Review: Please Lie To Me at Art Mur.
December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
Montreal gallery Art Mûr is celebrating their fifteenth anniversary this year. In honour of the occasion, they’re holding a special group show featuring many of the names from their impressive list of artists. Group shows are often flimsy affairs united under some vague curatorial theme stitched together with quotations but this one demonstrates a remarkable amount of consistency in terms of tone and content. Spread over two floors of the gallery, the show is unsubtly polemical. In particular, the first floor shows a great unity in design.
Although many media are included in the show, a comparable thematic concern is shot throughout as each artist examines media saturation, violence and pop culture vacuity. By the entrance way is Karine Giboulo‘s “Village democratie” a massive satire on the role of western ideas and institutions as they spread into African life. Made of dozens of small and meaningful incidents and tiny tableaux, these are built up into a literally multi-tiered attack that finally reaches ludicrous proportions at the peak.
The photographic works of Clinton Fein and Jonathan Hobinboth re-stage current political problems, though in very different manners. Fein recreates the infamous torture photos of Abu Ghraib with the heavily made-up bodies lumped together in what appears like a photoshopped void. Large scale and glossy, they seem to reflect on history simply becoming imagery, something which is even more starkly examined by Hobin. His photos of children staging historical events – from 9/11 to the slaughter of seals – on one level ponders how horrific images saturate the minds of everyone in the population, and on another questions how naive anyone can really be about their own part in the mechanisms that make these things possible.
The failure to create livable lies is a recurrent motif in much of the show. Dina Goldstein‘s “Fallen Princesses” series renders a blackly comical imagining of the domestic future of Snow White and other fairytale heroines while Susan Bozic‘s photographs caustically mock lifestyle photography and the pursuit of the ideal partner. And demonstrating two dramatically contrasted denudings of the failures of glamour, Sarah Garzoni presents her taxidermied chickenss stripping out of furs while Evergon shows his stark nude photos of his elderly mother blown up to large than life proportions.
Please Lie to Me runs at Art Mûr until December 17.
– Matthew Purvis