La Biennale de Montréal has announced the artists who will take part in its 2016 edition (BNLMTL 2016), on view to the public from October 19, 2016 to January 15, 2017. Entitled Le Grand Balcon, BNLMTL 2016 calls for a materialist and sensualist approach and recasts the pursuit of sensual pleasures, making a case for its decisive role in everyday life and political decision-making. The project bets on the liberatory potential of art and invites us to rethink both the (im)possibility of an emancipation through pleasure—and its urgency. It summons us to mobilize both the brain and the body’s capacities to their fullest to affirm the pleasure we must take—a hedonist politics—far from the easy rewards of consumption and the indifference of (mere) knowledge.
Le Grand Balcon combines a multi-site exhibition, publications and a dynamic series of performances, concerts, film screenings, talks, tours, conferences, encounters and experiences. Le Grand Balcon was conceptualized and curated by Philippe Pirotte in dialogue with curatorial advisors Corey McCorkle, Aseman Sabet and Kitty Scott, and in close collaboration with Sylvie Fortin, Executive and Artistic Director of La Biennale de Montréal. BNLMTL 2016 is presented by La Biennale de Montréal and co-produced with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), in collaboration with 14 other local partners and venues.
NEW PRODUCTIONS AND COMMISSIONS: Le Grand Balcon will feature an unprecedented number of new commissions and international co-productions of works by Canadian and international artists. Le Grand Balcon will premiere Hemlock Forest, a new film by New York-based Canadian artist Moyra Davey. In this project, the artist revisits her 2011 video Les Goddesses, pursuing her investigation of motherhood, loss, the epistolary and questions of representation. Partly shot in Montréal and featuring the artists’ sisters, Hemlock Forest is co-produced with the Bergen Kunsthall in Bergen, Norway.
German artist Anne Imhof will present Angst, an audacious new production that combines her interest in performance, drawing, sculpture, and installation with a live element. Angst
is an “opera” in several acts constructed through a choreography of cryptic gestures, an abstract musical composition and sculptural elements. The opera that forms the basis of Angst is co-produced by Kunsthalle Basel and the Nationalgalerie—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, supported by the Freunde der Nationalgalerie in collaboration with La Biennale de Montréal.
Montréal artist Celia Perrin Sidarous will be premiering a new photographic installation that explores the kinships between photography (or film) and sculptural and architectural forms. Following a logic that is at once internal and associative, the work enlists a considered manner of looking while suggesting latent narratives.
Le Grand Balcon will also feature exciting new productions by Montreal-based artists Valérie Blass, Michael Blum, Walter Scott and Myriam Jacob-Allard. An anthology of Cairo-based artist Hassan Khan’s writings will be published. Ambitious sound projects by New York-based Marina Rosenfeld and Cameroonian artist Em’kal Eyongakpa are also being produced.
PRELIMINARY LIST OF ARTISTS AND COLLECTIVES: The complete list will be announced in September 2016.
Haig Aivazian (Lebanon); Njideka Akunyili Crosby (Nigeria/USA); Knut Åsdam (Norway); Eric Baudelaire (France); Thomas Bayrle (Germany); Nadia Belerique (Canada); Valérie Blass (Canada); Michael Blum (Israel/Germany /France/Canada); Shannon Bool (Canada/Germany); Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa); Elaine Cameron-Weir (Canada/USA); Chris Curreri (Canada); Moyra Davey (Canada/USA); Nicole Eisenman (USA); Em’kal Eyongakpa (Cameroon/Netherlands); Liao Guohe (China); Judith Hopf (Germany); Anne Imhof (Germany); Luis Jacob (Peru/Canada); Myriam Jacob-Allard (Canada); Brian Jungen (Canada); Hassan Khan (Egypt); Meiro Koizumi (Japan); Zac Langdon-Pole (New Zealand/Germany); Tanya Lukin Linklater (USA/Canada); Kerry James Marshall (USA); Corey McCorkle (USA); Nathalie Melikian (Canada /Sweden) ;
Joe Namy (Lebanon/USA); Shahryar Nashat (Switzerland/Germany); Camille Norment (USA/Norway); Celia Perrin Sidarous (Canada); PURE FICTION (Germany); Lucy Raven (USA); Marina Rosenfeld (USA); Ben Schumacher (Canada/USA); Walter Scott (Canada); Benjamin Seror (France/Belgium); Frances Stark (USA); Luke Willis Thompson (New Zealand/UK); David Gheron Tretiakoff (France/Belgium); Luc Tuymans (Belgium); Jacob Wren (Canada); Haegue Yang (Germany/South Korea); Xu Zhen (China)
LE GRAND BALCON:
AN OPEN-ENDED BIENNALE: “We are thrilled and honored to have the privilege to work with the wonderful artists selected by Philippe Pirotte, a curator whose energy, generosity, commitment and fearlessness have given the project an excitingly distinctive direction,” notes Sylvie Fortin, Executive and Artistic Director of La Biennale de Montréal. “Experimental, experiential and open-ended, Le Grand Balcon will be an exciting platform for artists, supporting their vision and their projects, and connecting them to a community of viewers best qualified by its engagement and its curiosity. We’re really proud to offer our growing public such a memorable project, in which the diversity of contemporary practice comes alive.”
“It’s been an exciting endeavor to think about this Biennale over the last year, traveling across Canada to learn about what’s going on in Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver,” states Pirotte. “Yet, the project is still very much in development, as a Biennale should. With so many new works, and with artists working in so many places around the world, Le Grand Balcon will be in a state of becoming all the way to the opening. It’s wonderful to work with an organization that can support such experimentation, and to benefit from the insights and generosity of our curatorial advisors and of colleagues in Montréal and around the world.”
A COLLABORATIVE PLATFORM: Building on the success of La Biennale de Montréal’s 2014 edition, Le Grand Balcon renews the organization’s ambitions and expands its collaborations. “La Biennale de Montréal’s innovative partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, a collaboration between two prominent Montréal institutions that began in 2013, has laid a solid foundation for the development of an internationally significant event that reflects the evolution, the diversity and the dynamism of Montréal’s art community,” states Fortin. “Thanks to this deepening partnership, and to the invaluable contribution of our other local partners, La Biennale de Montréal can both aim to raise the profile of Montréal and its arts communities and to actively contribute to the urgent redefinition of the role of contemporary art biennials, which are becoming increasingly critical and experimenta l. It al l begins and ends with art and our ability to imagine and enact new ways to shape the relationships between artists, context and audiences.”
“It’s very stimulating to play a part in the development of a project like Le Grand Balcon,” states John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC. “I am truly impressed by Philippe Pirotte’s curatorial approach and by the breadth and diversity of the selection announced today. The MAC is really pleased with its partnership with La Biennale de Montréal and its team and we are convinced that, together, we will offer Montrealers and visitors a powerful snapshop of today’s most relevant contemporary art. Le Grand Balcon will definitely position BNLMTL as one of the influential contemporary art biennials on the planet.”
The mission of La Biennale de Montréal is to foster, support, interpret and disseminate the most current visual arts practices by producing the biennial event BNLMTL. All of the initiatives of La Biennale de Montréal are premised on risk and experimentation. Its goal is to support daring, thought-provoking art practices and curatorial projects while offering the public a diversity of experiences.
The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Located in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal makes today’s art a vital part of Montréal and Québec life. For more than fifty years, this vibrant museum has brought together local and international artists, their works and an ever growing public. It is a place of discovery, offering visitors experiences that are continually changing and new, and often unexpected and stirring. The Musée presents temporary exhibitions devoted to outstanding and relevant current artists who provide their own, particular insight into our society, as well as exhibitions of works drawn from the museum’s extensive Permanent Collection.
Image: Moyra Davey, Hemlock Forest (production still), 2016