Zoo at the Musée d'art contemporain de
Twenty artists delve into the relationship
between humans and animals
Some fifty works that are bound to
spark a highly topical discussion of the human-animal relationship will be
in the spotlight in Zoo, the summer show at the Musée d'art
contemporain de Montréal, set to run from May 24 to
September 3. This group exhibition contains pieces by twenty
Québec, Canadian, and international artists. Focusing on zoos as a
mode of portraying the animal kingdom and living beings, it features works
that will prompt an examination of the marked interest in animals seen in
the contemporary art of the past few years. It also fits in with recent
debates about natural history and our relationship to a world that has
undergone unprecedented ecological and geopolitical change. Of particular
note: in a major Canadian premiere, the work Circle of Animals/Zodiac
Heads: Gold by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will be presented at
the MAC for this occasion.
Through their works, the artists
explore the tremendous variety of connections that exist between humans and
animals, and broach the issue within a very broad perspective. Some artists
use this relationship to explore cultural representations, reinterpret
anthropological stereotypes or highlight the notion—still very
commonly held—of the primacy of humankind. Others focus on the
collection, classification, and exhibition methods that are characteristic
of both museums and zoos, which share a similar way of understanding and
organizing the world. Yet other artists employ spaces or metaphors that
open up to other dualities or areas of conflict. Today, we cannot speak of
animals, or of animality, without speaking of our relationship to them and,
more broadly, our relationship to the Other.
approaches to the same theme: the artists in Zoo
artists taking part in Zoo are: Ai Weiwei, David Altmejd, Shary
Boyle, Mark Dion, Nathalie Djurberg, Jason Dodge, Trevor Gould,
Renée Green, Rachel Harrison, Mona Hatoum, Pierre Huyghe, Matthew
Day Jackson, Brian Jungen, Liz Magor, Ugo Rondinone, Kevin Schmidt, David
Shrigley, Kiki Smith, Haim Steinbach, and Jana Sterbak.
the major works—some of them brand-new—showcased in
Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Gold (2010)
by dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, is a remarkable work being shown
here for the first time in Canada. It is a reinterpretation of the twelve
bronze animal heads, representing the traditional Chinese zodiac, that used
to adorn the famous water clock at the imperial gardens of Yuanming Yuan in
Produced specially for the exhibition Zoo, David
Altmejd's Le Spectre et la Main (2012) takes up elements
typically used by this artist and applies them like a leitmotiv. The work
suggests a vivarium of surprising size that interweaves a multitude of
threads introducing the idea of movement and perpetual metamorphosis.
Also worthy of mention is a large-scale installation by Trevor
Gould, titled God's Window, created specifically for the
Musée Sculpture Garden, where it has been built onto the fountain.
The sculpture features the monkey figure that often appears in the artist's
work, and its structure speaks to the surrounding architecture.
Finally, Chair Apollinaire, by Jana Sterbak, is a "club"
chair made of meat. Its presentation at the MAC is a Canadian premiere.
The Musée d'art contemporain de
Montréal is launching a major publication for the exhibition. This
lavishly illustrated, 240-page catalogue, also titled Zoo, contains
an introduction by the show's curators, Marie Fraser and François
LeTourneux, texts presenting each of the artists, and a typology describing
the relationship between humans and animals as reflected in natural
history, philosophy, fiction, and science.
Source and information
Head of Public Relations
514 847 6232
Visual material available
User name: presse
David Altmejd, Le spectre et la main, 2012. Plexiglas,
coconut shells, epoxy clay, epoxy resin, thread, resin, metal wire,
horse hair, acrylic, 124 1/4 x 269 x 98 inches.*
Montréal. Photo: Guy L'Heureux.