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Quartier des Spectacles, Montreal
ADAD HANNAH AND DENYS ARCAND AT PAPIER 2012
Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain is pleased to present the photographic suite from the project Safari, a collaboration between filmmaker Denys Arcand and artist Adad Hannah. This special collaboration was initiated by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the exhibition Big Bang in 2011.
Arcand and Hannah developed a 7 minute scene that takes place in the back of a nightclub in the middle of the 1980’s. The scene is inspired by and revolves around the Safari Seating Environment, designed by the Florence based Archizoom Associati in 1968, its sleek white sides and leopard-print covered seats providing the stage for the set of actions performed on it. The actors featured in Safari are all employees of the museum with no formal acting training. After casting and workshopping the scene the artists shot the same 7 minute sequence from six different angles. Each actor had a set trajectory, performing certain actions at a set place in the timeline and remaining as still as possible the rest of the time. The result is a staccato and haunting recording of a single scene performed over and over for the camera.
The photographs from Safari are yet another angle onto the same enigmatic scene, allowing a closer reading of the characters and actions which make up the work. Details from the scene take on a life of their own as the camera focuses on small sections of the overall tableau. In contrast to the slowly moving action in the videos, the photographs freeze the action, revealing the lush fibres of an unraveling story.
The artists wish to thank The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for their support and the employees for their performances. They also wish to thank the entire production crew who made this project possible.
Adad Hannah was born in New York in 1971, spent his childhood in Israel and England, and moved to Canada in the 1980’s. He lives and works between Montreal and Vancouver. Adad Hannah has been working on his series Stills consisting of silent videos that exist at the intersection of performance, photography, and video. Based on the 19th-century practice of tableaux vivants, Hannah’s videos, photographs, and installations look at how we perform as spectators, and how our gaze can be a constructive one as we try to make sense of ourselves and the world around us.
He has exhibited at institutions worldwide including the Prague Biennial (2011), Aldrich Museum (2010), Samsung LEEUM Museum, Seoul (2011), Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (2010, 2008), Zendai MoMA, Shanghai (2009), Ke Center for Contemporary Art (Shanghai 2008), the Vancouver Art Gallery (2007), the National Gallery of Canada (2011, 2006), Ikon Gallery (Birmingham 2006), the 4th Seoul International Media Art Biennale (2006), Casa Encendida (Madrid 2006) and Viper Basel (2004). In 2004 he won the Toronto Images Festival Installation/New Media Award, and the Bogdanka Poznanovic Award at Videomedeja 8. His work has been funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, the B.C Arts Council, the Vancouver Foundation/Contemporary Art Gallery, the Quebec Delegations and Canadian Embassies in Madrid, Seoul, and New York. He has produced works at museums including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Rodin Gallery (Seoul), and the Prado Museum (Madrid).
Hannah’s work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Ke Center for Contemporary Art (Shanghai) and the Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw) among many others.
Denys Arcand’s films are well known in Canada and around the world. Their renown is due not only to the numerous prestigious awards that they have won, but also to Mr. Arcand’s penetrating and yet poetic perspective of the world that they portray. He is famous for The Decline of the American Empire (Le déclin de l’empire américain) and Jesus of Montreal (Jésus de Montréal), both nominated for the Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Stardom (2000) was the first Canadian film ever chosen to close the Cannes Film Festival. In 2003, he wrote and directed The Barbarian Invasions. The film won a number of prestigious awards around the world, including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, three César – Best Film, Best Screenplay and Best Director and the Best screenplay award at Cannes. His last film, Days of Darkness (L’Âge des ténèbres) was the Official Selection at that year’s Cannes Film Festival for Closing Night, a very special evening as it was the 60th birthday of the festival. All of Denys Arcand’s films portray his love for history and his passion and compassion for people from different strata of society.