Ambiguous Becoming | Artists’ Moving Image from Canada
Date: 24 January 2020 - 22 February 2020
Gallery: Cooper Gallery
Ambiguous Becoming: Artists’ Moving Image from Canada
Cooper Gallery DJCAD x MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image
Exhibition: 24 January – 22 February 2020
A collaboration between the Cooper Gallery (Dundee, Scotland) and MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image (Montréal, Canada), with artists:
Jérôme Havre, Cauleen Smith, and Camille Turner
Chloë Lum + Yannick Desranleau
Chloë Lum & Yannick Desranleau | Artists' Talk
Wednesday 22 January, 12noon
Preview: In-conversation & Performance
Thursday 23 January, 5.30–8pm
Outwith Reading Group
Led by Emmie McLuskey
Tuesday 28 January, 5.30–7.30pm
Wednesday 12 February, 5.30–7pm
Thursday 20 February, 6–8pm
The human body in all of its iterations is performative. Grounded by materiality, our bodies are caught forever in a flux of becoming, responsive to the innumerable possibilities of being immutably different and other.
Bringing together a broad spectrum of artists and collaborations from Canada, the exhibition draws out and delineates the rich scope of aesthetic, critical, and philosophical positions underscoring the politics of the performative body. Recognising the implicit struggles against colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism waged on and within the body, the exhibition actively asserts the necessity of claiming ownership of the body throughout its performative and discursive iterations.
Indicating and referencing the multitude of cultures, psychologies, identities, and genders at stake in the artists’ works, the exhibition addresses the dynamics of power and its resistant double, the unrestrained agency of becoming. Underscored by this ambition Ambiguous Becoming offers a portrayal of bodies in the moment of their resistance to the twin horrors of objectification and unfettered consumption.
In their collaborative video work Triangle Trade (2017), Jérôme Havre, Cauleen Smith, and Camille Turnerengage with what blackness means in a colonial context composed of the displacement and deterritorialization haunting the after effects of the slave trade. Following a cross-borders conversation, each artist created an avatar puppet and a distinct world to represent themselves. Activated by the artists, the avatars move through their respective surroundings; simultaneously isolated and connected.
Artist duo Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau present the two-channel video installation What Do Stones Smell Like in the Forest? (2018), accompanied by the live performance Becoming Unreal (2018). What Do Stones Smell Like in the Forest? shows, on two adjacent screens, a singer and a choir, between them is woven a narrative of chronic illness expressed through a multifold relationship with objects. In these videos, questions of agency and liveness constantly switch between beings and things. Examining the active role of objects, the work considers the restrictive and supportive capacities of bodies—both human and non-human ones. Performed by a soprano at the exhibition preview, Becoming Unreal offers a duet between a performing body and the objects that carry its gestures and weight.
In their video series Narrative Reflections on Looking (2016–17), Victoria Sin addresses issues of identification with images, especially in relation to the construction of gender and cultural identity through language, and highlights the dynamics of power that reside in the act of looking. From a non-binary position and through drag aesthetics, Sin performs femininity as a fluid concept that is not essential to womanhood and not natural to any particular body.
Chloë Lum and Yannick Desranleau are multidisciplinary visual artists based in Montreal, Canada. Their work focuses on theatricality and the choreographic; in their performance work but also in their interest in staging tableaus and working with ephemeral materials that can be said to perform through re-deployment and decay. The duo’s recent works investigate the agency of objects, the material condition of the body, and the transformative potential that bodies and objects exert upon each other. These interests are informed by Chloë’s experience with chronic illness and its effect on their collaboration as well the duo’s exploration of narrative tropes from literature, theatre and television. Lum and Desranleau are also known on the international music scene as co-founders of the avant-rock group AIDS Wolf, for whom they also produced award-winning concert posters under the name Séripop. In 2016, Desranleau was awarded the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Fellowship in Contemporary Art, and in 2015, the duo was long-listed for the Sobey Art Award.
Their recent solo and group exhibitions include What Do Stones Smell Like In The Forest?, Gallery TPW, Toronto, 2019; What Do Stones Smell Like In The Forest?, FoFA Gallery, Montréal, 2018; Biennale d'art performatif de Rouyn-Noranda, Rouyn-Noranda, 2018; Carteles de Quebec, Centro Provincial de Artes Plasticas Y Diseño, Habana, Cuba, 2018; Realms II, Gordon Snelgrove Gallery, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 2018; Is It The Sun Or The Asphalt All I See Is Bright Black, Circa Art Actuel, Montreal, 2017; Performance via la caméra, Galerie Hugues Charbonneau, Montréal, 2017; Standing Under Mis, Katzman Contemporary, Toronto, 2017; 5 Tableaux (It Bounces Back), Or Gallery, Vancouve, 2017; Rome, Kiehle Gallery, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, 2017. Website: lum-desranleau.com
Victoria Sin is an artist using speculative fiction within performance, moving image, writing, and print to interrupt normative processes of desire, identification, and objectification. This includes:
Drag as a practice of purposeful embodiment questioning the reification and ascription of ideal images within technologies of representation and systems of looking,
Science fiction as a practice of rewriting patriarchal and colonial narratives naturalized by scientific and historical discourses on states of sexed, gendered and raced bodies,
Storytelling as a collective practice of centering marginalized experience, creating a multiplicity of social contexts to be immersed in and strive towards.
Drawing from close personal encounters of looking and wanting, their work presents heavily constructed fantasy narratives on the often-unsettling experience of the physical within the social body.
Their recent solo and group exhibitions, screenings and performances include Transformer: The Rebirth of Wonder, 180 The Strand, London, 2019; Rewriting the Future, Site Gallery, Sheffield, 2019; Age of You, MOCA, Toronto, 2019; The Life of Things, MOMENTA Biennale de l'image, Montreal, 2019; Kiss My Genders, Hayward Gallery, London, 2019; Display, Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund, 2019; Meetings on Art, Venice Biennale, Venice, 2019; Rising Up in the Infinite Sky, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2019; A Doll's House, Goethe Institut, Baku, 2019; Do Disturb Festival, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2019; Chi Wen Gallery, Art Basel Hong Kong, 2019; If I had the words to tell you we wouldn't be here now, Chi-Wen Gallery, Taipei, 2019; Bona Drag, RISD Museum, Providence, 2018; YAEJI One More Tour, The Knockdown Center, New York, 2018; Riding and Dying with You, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018; DRAG, Hayward Gallery, London, 2018; Park Nights, Serpentine Galleries, London, 2018; Reproductive Technologies, Market Gallery, Glasgow, 2018; Swinging Out Over the Earth, Whitechapel Gallery, London, 2018; Indifferent Idols (solo), Taipei Contemporary Art Centre, Taipei, 2018; Non-Linear: Magnet 2 with LUX Scotland, CCA Cinema, Glasgow, 2018. Website: victoriasin.co.uk
Jérôme Havre, Cauleen Smith, and Camille Turner
Jérôme Havre is a Toronto based artist inspired by the production of natural history dioramas in museums and zoos. He develops in his creations reflexive spaces through immersive processes. He looks for ways to do this through presentation, the creation of situations, or setting the stage with his sculptures and inviting the public to take part “in the show.” Jérôme's work interrogates issues of identity, territory and community through the representation of nature. That is, the manner in which it is presented and yet can be more readily perceived through our cultural filters.
His projections, solo and group exhibitions include #7 clous à Marseille, Patrick Raynaud, Marseille, 2019; The Life of Things, MOMENTA Biennale de l'image, Montréal, 2019; Triangle Trade, Gallery TPW, Toronto, 2017; Viene Così naturale ou la vie immuable—An Unchangeable Life, 8eleven, Toronto, 2017; The Morning Shines With the Lights of Love, Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto, 2017; Untitled (2010), Yaletown-Roundhouse Station, Vancouver, 2016; Yonder, Koffler Gallery, Toronto, 2016; Liminal / Necessity and Accident, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, 2016; La fabrique de l’image, 14°N 61°W, Martinique, 2015; Talking Back, Otherwise, Jackman Humanities Institute, Toronto, 2015.
Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film. Drawing from structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction, she makes things that deploy the tactics of these disciplines while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants. Smith is based in the great city of Chicago and serves as faculty for the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.
Her recent projections, solo and group exhibitions include The Life of Things, MOMENTA Biennale de l'image, Montréal, 2019; Give It Or Leave It, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 2018; Cauleen Smith: Black Utopia LP, Tate Modern, London, 2018; In The Wake (A Procession), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2017; Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2017; Human_3.0 Reading List, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2017; The Warplands, UAG Gallery—University of California, Irvine, 2017; Conduct Your Blooming, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2016; Asterisms, Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland, 2016; Conduct Your Blooming, Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago, 2016. Website: cauleensmith.com
Camille Turner is a Toronto based artist. She is an explorer of race, space, home and belonging. Straddling media, social practice and performance art, her work has been presented throughout Canada and internationally. Camille is the founder of Outerregion, an Afrofuturist performance group. She has lectured at various institutions such as University of Toronto, Algoma University and Toronto School of Art and is a graduate of Ontario College of Art and Design and York University’s Masters in Environmental Studies program where she is currently a PhD candidate.
Her recent projections, solo and group exhibitions include Freedom Tours: Dual Dissonance, A Sense of Site, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, 2019; The Life of Things, MOMENTA Biennale de l'image, Montréal, 2019; Afronautic Research Lab. Arts Against Postracialism, Artexte, Montréal, 2018; The Final Frontier, at; into; across, Ulrich Museum of Art—Wichita State University, Wichita, 2018; Triangle Trade, The Fabulous Festival of Fringe Film, Durham / Segal Center Film Festival on Theatre and Performance, New York, 2018; Triangle Trade, Gallery TPW, Toronto, 2017; Family Matters, McIntosh Gallery—Western University, London, 2017; Wanted, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto / SixtyEight Art Institute, Copenhagen, 2017. Website: camilleturner.com
Maude Johnson is the Executive and Curatorial Assistant of MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image (Montréal, Canada). As a curator and writer, she is interested in performative and curatorial practices. She was part of the curatorial team of MOMENTA’s 2019 edition and is co-curator (with Sophia Yadong Hao) of Ambiguous Becoming: Artists’ Moving Image from Canada (2020).
MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image is a contemporary art event taking place in various venues in Montréal (Canada) every two years since 1989. Founded as Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, the organization was renamed MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image in 2017. Its activities include exhibitions, public events, educational programs, artistic and social collaborations, and more. For further information, please visit: MOMENTA website.
Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design
University of Dundee
13 Perth Road
Dundee DD1 4HT
The gallery is on two floors. First floor has ramped access and disabled toilet.
Second floor is accessible via lift and for wheelchair access via a stairclimber.
Large print versions of the exhibition information handout are available, please ask our Guides.
For access enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
Saturday: 11am – 5pm
Jérôme Havre, Cauleen Smith, and Camille Turner, Triangle Trade (video still), 2017.
Chloë Lum + Yannick Desranleau, What Do Stones Smell Like in the Forest? (video still), 2018.
Victoria Sin, Part Three/Cthuthu Through the Looking Glass from the series Narrative Reflections on Looking (video still), 2017.
Ambiguous Becoming has been made possible with funding support from the Québec Government Office, London.