October 5, 2013 (sunset to sunrise)
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche is Toronto’s all-night contemporary art event. Exhibition A, “Off To A Flying Start”, is curated by French curator Ami Barak. The exhibition is inspired by the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show in New York, where Marcel Duchamp first introduced his concept of the “Ready-made”. Artists featured in this exhibition include: Boris Achour, Alain Declercq, Melik Ohanian, Franck Scurti, Michel De Broin, Tadashi Kawamata and Pascale Marthine Tayou.
“In 2013, we will celebrate the centenary of Armory Show, the International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, New York and is considered as a breaking point, crucial in the history of modernity. Among the scandalously radical works of art, pride of place goes to Marcel Duchamp’s cubist/futurist style Nude Descending a Staircase. The same year, Duchamp installed a Bicycle Wheel on a chair in his studio and this is considered as well as the starting point of the intrusion of “Ready-mades” (found objects which Duchamp chose and presented as art) in the art world. The idea was to question the very notion of Art and the artistic attitude towards objects. The objects found on the street, chosen by the artist, will take an aura of art object within the frame of the art institution. We now live in a century where objects exist in the museums and the exhibition spaces. If we take the objects back to the street in the context of an event like Nuit Blanche, while allowing the artists to treat and handle them as referenced works of art, we hope to close the loop and reconcile the public with the status of the ubiquity of the object.” Ami Barak
Forever Bicycles, 2013
Ai Weiwei – Beijing, China
World-renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei will mount a new edition of his Forever Bicycles sculpture in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square. 3,144 bicycles will be connected into a three-dimensional structure creating an incredible visual effect. The sheer quantity of bikes and the diverse perceptions of viewing points create a massive labyrinth-like, visually moving space. Yong Jiu, translated as “forever”, is the foremost bicycle brand in China and Ai re-interprets this everyday object to create a complex and abstract sculpture representing the rapidly changing social environment in China and around the globe.
Nathan Phillips Square
100 Queen Street West (At Bay Street)
Film Screening: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry The inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics.
Toronto City Hall Council Chambers: 7pm /9pm /11pm /1am /3am /5am
100 Queen Street West
Garden Tower in Toronto, 2013
Tadashi Kawamata – Hokkaido, Japan
Taking nothing for granted, Tadashi engages us in a process that involves consideration of the kinds of environments we make for ourselves, thereby raising questions of all-too-human need and desire. These inanimate objects contain memories, as if each person who sat on these chairs left a piece of himself with the worn-out fabric of canes, sometimes over generations, religions, and cultures. The work evokes the beautiful and utopian aspects of the myth of the Babel Tower: a humanity speaking with one voice and engaged, with solidarity, in the building of a better future.
Metropolitan United Church – 56 Queen Street East (At Church Street)
Tadashi Kawamata is represented by kamel mennour, Paris.
PLASTIC BAGS, 2013
Pascale Marthine Tayou – Ghent, Belgium
A sculpture made with this most common object, plastic bags is an echo of our daily lives. Available to all, the plastic bag has become a sign of the consumer society, and the mobility symbolic of today’s society, which is a central theme in the artist’s work. This huge sculpture made of nets and bags is a symbol of the contemporary man, entangled in a system of repetitive actions and of narrow spaces, but also searching for moments of sharing and trying to escape to unknown, unexpected horizons. This installation suggests a beautiful and politically correct way to use platic bags: to transform them instead into a work of art.
Bell Trinity Square 483 Bay Street (North of Queen Street West)
Toaster Work Wagon, 2013
Kim Adams – Toronto, Canada
“Toaster Work Wagon” was originally commissioned by the international InSite Biennial (San Diego, 1997). It is a mobile concession vehicle, a street attraction for adults as well as a workshop on wheels (a mutant among other vendors). The wagon features a group of various-sized bicycles that have been modified and made into double-headed pairs. Mounted back-to-back, the audience can test-ride the bikes by negotiating with each other who will take the lead. The vehicle and bicycles function as metaphor for the to-and-fro of human communication and negotiation.
Osgoode Rotunda Laneway 361 University Avenue (Walkway between Osgoode Hall and University Avenue)
The Big Crunch, 2013
Franck Scurti – Paris, France
Scurti’s installation features multiple bicycle wheels, each fitted with clockwork and counter clockwork mechanisms exposed to the wall as mechanical gear. The artist refers here to the work of Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel (1913), in which a bicycle wheel was affixed to a wooden stool. This work can be regarded as the spark of the “Big Bang” that gave birth to modern art and the “ready-made”. In this work, Scurti, returns to this idea of artistic creation as “Big Bang” upside down, offering a visual and humorous contradiction, a mental “Big Crunch”. The object returns to the point of origin, destabilizing the poetic notion of space and time.
1 Trinity Square (Access from Bay Street, south of Dundas Street West)
The rose is without why, 2013
Boris Achour – Paris, France
For Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the artist uses a short poem written by Johannes Scheffler, a theologian and German mystic poet of the 17th century better known under the name of Angelus Silesius. The poem, written with standard fluorescent lights spanning more than 300 feet, has an aspect of the spectacular while expressing a poetic and philosophical dimension and reflects upon the nature of the art and the place of the spectator. Mixing assorted elements stemming from highly diverse cultural and formal fields, Achour’s work establishes an open connective system in evolution based on the affirmation of the shape and the jubilation of the creation.
Nathan Phillips Square 100 Queen Street West (At Bay Street)
Crash Cars, 2013
Alain Declercq – Paris, France
Two driverless cars are set to loop at the same speed. As their trajectory produces a figure-eight loop, the two cars risk brushing against each other, constantly threatening to collide. Through a playful action and a cynical tone, the artist manages to loop – in an absurd, daft manner – one of the most straightforward symbols of wealth and power. The artist scrutinizes the structures of power and the oppression they provoke, such as security schizophrenia, supervision, and media manipulation. Declercq’s role reversal game makes him an evidence hunter as well as a dysfunction provoker, aiming to reverse situations and preventing him from going round in circles.
Nathan Phillips Square 100 Queen Street West (At Bay Street)
Michel de Broin – Montréal, Canada
Tortoise is a pair of assemblage sculptures using standard picnic tables — an immediately recognizable representation of North American leisure culture — as building blocks to construct elaborate structures. Supporting one another, showing their undersides and legs in an almost defensive manner against surrounding threats, the picnic tables of the Tortoise series form towering look-out and fort-like structures, defining and guarding their inner space. In this way, this symbol of leisure is turned inside-out to create sculptures that resist their essential banality.
Campbell House 160 Queen Street West (West of University Avenue)
Michel de Broin is represented by Jessica Bradley.
El Agua de Niebla, 2008
Melik Ohanian – Paris, France et New York USA
El Agua de Niebla is a giant hammock, hand-woven by several families from the Mayapán village in Mexico. Composed of 72,000 metres of thread, the hammock unfolds to 41 metres in length. The scale of the traditional hammock is increased, thus creating a strange collective territory. The curved shape drawn by the sheer weight of the textile reveals an intrinsic force at work, that of gravity, which defines and shapes the piece. El Agua De Niebla draws its name from the nets cast by farmers in the Chilean mountains, used to collect water from clouds for crop irrigation.
Bay Street & Queen Street West
Bruno Billio – Toronto, Canada
Billio’s co-optation of utility in the name of beautification through such objects as chairs, speaks to an ambivalent need for the re-insertion of nostalgia and the personal into the context of commodity culture. Mismatched chairs are gathered from households for re-creation of the moment of a family function. Initiated by the audience, the movement of these objects creates the sounds of a family shuffling their chairs into position at the table. The mirrored floor captures the physical reflections of the audience and the chairs, imbued with personal nostalgia, thus becoming the medium that retains and reflects private experience and memory.
Church of the Holy Trinity 10 Trinity Square (Access from Bay Street)
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Ami Barak is an independent curator and art critic based in Paris. He was the President of the International Association of Contemporary Art Curators – IKT from 2002 to 2005. Former Head of the Visual Art Department at the City Council of Paris (2003-2008), he was the Artistic Director and Coordinator of ‘Nuit Blanche’ (“Sleepless Night” Contemporary Art Festival) in Paris in 2003 and 2004 and initiated the public commissioning program “Art for the Tram”, including projects by Sophie Calle/Frank Gehry, Dan Graham, Peter Kogler, Claude Lévêque, Christian Boltanski, Bertrand Lavier, Angela Bulloch and Didier Fiuza Faustino.
He has curated numerous international exhibitions among which, in the recent years: House Trip, ArtForum Berlin (2007, Berlin); Can Art Do More? (2008, Art Focus Jerusalem), co-curated with Bernard Blistène; Re-construction, Young Artists Biennial 3 (2008, Bucharest); Americans in New York (Matthew Day Jackson, Jill Magid, Mika Rottenberg, Laurel Nakadate, Marc Ganzglass) Galerie Michel Rein, Paris 2008; For Ever Young, (2008, Anne+, Paris); Elixirs of Panacea (2010, Palais Benedictine, Fecamp); The Borrowed Garden (2010, Gardens of Palais Royal, Paris); Romances sans paroles (2010, Kunsthalle, Mulhouse); Communism Never Happened (2011, Curated_By, Charim Galerie, Vienna); Play Time, a selection of works from the Klosterfelde Collection (2011, L.A.C., Sigean); and a series of solo shows held at the JGM Galerie in Paris of Ion Grigorescu (2008), Edi Hila (2009), Peter Kogler (2009), Fred Wilson (2010), Laurie Simmons (2010), Chourouk Hriech (2010), Sui Jianguo (2010), Mohammed El Baz (2011), Yuan Yuan (2011).
His most recent major curatorial project was Art for the World [the Expo] the City of Forking Paths, the Sculpture Project of the Expo Boulevard at the World Expo Shanghai 2010, featuring twenty monumental sculptures of Chinese and international artists. In 2011, he was the co-curator of the Romanian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale. He is currently a Lecturer at the Sorbonne Paris-I University and works as an art adviser.