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Vincent Meessen. Blues Klair
Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University
Above: Vincent Meessen, Ultramarine (still), 2018. Film. Courtesy of the artist.
Above: Vincent Meessen, Ultramarine (still), 2018. Film. Courtesy of the artist.
November 17, 2018–February 23, 2019

Opening: November 17, 3:30–5:30pm
Dialogue: November 17, 4–5pm, Vincent Meessen and Sylvano Santini, professor of literary studies, UQAM
Performance: November 27, 5:30–7:30pm, Harmony Holiday, Exilic Hope/We Don't Disappear

Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University
McConnell Library Building, ground floor
1400, De Maisonneuve Blvd W
Montreal Quebec H3G1M8
Canada

T +1 51484824244750
[email protected]

ellengallery.concordia.ca
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The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery presents Vincent Meessen. Blues Klair curated by Michèle Thériault, the first solo exhibition by Belgian artist Vincent Meessen in Canada and the United States and the North American premiere of the film Ultramarine.

Vincent Meessen is interested in History and in the construction of colonial modernity in the Western imaginary. Through a research process that is both systematic and speculative carried out in archives and on the ground, Meessen seeks to endow the document with a contextual agency. By linking it to people, objects and events whose intersection within a wide variety of media gives rise to new sensible experiences, the exhibition becomes a site for testing History in terms of the present. The resulting trajectories effectively skew received discourses, proposing rich transcultural and political rereadings and rewritings.

Within a structure of layered textiles conceived in collaboration with designer Diane Steverlynck, blue is the chromatic, historical and discursive filter through which a performance by African-American poet Kain unfolds. The famed precursor of hip-hop in the late ’60s delivers his “spoken word” as the Belgian percussionist Lander Gyselinck improvises to the flow of his utterances. Throughout the performance various historical objects—astrolabe, mappa mundi, automaton, textile, fresco, film stock—are juxtaposed to Kain’s performance props. They invoke affective retrospections on exile and belonging, slave routes and colonial trade.

Blues Klair is accompanied through the winter by a series of public programs addressing issues raised by the exhibition. The exhibition opens with a dialogue between Meessen and literary scholar Sylvano Santini. Later this month, Los Angeles-based poet and choreographer Harmony Holiday will present Exilic Hope/We Don’t Disappear a new performance considering themes of absence, minor histories and the black radical tradition.

For more information on the exhibition and our full calendar of activities, visit our website and follow us on social media.

Ultramarine was commissioned by Le Printemps de Septembre (Toulouse) for its 2018 edition. It was produced by Jubilee (Brussels) in collaboration with the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University (Montreal), and The Power Plant (Toronto) with support from VAF (Flanders Audiovisual Fund), Vlaamse Gemeenschap and the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.

Vincent Meessen was born in Baltimore, USA, in 1971, and lives and works in Brussels (Belgium). He represented Belgium at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) with Personne et les autres, a collective exhibition with ten artists from four continents. Solo exhibitions include Ultramarine, Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse (2018); Omar en Mai, Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée national d’art moderne, Paris (2018); Patterns for (Re)cognition in various iterations at BOZAR, Brussels (2017), Kunsthalle Basel (2015), and KIOSK, Ghent, 2013; Sire, je suis de l’ôtre pays, WIELS, Brussels (2016), and Mi ultima vida, An African Grammar After Roland Barthes, MUAC, Mexico City (2013–14). Meessen has also recently participated in the group shows 50 Years after 50 Years of the Bauhaus 1968, Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (2018); and Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future, Taipei Biennale (2016). His films have been shown in museums among which Kiasma (Helsinki), MUMOK (Vienna), Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid), Lincoln Center (New York) and in film festivals including IFFR (Rotterdam), IDFA (Amsterdam), Image Forum Festival (Tokyo), FESPACO (Ouagadougou). Vincent Meessen is founding member of Jubilee, platform for artistic research and production. Blues Klair is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Canada and the United States.

All events held in the Gallery are free. For inquiries and group tours reservations, contact Robin Simpson, Public Programs and Education Coordinator.

November 14, 2018

location

Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University, Montreal