication, made possible through the
financial participation of RBC Foundation, will be available at the museum's
Olivieri Bookstore or from your local bookseller.

    Meet the artist

    The artist will meet the public just before the opening, on Wednesday,
February 6, 2008, at 5:30 p.m. in the exhibition galleries. The event is free
of charge and will take place in English.

    Point(s) of View Series

    In conjunction with the exhibition, curator Pierre Landry will offer a
public tour of the show on Wednesday, February 27 at 6 p.m. This free tour
will be conducted in French.
    Presentation of the exhibition Geoffrey Farmer has been made possible by
generous support from BMO Financial Group. "Art has the power to transform how
we perceive life, each other and ourselves," says Bernard Letendre,
Vice-President, BMO Harris Private Banking, Québec. "From young, emerging
talent to Geoffrey Farmer, one of Canada's most exciting contemporary artists,
BMO is proud to help bring their voices to the public. We believe our
partnership with the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal will enable Québec
audiences to discover one of Canada's most innovative artists."

    The Musée d'art contemporain is a provincially owned corporation funded
by the Ministère de la Culture, des Communications et de la Condition féminine
du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian
Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.
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For further information:

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

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