A word from the curator
The Manifestation Internationale d'art de Québec is an event devoted to the exhibition and promotion of contemporary visual art, to be held in Québec City every two years under a different theme. The Manifestation spotlights artistic effervescence and, in collaboration with other organizations, makes it possible for Québec City to position itself on the world stage as an inescapable focal point for the creation and exhibition of contemporary art. To broadcast local culture, it is obviously essential that the work of local artists circulate internationally. However, it is just as important to create events of quality and vigour at home, events able to animate the population close at hand and to draw attention from those farther afield.
For this first edition, thirty-six artists from Québec, Canada and Europe are presenting what are, for the most part, previously unseen works. Exhibition sites are spread out throughout the city, with a strong concentration in Saint-Roch, Québec City's cultural core. Special activities taking place alongside the exhibitions provide additional interest and variety.
We have wanted this Manifestation to represent the multiplicity of current forms of visual expression, hence its rallying nature. Exhibition centres active in a number of disciplines are therefore taking part in the event. The result is a program in which cinema, design, installation, painting, photography, sculpture and video are all present. The link between them all is ornamentation, this first edition's theme.
Ornamentation is indissociable from the
notion of beauty, in turn related to the senses and to knowledge itself.
It is a controversial phenomenon within the art world, conjuring up that
mighty demon, the decorative (or as it is sometimes put, the pointlessly
gratuitous). However, ornamentation makes it possible to question the
foundations of our relationship with the arts, particularly as it is played
out on a daily basis. That relationship dictates what we wear, what we
surround ourselves with, how we organize the various spaces of our lives.
Formally, ornamentation may be repetitive design in prescribed compositions, regular or profuse. At other times, it takes the form of hybrid or grotesque figures telling stories, recounting tales. It takes on multiple guises, both natural (arabesques, shells, rose windows...) and abstract (checks, verticals, horizontals...). In all cases, the ornament is a post factum phenomenon, that is, it is something added on to a structure that already exists. For this reason, ornaments serve no utilitarian necessity at all. However, ornaments turn out to be a superfluous necessity. As dazzling and absorbing instruments in the search for meaning, they inspire imaginative digressions through complex spatial constructions, recurring motifs and even, aberrations.
Visiting the various exhibition sites of the Manifestation means partaking in an adventure, visual and sensory. The crew of the Manifestation and all of the employees of l'Œil de Poisson sincerely thank the artists, the cultural organisms, the public subsidizers, our private partners and our volunteers who, through their hard work and efforts, made this first adventure possible. Without their help, it couldn't have been done.
Andrée Daigle, curator