press release

This summer 2011, la maison rouge is launching a new series of exhibitions focusing on the arts scene in major provincial cities. The first of these cities will be Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba in Canada. At a time when the art world is said to be heading for globalization, la maison rouge is taking a closer look at centers of creativity with a little-known yet thriving arts scene, whose artists’ work is infused with the city and its territory, history and myths.

Winnipeg is a prime example of how geographical location can shape artistic production. Long, harsh winters prompt artists to get together in their studios to work; the Winnipeg property market is more open than in Toronto or Montreal, giving artists access to spacious studios at reasonable rents.

Public and private bodies such as the Manitoba Museum, the Plug-In, a university arts center (Gallery One One One) and a quality international art magazine (Border Crossings) show art at local level, and promote and develop contemporary art and culture in the city.

Although the international art world is still unfamiliar with some of Winnipeg’s artists, others have caught the eye of critics and curators while continuing to make a rich contribution to the local scene. Artists, their work and their cities form a close-knit and interactive network. Artists are inspired by the cities in which they live and, in return, the work they produce helps define the region’s identity. This identity is then carried in films, music, literature, performance art and exhibitions, conveying these artists’ vision around the globe.

The works shown at la maison rouge are nonetheless works in their own right. This series of exhibitions will not show works purely in relation to their geographical environment: its purpose in setting them in their context is help the observer understand what triggered their creation.

Stryker Location shots for Noam Gonick's film, Stryker (2007) The exhibition opens with views of Winnipeg, taken by director Noam Gonick for his film Stryker. Shot in Winnipeg, the film tells the story of a confused young Aboriginal Canadian turned arsonist, who runs away from Brokenhead, the reserve where he was born, only to be confronted with local street gangs. The photos are hung in a single line around la maison rouge to create the impression of a long traveling- shot of Winnipeg, and present an authentic, non-idealized facet of the city. There’s no place like home Associated curator: Sigrid Dahle, Galerie One, One, One, University of Manitoba, Fine Arts department, independent curator, writer

This panorama leads visitors to the Winnipeg archive project, assembled by Sigrid Dahle. This "exhibition within the exhibition" builds a portrait of Manitoba's capital city through history, geography, climatology, sociology and art. This curatorial project is set out library-fashion in a gallery where visitors can browse archive documents – photographs, postcards, found objects and other ephemera – and view contemporary works by Winnipeg artists. In doing so, they can appreciate the particular features of this vast city, the capital of a remote and untamed region, Manitoba, where flooding and swarms of insects are regular occurrences. Winnipeg is also famous as the coldest city in the world, and for the longest strike ever to take place in North America, in 1919.

The Royal Art Lodge (1996-2008), a collaborative group of artists The Royal Art Lodge is a collaborative group, founded in 1996 by six young artists from Manitoba University. They are Michael Dumontier, Marcel Dzama, Neil Farber, Drue Langlois, Jonathan Pylypchuk and Adrian Williams, at one time joined by Hollie Dzama and Myles Langlois. While each artist continued to work individually, the Royal Art Lodge also produced an abundance of group works, distinguished by the diversity of techniques and media: drawing and collage, both a major focus, as well as video, sculpture, music, puppets and costumes. Their work incorporates numerous hybrid figures, inspired by comic strips, science-fiction, film noir, horror movies, and the TV shows (such as The Muppet Show) that were very much a part of their childhood. This part of the exhibition will show a significant number of works by the group, and individual works by each member.

Landscapes Landscapes are one of the major themes to run through the exhibition. This chapter explores Winnipeg not simply as a geographical location, but as a mytho-poetic territory of the body and desire. In presenting the work of multiple generations of artists dating as far back as the 1960s, and up to the present day, this chapter builds upon burgeoning recognition of Winnipeg as a distinctive site of art production that is somewhat outside and yet urgently relevant to mainstream politics and aesthetics. Winter Kept Us Warm, takes its name from David Secter’s 1965 film, Canada’s first entry into the Cannes Film Festival, which in turn took its name from T.S. Eliot’s “Wasteland.” In order to create a sense of this “other” place, by turns wasteland and utopia, this chapter features a broad range of artistic media, from video art to sculpture and photography, all in multiple ways connected to the city’s physical and erotic aura. Since the very first landscape paintings by the Group of Seven, pioneers of a new Canadian art movement in the 1920s, the genre has continued to reinvent itself in Winnipeg. Recently, the artist Diana Thorneycroft reused the Group of Seven landscapes as background to dioramas which emphasize the relationships that exist between Canada's landscapes and its national identity. In the 1970s, the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc, (the Indian Group of Seven) brought distinct perspectives of the world with the purpose of celebrating Canadian Aboriginal culture and civilization, in particular through a program to assist the emergence of an Aboriginal art scene. Aboriginal culture is also a central theme for Kent Monkman, an artist of Cree ancestry who uses humor and anachronism to address the question of colonialism in paintings and installations which often feature his alter ego. Aboriginal life is again depicted in one of Wanda Koop's works, such as the two fires that burn on and on into the night, on the shores of the Red River which runs through Winnipeg (photo, above). Simon Hughes, Eleanor Bond, KC Adams, Rob Kovitz, Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan, and Sarah Anne Johnson portray other kinds of landscape, from the cozy, indoor scenes in Sarah Anne Johnson's (House on Fire, 2009)- to Eleanor Bond's deep perspectives of the city of Winnipeg (The Spectre of Detroit hangs over Winnipeg, 2007).

Collage Party by Paul Butler For the past dozen years, Winnipeg artist and itinerant gallerist Paul Butler has been organizing Collage Parties at exhibitions where artists and visitors are invited to make collages using material from mass media publications. For My Winnipeg, Paul Butler has worked with designer Craig Alun Smith to create a large worktable in the patio at la maison rouge, where everyone taking part in the Collage Party can make and display their work, transforming the table into an ever-expanding collective artwork.

Hauntings (2010) by Guy Maddin The renowned Winnipeg director Guy Maddin will present, for the exhibition, Hauntings: an installation of 11 short films in black and white. Through this recent work, in partnership with the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Maddin continues to explore the history of film, which he describes as "a haunted medium, a projection of people, places and things not really present." He summons F.W. Murnau, Fritz Lang, Hollis Frampton, Victor Sjöström, Jean Vigo, Kenji Mizoguchi and Josef von Sternberg, and rescues cinematographic ghosts from oblivion. Consigned to limbo, now resurrected and remade, he projects these masterpieces so that they might continue to haunt film history.

Winter Kept Us Warm This chapter explores Winnipeg not simply as a geographical location, but as a mytho-poetic territory of the body and desire. In presenting the work of multiple generations of artists dating as far back as the 1960s, and up to the present day, this chapter builds upon burgeoning recognition of Winnipeg as a distinctive site of art production that is somewhat outside and yet urgently relevant to mainstream politics and aesthetics. Winter Kept Us Warm, takes its name from David Secter’s 1965 film, Canada’s first entry into the Cannes Film Festival, which in turn took its name from T.S. Eliot’s “Wasteland.” In order to create a sense of this “other” place, by turns wasteland and utopia, this chapter features a broad range of artistic media, from video art to sculpture and photography, all in multiple ways connected to the city’s physical and erotic aura.

My Winnipeg
A new series of exhibitions at la maison rouge
Kuratoren: Paula Aisemberg, Herve di Rosa, Anthony Kiendl, Paul Butler, Guy Maddin, Noam Gonick

Künstler: Ed Ackerman, Kc Adams, Sharon Alward, C. Graham Asmundson, Louis Bakó, Daniel Barrow, Jackson Beardy, H. Eric Bergman, Eleanor Bond, Shary Boyle, Joanne Bristol, Aa Bronson, Paul Butler, Shawna Dempsey / Lorri Millan, Dan Donaldson, Michael Dumontier, Aganetha Dyck, Marcel Dzama, William Eakin, Cliff Eyland, Ivan Eyre, Erica Eyres, Neil Farber, Rosalie Favell, Christine Fellows, Karel Funk, Jeff Funnell, Tim Gardner, General Idea , Larry Glawson, Noam Gonick, Gilles Hébert, Robert Houle, Simon Hughes, Imagetaker , Alex Janvier, Sarah Anne Johnson, Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline, Wanda Koop, Jake Kosciuk, Rob Kovitz, Guy Maddin, Kavavaow Mannomee, Bonnie Marin, Doug Melnyk, Bernie Miller, Kent Monkman, Shaun Morin / The Slomotion , Darryl Nepinak, Daphne Odjig, Robert Pasternak, Linda Pearce, Hope Peterson, Alex Poruchnyk & Vern Hume, Don Proch, Jon Pylypchuk, Carl Ray, Paul Robles, Melanie Rocan, The Royal Art Lodge , Colleen Simard, Craig Alun Smith, Kevin B. C. Stafford, Diana Thorneycroft Andrew Valko, Jordan Van Sewell, Andrew Wall, Esther Warkov, Gord Wilding, Adrian Williams, Richard Williams, Sharron Zenith Corne.