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Manif d'art - The Quebec City Biennial, a unique winter biennial, is one of Canada's foremost contemporary art events. The theme of this ninth installment, Small Between the Stars, Large Against the Sky, implies a sensitivity towards the environment and a desire to question human nature. This proposal by the guest curator Jonathan Watkins, director at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, raises fundamental questions about humans’ relationships to nature, to their environment, to eachother, and even to their future on Earth. Far from being pessimistic, the artists reveal their observations, ideas, fixations and utopias, whether they’re metaphorical, playful, political or poetic.
The title comes from the lyrics of a song by Leonard Cohen (Stories of the Street, 1967). Throughout his life, this extraordinary artist was preoccupied with our place in the natural order. From Cohen’s perspective, our cultural achievements should be seen in a universal context much broader than those that define conventional notions pitting art against nature. Curator Jonathan Watkins intends to use this theme to draw our attention to the continuities between art and everyday (human) life. The questions raised will lead us to apprehend where we are, between and against the immensity we usually take for granted.
The Program of Manif d’art 9 has been created in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), including:
Central Exhibition at MNBAQ
Manif d’art renewed its major partnership with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, which allows the central exhibition of the biennial to be hosted once again in the magnificent Pierre Lassonde Pavilion.
Artists, central exhibition
Solo shows at artist-run centers
The Quebec artist-run centres are exhibiting close to fifteen biennial artists as co-presenters. At the core of visual arts creation in the Quebec area, most of these co-presenting organizations will remain accessible throughout the whole duration of the biennial.
Artists, solo shows
Public art in Old Quebec
The public art circuit will be concentrated in the beautiful Old Quebec neighborhood. Some works will stand out with their monumentality or by contrast with their context, while others will discreetly infiltrate the winterly landscape.
Artists, public art
A Manif d’art novelty in 2019 is the Young Curators component, presented by La Maison Simons. It includes a series of exhibitions presented by a dozen young curators selected by Manif d’art. Under Jonathan Watkins’ mentorship, they will present their own interpretations of the theme as well as their selections of artists.
For the first time, an international contemporary art symposium will take place at the MNBAQ on March 22 and 23, 2019, under the theme Contemporary Art, Everyday Life and Nature. This special event will be open to various audiences from the art and culture worlds.
From press information.
© Top images: 10x series, Amélie Laurence Fortin / Photo: Renaud Philippe. Driftless, Felipe Castelblanco / Photo: Ricardo Savard, La Bande Vidéo. Quebec 2018. Meryl McMaster, Dream Catcher, 2015