Tout au long du mois de Mai à Toronto au Canada, le Festival Scotiabank CONTACT présente dans 200 lieux de la ville des expositions, installations publiques, projections, films, conférences et stages à environ un million de visiteurs. Nous vous présentons ci-dessous le contenu de ce festival, qui présente le meilleur de la photographie contemporaine et dont l'édition 2011 est intitulée Figure & Ground, explorant «les tensions mouvantes entre l'humanité et la nature». Pour en savoir plus : http://scotiabankcontactphoto.com/
«Focusing on our relationship to the environment, CONTACT 2011: Figure & Ground looks at how photographic images alter perception, inform knowledge, and uncover meaning. From classical portraits of the figure in the landscape to critical views of a ground transformed by human intervention, the works in this year’s festival explore the shifting tensions between humanity and nature. The concept of figure and ground was first articulated in Gestalt psychology, which investigated perception and visual organization. This school of thought— centred on how our senses apprehend form as a whole—has an ongoing relevance to present-day discourse and art practice. While visual experience is shaped by a confluence of psychological and physical forces, we aspire to view the world as a totality, to establish order from chaos.
Positioning the photographic image as a construction of figure and ground, this framework provided a starting point for the festival theme, which is further examined throughout the primary and featured exhibitions, public installations as well as a number of open exhibitions. One of the highlights is Edward Burtynsky: Oil, an exhibition with particular relevance to McLuhan’s analogy. Whereas Burtynsky’s photographs expose a landscape altered by humanity, Suzy Lake’s exhibition Political Poetics is a nuanced investigation of embodiment. These two Canadian artists were central to the development of the theme, from very different perspectives; both of them challenge the conventions of beauty. Other primary exhibitions, which total six this year, include highly evocative visual narratives by artists from around the globe. Their focus on the figure is revealed through representations of a constantly changing environment and the visual traces of humankind.
Reflecting a wide range of approaches—documentary to abstraction—the 37 featured exhibitions at diverse venues throughout Toronto evolved through a public call for proposals and by means of collaboration within the community. Artists from around the world expand the concept of the theme as a metaphor, allegory, theoretical platform, and compositional device. The breadth of exhibitions in CONTACT this year reinforce the importance of art and significance of artists as communicators within society. In its simplest form, the theme Figure and Ground asks: "What is our relationship to the environment?" Looking at the photographs presented throughout the festival, we find many complex answers.»
Bonnie Rubenstein, Artistic Director
PRIMARY EXHIBITIONS. Edward Burtynsky: Oil features fifty-three beautiful and provocative large-format photographs by internationally renowned Canadian artist Edward Burtynsky. His images explore the hotly- debated effects of oil extraction, our international dependency on the substance, and with an unflinching eye, Burtynsky presents us with the reality of oil production as its role in our civilization undergoes massive transformation. Burtynsky's photographs
render his subjects with transfixing clarity and detail. His extensive exploration is organized thematically into three distinct groupings: Extraction and Refinement, Transportation and Motor Culture, and The End of Oil.
Dynamic Landscape. Olga Chagaoutdinova, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Viviane Sassen, Dayanita Singh. Dynamic Landscape features four international artists whose photographs reveal the shifting relationship between figure & ground. Through narratives informed by landscape, their work focuses on the interplay between humanity, nature, and culture. From sun-scorched Africa to Canada’s frozen north, the illuminated streets of India, to Russia’s modest interiors—these images portray physical and psychological perceptions of the worlds we inhabit. Organized with Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.
Fred Herzog: Vancouver. For over fifty years, Fred Herzog has photographed the changing street life of Vancouver. His images simultaneously celebrate and subtly critique North American culture. The works in this exhibition, mainly taken in the late 50s and 60s, are early examples of photography exploiting colour’s expressive properties. Organized by the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art.
Suzy Lake: Political Poetics Over the past 40 years, Suzy Lake has captured the experience and expression of female identity within contemporary political, social, and media milieus. Her rigorous and challenging approach to art-making has earned her recognition as a seminal figure in Canadian visual art. Organized with the University of Toronto Art Centre.
Robert Bean: Illuminated Manuscripts. A multi-media installation in Marshall McLuhan’s former seminar room in the Coach House, structurally explores the figure/ground relationship that is inscribed on the surface of McLuhan’s documents and manuscripts. Part of the McLuhan centenary celebrations throughout Toronto in 2011. Organized with the McLuhan100, the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology of the Faculty of Information Coach House Institute, University of Toronto.
Guy Tillim: Avenue Patrice Lumumba. Modern history in Africa is depicted against the backdrop of its colonial and post-colonial architectural heritage. Presented with the Design Exchange and Wedge Curatorial Projects. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago, with funding provided by the Lannan Foundation.
PUBLIC INSTALLATIONS.Showcasing artists from Canada and abroad, public installations of photography throughout Toronto draw attention to how photography effects changes in perception., Site-specific projects are presented by Giorgio Barrera (Consulate General of Italy), Elle Flanders & Tamira Sawatzky (MOCCA), Pieter Hugo (billboards), Robert Longo (Metro Hall), Alain Paiment (Brookfield Place), Alex Prager (billboards), Kevin Schmidt (The Power Plant), and Josef Schulz (Pearson Airport Terminal 1) , LCD screens in the Toronto subway system show images by Bill Finger, Alex McLeod, Diana Thorneycroft and David Trautrimas. For the first time public installations are also presented in five Canadian cities, coast to coast, with the introduction of CONTACT’s Cross-Canada Billboard project. Images by artists Denis Darzacq (in Ottawa), Jessica Eaton (in Montreal), Fred Herzog (in Vancouver), Scarlett Hooft Graafland (in Calgary), and Maslen & Mehra (in Halifax) resonate within each location, revealing compelling relationships between photography and urban environments. Created in partnership with Pattison Outdoor Advertising and Nikon Canada.
Alex Prager, Barbara, 2010. Courtesy of Yancey Richardson Gallery, NYC.
FEATURED EXHIBITIONS. Reflecting a wide range of approaches—documentary to abstraction—the 37 featured exhibitions are presented at diverse venues across the city. Artists from around the world expand the concept of the theme as a metaphor, allegory, theoretical platform, and compositional device.
OPEN EXHIBITIONS. In response to an open call to participate in CONTACT more than 1,000 artists exhibit their work at over 160 venues.
Première et deuxième images : Edward Burtynsky, Oxford Tire Pile #8, Westley, California, USA, 1999, photo © Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier, Toronto et Viviane Sassen, Belladonna, 2010, Courtesy of Motive Gallery, Amsterdam and Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg.