June 19 – October 3 2021
When they chose the theme of the 2021 BILP, Adrien Landry, Dominique Roy and Donald Vézina, curators of the event since 2016, could never have foreseen that a global pandemic would turn the world upside down in the months that would follow. The context that has prevailed for more than a year, in Québec and abroad, naturally influenced the approach of some of the 20 guest artists. Some works therefore echo the current situation by addressing subjects such as the loss of a loved one, (Monserrat Duran Muntadas, Québec), the strength that comes from solidarity, or even the relief that can emerge at the sight of a work imbued with joy and lightness, (Jozef Bajus, USA).
The upheavals caused by climate change are of course at the centre of many discussions. Thus, some sculptural objects show the effects of global warming on rising sea levels or melting glaciers. Faced with these fears, other creators might rather encourage the observers to cherish the present moment and to appreciate the beauty of a flax field (Greta Kardi, Lithuania), or that of the water droplets clinging to the small seed-carrying envelopes, making them shine a thousand lights.
Some creators have also associated turnarounds with technology. While some illustrated the major changes that have resulted from the industrialization of textile weaving (Heidi McKenzie, Canada) or from the use of the microscope in the development of knowledge (Chantale Bouchard, Québec), others spoke about the scope of the Internet’s development and on the creation of a virtual world.
Finally, several artists have approached the theme by exploring linen itself, by manipulating it, by crushing it, by showing it in a new light (David Merritt, Canada). While this approach was of a harmonious, even playful nature for most of them some were surprised to see their relationship with the matter turn into a fight.
Sudden or provoked, significant changes can be a driving force on a personal level, as well as on a social, political or ecological level. In regards to the creative process, they often provide access to unsuspected resources. Just like the selected artists, the organizers of the 2021 BILP have adapted to the current obligatory turnarounds to present an exhibition rich in emotions and images that offer hope of revival.
The BILP also showcases emerging artists by presenting the exhibition Le fleuve en partage, to which eighteen art students from various colleges and universities are participating.
Curators: Dominique Roy, Adrien Landry, Donald Vézina
- David Merritt (Canada) A cultivation of disuse (2021) Found wood and branches, engineered wood, pages of old books, linen thread
David Merritt’s practice explores the relationship between humans and natural systems through drawing, sculpture and multimedia. His works have been exhibited in Canada and internationally.
To illustrate the metaphor of the often-random migrations of humans, the artist uses obsolete objects and materials that have been left behind along the way.
- Chantale Bouchard (Québec)Voir lin (2021) Digital prints on linen canvas. Chantale Bouchard holds a Master’s degree in visual arts from the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi. Her works have been featured in several individual and group exhibitions in Quebec, France and Italy. By combining art and technology, in this case print and electronic microscopy, Chantale Bouchard offers the discovery of new images, new landscapes and new territories to explore.
- Heidi McKenzie (Canada) Linenopolis (2021) Photography transfers on porcelain. Heidi McKenzie, a ceramic artist, holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Cultural Policy from the University of Warwick, England and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art and Design.
By reproducing the perforated cardboards that were key elements in the operation of Jacquard looms, Heidi McKenzie not only recounts the technological revolution that took place in the 19th century, but she also speaks of the emergence of the mechanisms that led to the invention of the computer.
- Greta Kardi (Lithuania) Time to Feel the Flax Fields (2021) Video and wooden sticks. Greta Kardi is a graphic designer with a Master’s degree in textile art from the Vilnius Academy of Arts. She seeks to renew traditional ways of working generally associated with textile art while practicing mostly Land Art and urban art. Here, the artist invites spectators to physically enter the work to live an experience, a stroll through a flax field that is both dream and reality.
- Jozef Bajus (United States) Dialogue (2021) Mixed processes on linen fabric. Multidisciplinary artist Jozef Bajus holds a Master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia. He has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions and his works are part of various collections. In designing this installation, the artist wishes to bring some joy to people who are currently suffering the demobilizing effects of the pandemic.
- Montserrat Duran Muntadas (Montreal)La femme aux mille cœurs (2021) Blown glass, crocheted linen thread. A graduate of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Barcelona, Montserrat Duran Muntadas now lives and works in Montréal. She also has specialized training in glass art from the Centro Nacional del Vidrio in Segovia, Spain. She offers a tribute to her recently deceased grandmother, to which several women have participated by wrapping blown glass hearts in crocheted linen thread.