Raymonde April times four, in Montreal

sponsored

To experience Raymonde April’s current exhibits is to experience the underpinnings of process, display and the creation of meaning. Equivalences 1-4, a not-so-subtle nod to Alfred Stieglitz’s Equivalent series, showcases four different bodies of work — 3 photo collections and 1 video work — in three different spaces in Montreal. April, who was awarded the 2005 Career Achievement Award for Art Photography from the Ontario Arts Foundation, worked with curator Eduardo Ralickas to mine the photographer’s recent images and archive in order to find sequences. Working with the idea that photos and their perceived meaning are informed by their printing, placement, and sequencing, the duo created parallel experiences (and thus equivalents) across galleries that brings philosophical ruminations about photography to life.

Publicity image for Equivalences 1-4 showing the process of selection of the images for the exhibitions, 2010. Courtesy of Les Territoires.
Publicity image for Equivalences 1-4 showing the process of selection of the images for the exhibitions, 2010. Courtesy of Les Territoires.


The series of photographs at Galerie Donald Browne and across the hall at Les Territoires are simply framed and without caption. At the first gallery, I walked through the varied sequence, attempting to see connections, attempting to understand. The images themselves, from urban and rural settings from Montreal to Beijing to Buenos Aires, seem disparate, enigmatic. Single images are pregnant with poetry, April’s style is undeniable. A certain absence reigns, a certain something left unsaid. Vacant city scenes, old black and white photographs, snapshots of the studio. Upon first impression of seeing this melee of images together, I was baffled. But then, walking across the hall, I began to understand. The images from one gallery echoed the sentiment and style of the images in the other.

Raymonde April, Untitled image from Equivalences 1, 2009. Courtesy of Galerie Donald Browne.
Raymonde April, Untitled image from Equivalences 1, 2009. Courtesy of Galerie Donald Browne.

While ultimately the meaning of the images remains with the artist, the experience of the exhibits is completely personal. As one sees the images and travels through space and time, from one gallery to the next, from one image to the next, the viewer creates his/her own sequence of meaning, relying on the experience of visual memory. One understands the curator and photographer’s process of constructing meaning by experiencing the personal process of reconstructing meaning.

Raymonde April, Untitled image from Equivalences 2, undated. Courtesy of Les Territoires.
Raymonde April, Untitled image from Equivalences 2, undated. Courtesy of Les Territoires.

The method of display, presenting the viewer with a mélange of images parallels the overload of visuals presented through today’s technology. I began to wonder, as the sequence evolved through my own senses and memory, if any photographer with a large body of work could create the experience done here by April? Were her photographs replaceable? It could be. However, I believe April’s particular style and vision holds this conceptual idea of multiple and varied exhibits together.

Raymonde April, Untitled image from Equivalences 2, undated. Courtesy of Les Territoires.
Raymonde April, Untitled image from Equivalences 2, undated. Courtesy of Les Territoires.

Ultimately, I find the curator’s use of the idea of the creation of meaning within an exhibition to then create a multi-venue experience that brings that idea into liveable reality to be quite sophisticated and successful. Although difficult to grasp at first, the ideas behind this group of shows, which run until March 13, are worth grappling with for some time. Walking from one venue to another (along with waiting for the final segment of the show to open at Occurrence on January 30) should provide ample time to work it all out.
Equivalences 1 runs at Galerie Donald Browne until February 13.
Equivalences 2 runs at Les Territoires until February 6.
Equivalences 3-4 runs at Occurrence from January 30 to March 13.

Tags

galerie donald browne, les territoires, occurrence, raymonde april

sponsored
sponsored

Moving Artblog Forward - Contribute Today!

Artblog is passionate about art.
If you are too, please help us in our
Annual Appeal Campaign!

Here’s how you can help.

Send this to a friend