Visual artists have long borrowed from the world of play to achieve such effects as trompe-l’oeil and anamorphosis, or even to insert hidden codes into their work. The exhibition Contemporary Artists at Play presents approximately 40 artworks by Canadian artists that, through their forms, processes, references or narratives, use games to stimulate our reflection. It is the perfect backdrop against which to unveil the Museum’s new acquisitions and showcase exciting works in its contemporary art collection!
Drawing inspiration from artistic practices that employ a bold and playful use of materials, styles and techniques, some artists featured in the exhibition transform the imagery of – or actual – games and toys, or alter the usual function of object, resulting in unexpected transformations. These artists include Kim Adams, the collective BGL, Adam Basanta, Eric Cameron, Gerald Ferguson, André Fournelle, Liz Magor, Gilles Mihalcean, Elisabeth Picard, Barbara Todd, Angèle Verret, Ambera Wellmann and Jinny Yu. Others, like Marie-Claude Bouthillier, Mario Doucette, Trevor Gould, Maria Hupfield and Kent Monkman, used role playing, disguises – and a dose of humour – to revisit history, imagining costumes and alternative lives.
The works of Sylvie Bouchard, Karine Giboulo, Maskull Lasserre, Yannick Pouliot and Rober Racine, for their part, make poetic or political statements through riddles, plays on words and surrealist juxtapositions. Inspired by video games, simulation games and treasure hunts, the pieces by Dominique Blain, Eleanor Bond, Christine Major, Michael Merrill and Denis Rousseau lead visitors to step outside the norm and penetrate parallel worlds.
This exhibition is organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
The Museum thanks its Young Philanthropists’ Circle, proud supporter of the MMFA’s contemporary art program. It further acknowledges the vital contribution of Air Canada to the presentation of this exhibition and extends its thanks to Quebec’s Ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing support.
The Museum would also like to extend its gratitude to all those who, through their generous assistance, encouragement and support, made this exhibition possible.