For open, empty spaces, nothing beats Canada. Nature is beautiful and we, humans, are like little ants (or beavers) on this huge territory. Even in a urban environment like Ottawa, we don’t have to go far to enjoy a taste of the wild. Hell, some days I feel that most of our neighbours are rabbits and squirrels, and this is in close suburbia!
However, for art and history, Europe is the place to be. In 2017, Canada will mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, but I’m pretty sure most buildings in Nantes are much older than this new-world country. As for art, it’s a part of life in France, even more so in my artsy family.
Like every summer, the Voyage à Nantes project displayed modern art projects all over the city. In both the Lieu Unique and the HAB Galerie, I found the video installations rather cryptic and boring. The incorporation of the space is a key element in the narrative structure and indeed, both locations are great for such projects—the Lieu Unique is a former cookie factory and the HAB Galerie was a warehouse. Yet, I’m not going to pretend I get it… I don’t.
In L’Atelier, I enjoyed Erró’s series. The Icelandic artist (his real name is Guðmundur Guðmundsson) juxtaposed socialist-realist renders of China’s Chairman Mao and famous bastions of Western culture. At first glance, the paintings look like your typical Chinese propaganda posters, until you notice the unusual background–Trafalgar Square in London or the Plaza San Marco in Venise. This kind of political art speaks to me, I found it interesting.
And of course, we went to explore my dad’s atelier, along the Loire River. He is currently working on interpreting the Declaration of Human Rights and preparing a new exhibition. Mark gave his opinion on the paintings, then we put some music on, gave him charcoal and let him draw “mommy and daddy”.