Wednesday, November 21, 2007
La Petite Maudite de Montreal November-December
La Petite ‘Maudite’ à Montréal November-December The sky outside is grey. The wind is howling looking for a way inside. We woke up this morning to the first snowfall of the season in Montreal. We had been preparing: acquiring boots, hats, gloves, scarves and warm coats. The park at the bottom of the street will have an outdoor skating rink. So next on our list are skates, and snowshoes to go trekking up the mountain that looms nearby. *** There have been more film events this month in Montreal. There was a Romanian film festival, and a documentary film festival has just ended. www.ridm.qc.ca (Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montreal) My next-door neighbour, Eric Scott, told me about it. He had a documentary, The Other Zionists, that aired on RTE in 2005, about a group of Israeli women who gather at checkpoints to try to smooth relations between soldiers and Palestinian civilians and it examines both criticism and support for the barriers Israel put up for security reasons. Eric R Scott Les Productions Des Quatre Jeudis 4689 Jeanne-Mance Montreal H2V 4J5 Canada Tel/fax: +1 514 282 7479 Email: email@example.com http://theotherzionists.com/index.php Scott is also well known for his previous film Je me Souviens, (I remember) which is about anti-Semitism in Quebec in the 30s up to post WWII. The title is named after the popular Quebec motto. **** Already the Christmas lights are up and people are shopping and planning their office parties. There was a huge Santa Claus Parade last Saturday. I stayed away from town on that day but I heard it was well attended. The Atelier Circulier (the printmaking studio) is preparing a Christmas exhibition of unframed work to sell, with the artist getting half, and the rest of the proceeds going to the studio as a type of fundraiser. I will contribute three of the prints I made here. **** I will have taken apart, repaired, re-sewn, and recovered three books by Christmas in my bookbinding course. Next term, if I register again, I will make books from scratch and add little prints and bits of poetry. I will enjoy that better but I’ve had to learn the craft first. **** I know that two Canadians were recently in Galway to talk about artist led galleries in this country. I want to explore two spaces in Montreal that are converted from industrial buildings. One is the Darling Foundry down by the docks near old Montreal. The second is the old Parisian Laundry building west of downtown in NDG (Notre Dame de Grace). Both are open to ideas from Canada and internationally so there may be some opportunities for Irish artists. First I’ll deal with the Darling Foundry run by Quartier Éphémère. Officially formed in 1993, Quartier Éphémère supports the work of emerging artists while nurturing public awareness of abandoned spaces in desolate industrial areas. The group was born out of a relationship with the French organization Usines Éphémère, an artist-run association that temporarily occupies abandoned buildings and offers the newly renovated spaces up for artistic use. Ephemeral means lasting only a short time. I don’t have any photos of the studios but I was taken on a tour and they are enormous. So are the living spaces and communal areas. There is are metal and wood workshops to give technical support to the artist. I was impressed by the old wooden floors and the winding staircases. There are ten studios for Montreal artists and three studios set aside for residencies from abroad. Help is given with material, organization of exhibits and promotion. All kinds of artistic expression are encouraged including sound, video, performance, sculpture, exploration using technology and others. EQ tries to raise public awareness through school visits and opening hours to the public. It also rents space and has an arts restaurant Caroline Andrieux, the present director of QE (Darling Foundry) and one of the original founders says they are interested in artists who break the limits. “It is a matter of trust when they are emerging,” she said. “They are placed in a professional context and can benefit from support and encouragement until they are on their way.’ They have received funding for the renovations and residencies but have to raise money on their own as well. International residencies are for a six-month period. If you think you would like to come, look on the website for how to apply. It is not only French speaking. http://www.quartierephemere.org The Parisian Laundry Another impressive space is the old Parisian Laundry building which has been renovated and turned into a gallery with three large spaces: the main floor, upstairs and the basement (called ‘The Bunker’ created out of two levels of basement. A private gallery, it has a slightly more refined look than the Foundry while retaining industrial elements. I love the feeling of space, light, the stripped brick walls, the wooden floors. According to Silvia Casas, the assistant director, the gallery was developed by an art lover involved in construction. He restored the building and hired Canada but internationally. However, she advised that they have a particular style and those interested in submitting would be advised to check the website to see what kind of things they like. Front of the Parisian Laundry Gallery Interior detail of upstairs gallery More detail, upstairs gallery “The Bunker” Basement gallery Parisian Laundry The gallery participates in Montreal artistic festivals, has art college exhibitions (from both the French and English colleges) and knows its artists and clientele very well. For every main exhibition it produces a wonderful hardback book with pictures and text, something quite unique. http://www.parisianlaundry.com That’s all for now. Hope TULCA went well for ye all. Next month I will explore the cultural policy of Montreal (will try to get the low-down from one of my students who works with Development Canada), go to a “piano concert” and get lost in another industrial building that holds a labyrinth of galleries.