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Monday, August 01, 2005

News about the Triennale de Montréal

Howdy!

This comes from the weekend's Le Devoir. According to Bernard Lamarche, The Biennale de Montréal is canceling the rest of the stuff for 2005.

As Le Devoir only wants you to be able to read the following:
Claude Gosselin, directeur et fondateur de l'événement, avait lui-même annoncé au moment de l'inauguration de la Biennale 2004 qu'un second volet serait organisé en septembre 2005. La portion maintenant annulée avait elle-même déjà été reportée faute de fonds.
I'll provide some translations, so that you can read the rest. That sentence above basically states that there was some left over stuff from the 2004 Biennale that was supposed to be happening in September of 2005, but according to Claude Gosselin they ain't gonna be taking place, 'cuz there ain't no more money.

Logiquement, une biennale se déroule aux deux ans... Claude Gosselin désirait reporter d'une année la présentation de deux oeuvres coûteuses : le Fight Club, du Français Didier Faustino, une sorte de micro-place publique, et La Feuille d'érable bleue, de West 8, un groupe de Rotterdam. Cette oeuvre monumentale aurait pris la forme d'un immense amoncellement de bois de chauffage sur le site de la Place des Arts.

Logically a Biennale happens every two years... M. Gosselin wanted to wait a full year before presenting two expensive works: Fight Club by Didier Faustino, a sort of micro public place, and the Blue Maple Leaf by West 8, some folk from Rotterdam. They were going to show a humongous accumulation of heating wood at Place des Arts.

Il a été impossible d'obtenir un commentaire de la direction de la Biennale concernant la disparition de ce programme pourtant subventionné. Il a également été impossible de savoir combien la Biennale avait touché pour organiser la présentation éventuelle des oeuvres.

It was impossible to get a statement from M. Gosselin about this disappearance, which had been funded by the government. It also was impossible to figure out how much the Biennale organizers had already spent on trying to present these two pieces.

Par contre, l'événement comme tel survivra. La nouvelle version de la Biennale de Montréal ne sera cependant pas présentée avant 2007, soit avec une nouvelle année de retard.

On the other hand the Biennale looks like it will survive. However, the next one, won't be happening until 2007, for those of you art mavens who are math challenged, that's one more year in between Biennales.

Le Devoir a également appris que cette cinquième version sera dirigée par Wayne Baerwaldt. Historien de l'art réputé, commissaire renommé, cet infatigable défenseur de l'art canadien a récemment quitté la direction de la célèbre Power Plant de Toronto.

Your trusty arts reporter at Le Devoir, also found some cool news, that the 2007 version is going to be directed by the one and only Wayne Baerwaldt, who recently quit his day job as director of the Power Plant in Toronto, and is also known as a tired-less defender of Canadian Art.

Les organismes subventionnaires maintiennent donc leur confiance en Claude Gosselin et ses collaborateurs. «Nous avons rencontré les organisateurs et les administrateurs de la Biennale de Montréal, dit Béatrice Pepper, porte-parole du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Ils n'étaient pas capables de procéder en 2005 avec les expositions prévues. L'événement manquait de fonds et de temps. Malgré ce problème, nous maintenons notre appui à la Biennale. Mieux : nous souhaitons que cet événement devienne le plus important du genre au Canada.»

The funding organizations continue to have faith in Claude Gosselin and his friends. "We recently met with them," said Béatrice Pepper spokesperson for The wing of the Québec government that throws cash at artists and arts organizations. They weren't capable of going forward in 2005 with what they had planned. They had spent all the money, and woke up one day and realized that there was less than a month to get their act in gear. Despite this we still think that they are a great bunch of guys, and even better we wish that they could finally get their act together to make this Biennale thing vaguely important to the rest of Canada."

La quatrième mouture n'a pas particulièrement impressionné les critiques qui ont parlé de «contenus raréfiés» ou de «grande déception». Cela n'a pas empêché la Biennale du Havre en France d'inviter Claude Gosselin comme commissaire pour sa présentation en 2006. L'exposition internationale portera sur «les relations entre la ville et les arts visuels, l'architecture et le design», thèmes que M. Gosselin a déjà exploités lors de la dernière Biennale à Montréal.

This last Biennale caused a bunch of critics to grind their teeth in such a way that they wrote things like "underdone content" and "big lies." But this didn't stop the folk who run the Biennale in Lyon from hiring M. Gosselin to run their stuff for 2006. That international exhibition will try to show the relationship between visual art, architecture and design, stuff that M. Gosselin tried to do here in Montreal last year.

A couple of points, now that you have my bastard translation in front of you:
1. Why did Bernard Lamarche choose to use the verb "defend" to describe what Wayne Baerwaldt does with Canadian Art, instead of "promote?" I always think that the best defense is a good offense.

2. Are there any lines that should be read between in CALQ's and the City's support of the Biennale? Or more to the point if they refused to support it, would that have meant that we would have ended up with three Biennales, in the same way that when Telefilm and SODEC stopped giving money to Serge Losique and his film festival, we suddenly went from one film festival to three? Or would M. Gosselin just have rolled over and died?

3. If the curator and director of the Montreal Biennale goes to Lyon, does that mean that Montreal art and artists are on the same level as those in Lyon? I sorta would have hoped that the logical next step for M. Gosselin would have been to go to a larger Biennale, don't you?

4. If I have time I will attempt to figure out how much money M. Gosselin got for not presenting what he was supposed to. If you happen to know, of have some time to do the research before I get around to it, please feel free to share your information, thanks.

Over to you.

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