FR

From the Vault: From Away, From Away, Ad Infinitum

Date and time
Thursday, May 14, 2020

From the Vault: From Away, From Away, Ad Infinitum

The PHI Foundation presents a selection of its favourite content from its archives.

Selection by Jon Knowles, Exhibition Manager at the PHI Foundation.

In 2016, the PHI Foundation (then known as DHC/ART) had the wonderful privilege to present a monographic exhibition by Joan Jonas. The exhibition was guest curated by UQAM professor and art historian Barbara Clausen, who has had a long-standing collaborative relationship with Joan, going back to Barbara’s student days in New York. To this day, Barbara continues to champion the work of Joan who remains at the forefront of contemporary art, especially in how art confronts and questions our relationship to the natural world. Joan’s exhibition remains for me as a highlight both professionally and artistically, mainly in how this artist refused a fixed and routine approach to making an exhibition with her curator.

I vividly recall an insightful and instructive conversation with her about the misuses of “site-specific” approaches in art and how a slightly younger generation of artists was using the term frivolously, and incorrectly. To her mind’s eye, these artists articulated more simplistic functions of exhibition-making, such as placing artworks in a new space, or merely situating a work into a site by virtue of another invitation to exhibit. These functions completely betrayed the original and radical definition of site-specificity as one where the space itself called for and directed the artist to make a brand new artistic proposal. Though Joan and Barbara certainly drew on existing works in her show and technically nothing brand-new was produced, she certainly and without apology set up a critical space for thinking what it meant to show these pieces, in our buildings and in this city for this very specific Montreal audience. Whether a visitor would necessarily know or have felt this artistic impulse at work was not the point for Joan, it was — someone who has been making exhibitions for nearly five decades — a way to remain fresh, alive, and to continue searching and asking questions about the world. I will always be thankful to have been able to help stage this exhibition with this remarkable artist.

Check out this wonderful example of Joan and Barbara talking about their exhibition, From Away.

Related Articles

De nos archives: de DHC/ART à la Fondation PHI

La Fondation PHI présente une sélection de ses contenus favoris tirés de ses archives. Sélection par Dahlia Cheng, stratège numérique et coordinatrice aux projets imprimés, et Magdaléna Faye, coordinatrice administrative à la Fondation PHI.
Read More

From the Vault: Performances in Various Times

The PHI Foundation presents a selection of its favourite perfomances from its archives. Selection by Victoria Carrasco, PHI Foundation Gallery Management and Adjunct Curator – Public Programs. As a team member at the PHI Foundation, I have been able to work
Read More

From the Vault: Dissections and Public Programming Favourites

The PHI Foundation presents a selection of its favourite content from its archives. Selection by Tanha Gomes, educator and project manager at the PHI Foundation. Through exhibitions and public programming, the PHI Foundation promotes appreciation and
Read More

De nos archives: sur notre approche éducative

La Fondation PHI présente une sélection de ses contenus favoris tirés de ses archives. Sélection par Marie-Hélène Lemaire, responsable de l'éducation à la Fondation PHI. La pédagogie à l’art basée sur le mouvement Chaque année, l’équipe de
Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

* Required Fields