Festina lente 29 jun.— 13 aug. 2016

Participating artists :

Numa Amun
Marielle Blanc
Anthony Burnham
Angela de la Cruz
Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin
Eva Kot’átková
Derek Sullivan

Press Release

Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran is pleased to announce Festina lente, a summer group exhibition curated by Ji-Yoon Han, bringing together works by Numa Amun, Marielle Blanc, Anthony Burnham, Angela de la Cruz, Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Eva Kot’átková, and Derek Sullivan.

Festina lente. Make haste slowly. This classical adage is taken as a beacon to investigate how we look at art and how art triggers our desires, thus moving us, putting us into motion, warping our gaze. In the flow of images that we uninterruptedly take in, what makes us attracted to a particular work and how does it become unique to our eyes? How can one create this dynamic of selection and preference in an exhibition space, this swaying between contemplation and urge, between rapture and voraciousness? How can we share a space of desire that activates a conversation between the works and engages our gaze, all at once capturing it and untying it?

The exhibition displays a fictional collection whose owner is none other than Gradiva, a character invented a hundred years ago by the German writer Wilhelm Jensen in his novella Gradiva, A Pompeiian Fantasy. The story follows the archaeologist Norbert Hanold, who falls under the spell of an antique bas-relief depicting a walking woman; oblivious to the books and science that had fulfilled his life and desires, Norbert calls the figure Gradiva, “the girl splendid in walking,” and throws himself into finding the actual woman who inspired this two-thousand-year-old stone relief. Through his dreams and a journey that leads him to the foot of Mount Vesuvius, in the ruins of Pompeii, he eventually encounters Gradiva, in reality, and not in a dream…

Gradiva has become a mythic figure as a result of multiple interpretations and adaptations, most notably due to psychoanalysis and Surrealism. Staunchly anachronistic, this is a fantastical being who walks through the centuries and through the walls between dream and reality, with “lente festinans” poise. In her wake, one is invited to let one’s way of looking at contemporary art drift in an imaginative way.

Gradiva’s collection took shape in Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran’s repository. A site usually kept from the eyes of the public, the repository has been approached as a latent space likely to generate trouvailles, as the Surrealists liked to call their “findings.” Festina lente presents the results of this excavation and combines them with new works: by colliding the spaces of the gallery and those of fiction, the anamorphosis hence created will let Gradiva’s footprints appear – for those willing to look for them.

This exhibition is the result of a new curatorial competition open to Ph.D. candidates in Art History, organized by Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran and the Department of Art History and Cinematographic Studies at the Université de Montréal.

To read the complete text written by the curator of this exhibition Ji-Yoon Han, click here.