Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien

Archive of past issues

Vol. XVIII:2 (1997)

Articles

Corridart Revisited / Revoir Corridart

Kim Gauvin

CORRIDART dans la rue Sherbrooke is considered the most important of the three art exhibitions organized under the Arts and Culture Programme of the Organizing Committee (COJO) of the 1976 Montréal Summer Olympic Games. However, as is well known, Corridart was dismantled shortly after its installation, three days prior to the official opening of the Olympics. The exhibition was subsidized solely by the Québec government and consisted of joint and solo projects by Québec artists. The works were installed along Sherbrooke Street between Atwater Street and the Olympic Complex, although the majority were situated between Jeanne-Mance and Papineau Streets. Within the core zone of the exhibition were two principal sections of concentration, the first defined by Jeanne-Mance and St-Dominique Streets, and the second by Berri Street and Parc Lafontaine.

Taking it as Red

Michael Snow and Wittgenstein

Elizabeth Legge

In his intellectual activities Michael Snow owes a great deal to two predecessors in matters of art and language: Marcel Duchamp and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Both were an influence on the minimal and conceptual art scene in New York, of which Snow was a part, through the 1960s. Wittgenstein's arguments about language and its games are a theoretical counterpart to Duchamp's games with language. In homage to Duchamp, Snow makes puns on his own name and its anagrams, incorporating them into his work, for example, a "snow" smokescreen: a counterpart to the "salt" of Duchamp's "marchand du sel." This name game may also be connected to Wittgenstein's discussions in Philosophical Investigations of the problems of confusing name and thing: for example, a person's name continues to have meaning after the person dies or, more tersely, "Mr. Scot is not a Scot." Similarly, Mr. Snow is not snow. But in the titles of various works, such as Snow Blind and Snow Storm, February 7, 1967, Snow inserts his name, reinforcing his authorial presence. It is played, in these instances, for its implications of vision, and its converse, snow blindness. It is also played, although not explicitly, for its implications of philosophical understanding, or, perhaps, inundation: being snowed.

Riopelle et la quête ludique de l'Autre

Louise Vigneault

Cette étude a pour objet le personnage même de Jean-Paul Riopelle, et l'attitude particulière qu'il affiche face à l'activité artistique. C'est à travers une analyse de son œuvre, des entrevues qu'il a accordées et des éléments biographiques, que nous tenterons de détecter les récurrences quant aux fonctionnements de l'artiste dans le processus créatif, en relation avec le phénomène du primitivisme. Cette tendance, qui s'inscrivait d'abord dans le sillage de la vision évolutionniste et des philosophies romantiques, s'est manifestée de plusieurs façons au cours des siècles, mais se réalise généralement à travers la représentation de l'Autre, à la fois étranger et miroir inversé en qui l'artiste trouve son propre reflet. Cette quête de l'Autre, qui s'avère en fait une quête détournée de sa propre identité vers des réalités étrangères, aurait poussé certains artistes comme Picasso, Vlaminck, Matisse ou Nolde, à s'intéresser aux arts dits tribaux. Récupérés des colonies, ces derniers leur offraient l'exotisme souhaité, dans le but d'un profond bouleversement des valeurs. C'est pourquoi le primitivisme occupe une place non négligeable dans l'histoire de l'art moderne.

translated summary:

Riopelle and his Playful Quest for the Other

For the past twenty years, the discourse on Riopelle has established parameters in Western art. Indeed, he appears to take a special pleasure in overstepping boundaries and using unusual techniques and materials to baffle his audience. The key to understanding his motivation seems to lie in his particular attitude towards nature, which is revealed initially in his use of animistic subject matter, such as owls and geese. In his work nature itself becomes iconic, signifying a real presence or the universal idea of presence, not unlike the way God and the image of God were manifested in the Byzantine era. Thus, the subject of his paintings becomes the painter himself and his identification with the totemic animal, the primordial symbolic element of power. Perceiving nature as the transcription of a transcended reality in constant progression, he feels a paradoxical need to flee and to identify with the Other; to trap him and to maintain control in a territory that is not his own. According to Riopelle: "Nature remains an enigma: we never perceive it in its totality. It is as I am, always in the process of leaving." For many years he has refused to discuss art. In interviews, he prefers to talk about billiard games, flag games, Inuit string games, hunting, fishing, collecting flies, puttering about, the mechanical performance of racing cars. He is well known for never answering questions directly, but immediately links them to another subject altogether, making a game of himself and others in an attitude of permanent escape.

Reviews

This Woman in Particular: Contexts for the Biographical Image of Emily Carr

Stephanie Kirkwood Walker

Janice Helland

Fiction, autobiography, letter-writing and painting coalesce to provide researchers with a richly documented archive from which to construct Canadian artist and icon Emily Carr. Such a fertile source of documentation has ensured the "writing" of Carr as an important figure within Canadian art history while, at the same time, it has limited the analysis of her work and allowed critics and historians to be seduced by perceived "truths." At a time when identity, as Stuart Hall suggests, is discussed "as a 'production' which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation," Emily Carr has been most often constructed as inhabiting a fixed space defined by her own writing and the writing of those who knew her.