Martha Street Studio — Sequences of Territories

Manitoba
Printmakers
Association


11 Martha Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1A2



204 779 6253

Sequences of Territories

@ilanapichon

Think: Monotype #061 by Ilana Pichon. Screen print, 15 x 11",  2017

Ilana Pichon

May 10th, 2019 to June 14th, 2019
Opening: May 10th, 5-8pm

Free drop-in workshop by Ilana Pichon: Patterns & Postcards*
Saturday May 11, 2-5pm

These events are free to attend and open to the public.

Read Céline Le Merlus' written response to the exhibition below.

*If you are interested in attending the workshop on May 11th and require ASL interpretation, please reach us at askmartha@printmakers.mb.ca or 204 779-6253 by 5pm on Wednesday May 8th. Please contact us with any other inquiries regarding accessibility for this workshop.

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In Sequences of Territories, Pichon traces her movement, some stops, and landscapes she has encountered on three journeys driven alone by car between Québec City and Winnipeg (2015, 2017, 2019). With each separate journey she explores the memories associated with place and takes care to value the moment and the process. She studies the impact of loops and repetition through her artistic process.
 
Working with different techniques – silkscreen prints, video, sound, and mural painting – she aims to make connections between the internal and external dialogue that takes place when one responds to an abstract and concrete landscape, and to one another. Through these mediums, she translates various experiences and visual markers within poetic and colourful languages of repetition, intervals and overlays. Created over a long period of time, this body of work underlines time's malleability versus memory’s imprint. Sequences of Territories encourages the viewer to dive into various atmospheres and speeds of contemplation. Pichon illustrates the domestication of the landscape and depicts multiple views of the same territory. 

 

Ilana Pichon is a visual artist from Québec City, Canada, born and raised in Switzerland. She graduated with a Master of Architecture from Laval University (QC) in 2010. She has been awarded multiple grants from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec for printmaking projects (2014, 2016, 2018) and recently received grants supporting video and artist books residencies through La Bande Video, Première Ovation and Engramme. Pichon's practice and artworks are strongly influenced by in situ experiences, evident in both her silkscreen printing and large-scale murals. Her murals are located across Canada and in Germany and she has shown nationally in galleries since 2014. Pichon's artworks are part of Global Affairs Canada's collection, Bibliothèque des Archives nationales du Québec’s heritage collection of artist books and Stewart Hall Gallery.

The artist thanks La Bande Vidéo for their technical support.

Martha Street Studio gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and Winnipeg Arts Council for their dedicated support of our professional programming.

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Artist Statement:

Pichon's approach is in line with many other practices whose process and essence share the same activators, namely the observation and dissection of space. Affiliated with a form of domestication of in situ (site-specific) art, her practice challenges notions of provenance, structuring elements, material and emotional baggage, as well as graphical and physical rhythms. Intimately linked to location, its components and her personal life story, her approach ties in with the various territorial levels to produce an in situnetwork of reference points.
 
Living in Quebec for almost 20 years, she was originally raised in Europe in a French-Swiss family of travellers. She grew up following the rhythms of the long and regular moves that continually transformed her living environment. Prompted by this constant change of scenery, a search for a frame of reference manifested itself instinctively. Collecting in situ elements allowed her to structure her understanding of the new places she visited in order to find a type of stability within this constant motion. Her studies in architecture have sharpened this focus on reading space and its various territorial levels. They have also informed the way in which she works with various raw materials to extract their essence and instigate a dialogue between content and context to yield new interpretations.
 
Her practice thus follows the rhythm of this need for change and the will to understand new environments. Through this familiarization with space, she comes to embrace, codify and transform the collected reference points in the form of superimposed textures, patterns and graphical elements. This repetition of singular elements—both the actual space and the individual shapes within a given pattern—becomes the structuring core from which she can reinvent herself.

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Patterns & Postcards Workshop

Saturday, May 11, 2-5 pm (drop-in)

This free, drop-in workshop taught by Ilana Pichon will allow participants to screen print their own postcards (back and front, 4'' x 6''). Everyone will be invited to imagine new abstract landscapes by printing overlays and intervals of textures and colours. The patterns will come from imagery created from Pichon’s journey between Quebec City and Winnipeg. “Patterns & Postcards” is presented in conjunction with Pichon’s exhibition Sequences of Territories.

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Sequences of Territories: the work of Ilana Pichon

Text by Céline Le Merlus. Translation from French by Alexandre Payer.

101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km… Vingt-cinq segments de 101 km pour parcourir en voiture la distance entre Québec et Winnipeg. Vingt-cinq segments de 101 km pour parcourir en voiture la distance entre Winnipeg et Québec. Vingt-cinq arrêts pour observer et vivre l’unieme kilometre et la traversée. Le temps pour se rendre d’un point a un autre et pour ne s’attarder ni sur un point, ni sur l’autre; le temps d’étudier la banalité d’un bord de route qui ressemble à un bord de route qui… ressemble a un bord de route québécois, ou ontarien, ou manitobain – assurément canadien. Des espaces anonymes que nul ne s’approprie, mais que l’artiste exhibe, non-lieux qui revendiquent la singularité de leurs détails insignifiants.[1]

Par une segmentation artificielle du trajet, Ilana Pichon réduit les distances et préfabrique une succession définie de reperes visuels et sonores qu’elle réorchestre a l’infini. Structurés en motifs graphiques synthétiques, réitérés sans compter et sériés en un processus répétitif intuitif, ces repères se superposent en sérigraphie dans un agencement de couleurs dont les variations englobent la partie pour saturer l’atmosphere du tout. W2608Q exploite ces motifs dans une composition cartographique divisée en zones macroscopiques ou le détail se perd. Dans Think, Ilana multiplie impressions et surimpressions pour supplanter la forme au profit d’une déclinaison chromatique dont la linéarité ondoyante préfigure le travail vidéographique.

Dans un semblable souci de grésillement d’une image finale consciemment floutée, les montages vidéo suggèrent a l’oeil surstimulé du spectateur la reconstruction mentale de paysages urbains et naturels banals. L’enchassement des plans capturés au travers l’objectif grand angle crée un effet sphérique qui transfere a l’asphalte la valeur d’horizon par la mise en volume de la lecture linéaire qu’induirait la projection d’un plan unique. Laps distincts d’un écran a l’autre, répétés en boucles désynchronisées pour multiplier les possibilités narratives, les plans superposés en transparence sollicitent la mémorisation visuelle des reperes retenus par l’artiste. Le traitement séparé de la trame sonore unique favorise les associations aléatoires entre images et son, et ajoute ainsi un récit suggestif autonome qui vient renforcer l’abstraction interprétative de la perception d’ensemble.

Dans le contexte mondial actuel, la mobilité généralisée des personnes et la circulation facilitée des idées par le biais des réseaux virtuels déjouent les frontieres physiques et tendent a dissoudre reperes et cloisons, pourtant indispensables a l’éthique de soi et des autres.[2] Les dialogues rephrasés entre Ilana et sa traversée traduisent a leur façon la quete identitaire d’une artiste en mouvement permanent, qui construit ses marqueurs d’appropriation non dans une structure géopolitique imposée, mais dans la fabrication de souvenirs uniques qui la définissent. En jouant sur la rythmique pour diversifier les interprétations d’un même territoire sans jamais s’imposer, Ilana ancre l’idée d’un espace partagé, participant d’entités affectives, culturelles et sociales multiples, que chacun visualise et (re)construit selon son histoire personnelle. La volonté de l’artiste de perpétuer ce processus de traversée, ou chaque itération ajoute a son œuvre une nouvelle dimension artistique et renforce la familiarité des lieux, se perçoit aussi comme une invitation a prendre le temps de nous arreter, de regarder et d’écouter le territoire pour mieux l’apprivoiser. Changer le regard sur le quotidien, multiplier les points de vue, les souvenirs s’interferent, se précisent, se superposent ou se succedent, mais toujours contribuent a aider chacun dans son appropriation d’un espace anodin.

 

Diplômée en histoire de l’art etmuséologie a l’École du Louvre (Paris) et en gestion des organismes culturelles aux HEC-Montréal, Céline Le Merlus a travaillé 10 ans a la conservation et aux expositions du Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec. Commissaire, auteure et gestionnaire culturelle, elle est cofondatrice du Centre d’exposition Lethbridge (Saint-Laurent) et dirige depuis 2015 la Galerie d’art Stewart Hall (Pointe-Claire). Elle s’implique également sur plusieurs conseils d’administration d’organismes muséaux ou de diffusion en arts visuels.

 

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References:

[1] Augé, Marc (1992).Non-lieux : introduction à une anthropologie de la surmodernité. Paris, Seuil.

[2] Kerekes, Anna(2018). La pratique artistique comme souci de soi et des autres : arts du quotidien, de la mémoire et du montage. Thèse de Doctorat en études et pratiques des arts. Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal.

 

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101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km + 101 km… Twenty-five 101-kilometre segments to drive the distance between Quebec City and Winnipeg. Twenty-five 101-kilometre segments to drive the distance between Winnipeg and Quebec City. Twenty-five stops to observe and experience the one hundred and first kilometre, and to cross it. There is time to get from one place to another without lingering over one place or the other; time to study an ordinary stretch of road that looks like another stretch of road that… looks like another stretch of road from Quebec, from Ontario, or Manitoba – all unmistakably Canadian. Anonymous spaces which no one takes up, but which the artist reveals as non-places asserting the singularity of their insignificant nature.[1]

By artificially segmenting the journey, Ilana Pichon compresses distances and prefabricates a series defined by visual and auditory landmarks recomposed ad infinitum. Structured into endless graphic iterations and sequenced following an intuitive and repetitive process, these motifs act as reference points, overlaid in screen prints in an arrangement of colour in which variations encompass a part to saturate the whole. W2608Q uses these patterns in a cartographical composition divided into macroscopic regions where details get lost. In Think, Ilana multiplies printing and overprinting to supress form in favour of chromatic variations and a rippling linearity that foreshadows the artist’s video work.

In a similar focus on the static and the deliberate blurring of the final image, her video montages present the viewer’s overstimulated gaze with a mental reconstruction of ordinary natural and urban landscapes. The footage, shot with a wide-angle lens, wraps around itself to create a spherical effect that turns the road into a horizon, adding a third dimension to our traditionally linear reading of single film shots. Each screen increases the narrative possibilities of the whole by showing a distinct set of sequences in desynchronized loops. The superimposed shots, in transparent overlays, stimulate the visual process of memorizing of the artist’s chosen landmarks. The separate treatment of the single soundtrack encourages free association between sound and image, adding an independent and evocative story that reinforces the interpretative abstraction of the overall piece.

In the current global context, widespread mobility and the free circulation of ideas on social media tend to eat away at physical boundaries and reference points necessary to maintain ethical interactions with others and with ourselves.[2] In their own way, the rephrased dialogues between Ilana and her crossings convey the quest for identity of an artist in perpetual motion, who constructs visual and cognitive markers outside of an imposed geopolitical structure, as both self-defining and unique memories. By playing with pacing to diversify the interpretations of a single territory without ever imposing her own, Ilana anchors the idea of a shared space made up of multiple affective, cultural and social entities that everyone can (re)construct following their own life story. The artist’s focus on perpetuating a process of crossing—where each iteration adds a new artistic dimension to the work and reinforces the familiarity of these spaces—can also be read as an invitation to take the time to stop, look, and listen to the territory, so as to better embrace it. In changing one’s outlook on the everyday, in multiplying one’s points of view, memories overlap, become sharper, superimpose or follow one another. Nevertheless, they always help to provide one with the tools to recontextualize ordinary spaces.

 

 

Céline Le Merlus has a degree in art history and museology (École du Louvre, Paris) as well as in management of cultural organizations (HEC-Montréal) and has worked for over ten years curating exhibitions and managing the collection of the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec. Curator, author and cultural manager, she is the cofounder of the Lethbridge Exhibition Centre (Saint-Laurent) and has headed the Stewart Hall Art Gallery (Pointe-Claire) since 2015. She is also actively involved on the boards of trustees of various museums and other organizations committed to the dissemination of visual arts.

 

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References:

[1]  Augé, Marc. Non-places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, New York-London, Verso, 1995 (ed. or. Non-Lieux, Introduction àune anthropologie de Ia surmodernité, Paris, Seuil, 1992)

[2] Kerekes, Anna. La pratique artistique comme souci de soi et des autres : arts du quotidien, de la mémoire et du montage. PhD Thesis in art studies and practices. Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018.

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