Barbara Steinman
Reconfigurations 26 apr.— 7 jun. 2014

Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran proudly presents its first solo show of major Canadian artist Barbara Steinman. The exhibition, entitled Reconfigurations, presents a series of photographs by the artist which refers to individual and collective memory. Steinman has refocused her archive of former works to question the persistence of memory and its traces. Following a rigorous selection of images developed out of a random process, the artist proposes a new interpretation of the past. Damaged, shredded, even destroyed material from her previous works or digital archives invite a questioning of the importance and future of images. Photographs of smashed compact discs, unwound reels, and tapes are clues to encoded data now rendered inaccessible and silent. This process has allowed the artist to reconsider her artistic practice, to understand how the past is linked to the present. “Glass, light and the dimension of time have been recurring elements in my work since my earliest video and multimedia installations,” Steinman explains.

Steinman’s works are characterized by diverse media and this show includes the presentation of two neon works. One goes back to the opening phrase of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Petit Prince: “J’ai vu une fois une magnifique image” and the other, the emblematic slogan by Muhammad Ali: “Float like a Butterfly”. In this way, Steinman explores the metaphorical aspect of a silent message, where the calligraphy is reminiscent of children’s writing which can hold our memories.

Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran invited the artist to present one of her iconic works of art, SIGNS, in the adjoining exhibition room. This work was commissioned in 1992 for the inauguration of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal downtown and was shown subsequently at The Jewish Museum in New York , in Toronto, and in Vancouver. This installation of forty-three luminous signs covers one wall with the word “SILENCE” which will turn on and off in a random manner creating the effect of waves of light.

Barbara Steinman lives and works in Montréal. She has produced a number of site-specific works, such as L’Imperceptible trajet, 1993, Hôtel-Dieu Chapel, Troyes, France; Let Freedom Ring, 1998, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA and Notion of Conflict, 1995, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands. laureate of the Governor General’s Visual and Media Arts Award (2002), her multidisciplinary works have been shown in numerous exhibitions in Canada and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Seoul Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Power Plant in Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontorio (AGO) in Toronto and as well as the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The artist has also participated in several art fairs such as FIAC (Paris), Paris Photo and Art Brussels. Her work was reviewed by numerous specialized publications such as Canadian Art, Art Forum, Arts magazine, Parachute and several exhibition catalogues have been produced. Her works can be found in important collections such as the Maison européenne de la photographie in Paris; the Metropolitan Museum in Seoul, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Donovan Collection, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the National Bank of Canada Art Collection, BMO Financial group, the Collection Hydro-Québec, the Collection Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Sun Life Financial Inc.