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Diane Morin. Apparitions MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award

April 2, 2015 to September 7, 2015

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, in collaboration with RBC Foundation, its financial partner, is proud to announce the exhibition of the recipient of the first MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award, Diane Morin: Apparitions.

You will have the opportunity to discover the fascinating work of this artist, who explores sometimes rudimentary technology to study kinetic movement and the logic of structures. She stokes technology’s magic charms, diminished by its everyday presence. The fifteen videos, kinetic sculptures, installations and photograms brought together for this solo exhibition convey Morin’s clear intention to impart movement to inert matter. These remarkable works will intrigue viewers and pique their curiosity.

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    Diane Morin, Effondrements, 2007. Image fixe tirée de l'installation vidéo.
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    Diane Morin, Séries blanches, 2006. Détails d'un photogramme. Photo: Diane Morin
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    Diane Morin, Capteurs d'ombres, 2006. Détails de l'installation. Photo Diane Morin
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    Diane Morin, Le grand calculateur I, 2013. Détails de l'installation. Photo Diane Morin

Using a variety of mechanical contraptions, Morin draws on the history of cinema and computers to create an astonishing battery of equipment.
The borrowed forms of technology found there, often taking the form of electromagnetic relays used in the earliest computers, are used to produce unexpected phenomena or uncommon behaviour, even though we now live in an age in which these technologies are in everyday use.

For example, Morin has used gunpowder to illuminate the interior of empty and translucent everyday objects for a series of video recordings brought together under the title Effondrements (2000-13). Her photograms, the Séries noires (2001-3) and Séries blanches (2006-8), are produced by passing light through "automated mechanisms,” as she describes them, which move slowly across photographic paper to create enigmatic drawings. So too her Capteurs d’ombres (2006-12) are light boxes made out of recycled objects and run through with a light that follows their outlines to create fabulous landscapes. These plays of light, part-way between science and magic spell, are presented together here under the title Apparitions, a reference to nineteenth-century entertainments creating supernatural light phenomena, the inspiration for the artist’s first exhibition at the MNBAQ.

Diane Morin’s investment in the production of large-scale and spectacular works, like her way of creating highly exploratory work in other respects, opens up a fascinating imaginary realm. She makes a remarkable contribution to technological art in the way her work brings new life to the fascination we can experience in the face of tried and true technologies. In this sense her trajectory is truly singular within this most effervescent field.

Diane Morin in a Few Words

Diane Morin was born in 1974 in Saint-Joseph-de-Kamouraska and lives and works in Montréal. She studied in Rivière-du-Loup and then at Université Laval. In 2003 she completed a master’s degree in fine arts with a focus on open media at Concordia University in Montréal. Since 1998, she has created installations linking her artistic practice with kinetic art and new media. She works with light, sound, drawing and robotics to create in situ installations in which kinetic, sound and light events occur. Diane Morin uses different procedures and apparatuses to make these events apparent and to preserve traces of them: photograms, video recordings, sound amplification, projected shadows. Her work has been seen in solo and group shows in Montréal, elsewhere in Canada and abroad. In addition, she has carried out artistic residencies under the SUMU artists in residency program at the Arte artists’ association in Turku, Finland (2011), the independent study program at the Konsthögskolan Valand in Göteborg, Sweden (2009-10), and in the Finnish Artists Studio Foundation in Espoo, Finland (2008). In 2012 her work was exhibited in the 6th edition of the Manif d’Art, organized around the topic Machine. At CIRCA in 2013 she developed the automatic projection apparatus Imbrication (machine à réduire le temps), a “shadow theatre” in which she explored space, the object and time. In June 2013, at the CLARK gallery, she presented Le grand calculateur I (apprendre à compter), a kinetic installation based on a system of mechanical pulleys and electric current and illustrating the logic of the binary calculation used in computer technology. She presented the second version of this work at L’Oeil de Poisson in Québec City in November 2013. In 2013, she won the Prix du CALQ – Oeuvre de l’année 2013 for the Montréal region for the work Imbrication (machine à réduire le temps).

The MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award was created in the spring of 2013 to honour the work of an artist working professionally for more than ten years in order to contribute to the advancement of his or her career. Made possible by a contribution from RBC Foundation, this award will be granted every two years. In addition to a solo exhibition at the MNBAQ, the award includes a cash grant of $10,000, a retrospective publication and the acquisition of works by the artist for the MNBAQ collection to a value of $50,000, giving the award a total value of $100,000.