There are two figures in a large empty space: she is the continuous drawer, and he is the decision-maker.
Carried Away is an ongoing performance-installation that involves the participation of artist Vida Simon and partner collaborator, Jack Stanley. At the center of this work is a commitment to improvisation and the challenge of following one’s line without distraction or self-censorship. This creative program is made up of a collaborative creative residency, community make art workshops, a site-responsive exhibition and series of performances.
Throughout the exhibition, the artists staged several ongoing drawing performances.
March 11 Saturday 11am – 2pm
March 15 Wednesday 11am – 2pm
March 17 Friday 11am – 2pm
March 18 Saturday 11am – 2pm
March 23 Thursday 3pm – 6pm
We are the witnesses, weaving our responses into the unfolding story. There is the raft, it carries the starting point. The drawer kneels and begins. The charcoal in her fingers is greeted by the soft whispers of the paper. Can the artist remain focused with the knowledge that she may be disrupted at any moment? Her collaborator reposes watching and waiting. He knows there is a moment rising that holds an impulse to interrupt. Can the decision-maker sustain critical distance within a performative context?
– Denise Lawson
THE ARTISTS ON THEIR COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE
We first met in a performance art class at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. Our collaboration comes through 23 years of working together in different ways: creating artworks, (effigy, Montreal, 2000; Lamplight and Earth, Montreal, 2009; at home and us, Slovakia, 2010), and organizing exhibitions, events, and discussions. From the very beginning we have been interested in the relationship between art and everyday life. For many years we ran a small exhibition/event space in our apartment called a room under the stairs, where we invited artists to come live with us and create works specifically in response to the architectural, social, and metaphorical qualities of the space. This later evolved into Souffles, an exhibition/event space in a former sewing factory in Montreal.
My work incorporates various media combined to form site-responsive installations and performances. I have presented projects internationally, in a wide range of contexts—galleries, hotel rooms, storefronts, theaters, rooftops, a former synagogue, an old horse stable, and a century-old house on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. I recently completed a long duration residency with 3e impérial (Granby, Quebec) and will have a solo show at Kunsthalle Lingen (Germany) in 2017. My work often draws attention to the detail, the intimate, and the ephemeral.
For me drawing is the most direct, fluid form to express my interests in visual storytelling, materiality, and gesture. I approach drawing as an embodied language, a process of excavation, a way of wandering and wondering. I compose spaces in which viewers are integral to the work, allowing people to fill the gaps with their own stories or physically become part of a tableau. Recent performances have explored discrepancies between nearness and distance, intimacy and theatricality, for example playing with the fragmentation of space through scenes unfolding in different areas of a horse stable, or rooms of an old house. I move in and out of the performative role – at times my body folds right into the installation, or I step out of the scene and engage with the audience. In this way I strive to fuse the theatrical and the everyday. Another recent development in my work is incorporating other people into my performances (both performers and non-performers), so that I at times take on more of a “director’s” role.
I am a writer, curator, and arts administrator based in Montreal. My interest in institutional critique started in the ‘90s while studying at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Since then I have been preoccupied with the issue of place and the often-overlooked significance of context in the production and reception of artworks. Key theoretical interests include critical regionalism, situated knowledge, and hospitality. Between 2011–2014 I was Director of Programs for Fogo Island Arts, a not-for-profit cultural institution in Newfoundland best known for its international residency program. I am currently working as Exhibition Coordinator for Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal.