June 8, 2009 - Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - Christine Davis
June 8, 2009

Christine Davis

Christine Davis
Did I Love a Dream ?
Installation (image/still)
Looped colour film projected onto woven copper screen
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay

Christine Davis
May 22 – September 7, 2009

185, rue Sainte-Catherine O
Montréal QC H2X 3X5


This exhibition brings together spectacular new works by Canadian artist Christine Davis which take as their point of departure two key figures in the imagining of modernity, the poet Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–1898) and the dancer and choreographer Loïe Fuller(1862–1928).

A fascinating figure in the early history of modern dance, Fuller’s pioneering experiments with electricity, lighting and chemical compounds led Mallarmé to describe her work as both “intoxicating art” and an “industrial accomplishment.”

In three multi-media installations and a series of collages, Davis weaves together the interconnected histories of dance, cinema and the sciences, forging links between technological shifts that occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century and at the dawn of the twenty-first. From Did I Love a Dream ?, in which an archival film of one of Fuller’s serpentine dances is projected in reverse onto a suspended copper mesh screen, to the dizzying array of images in Satellite Ballet (for Loïe Fuller), which is presented on iPod Touches, Davis demonstrates a skilful use of the inherent properties of her various projection devices. Multiplying the layers of reference to include such diverse sources as Thomas Edison, Vaslav Nijinsky, Euclid, and high-particle collisions, Davis draws the viewer into fascinating and dynamic perceptual experiences through her highly seductive imagery.

These works were developed at the Future Cinema Lab of York University in Toronto, where Davis inaugurated the Artist Residency Program. A state-of-the-art research facility, the Future Cinema Lab is committed to exploring a wide range of creative and scientific practices in the area of intermedia and moving image projection. A 112 page catalogue, produced by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Future Cinema Lab, includes texts by the exhibition curator Lesley Johnstone and Montreal art historian and filmmaker Olivier Asselin.

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1960, Christine Davis lives and works in Toronto, Ontario. Over the last twenty years she has developed a stunning and intellectually challenging body of multimedia works, the most characteristic of which are her 35mm slide dissolves projected on screens sculpted with an eclectic range of predominantly “feminine” materials – feathers, buttons, butterflies, flowers and, most recently, copper mesh. Davis combines historical and emerging cinematic techniques to address transformative breaks in the history of modernism, a history that is evoked through the affective modalities of her projections and screens.

This summer, in addition to these new works by Davis, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is presenting a survey of the photographer Robert Polidori, considered one of the leading photographers of our time, comprising fifty-nine works from his Versailles, Beirut, Havana, Pripyat and Chernobyl and New Orleans series; a remarkable installation, recently acquired by the Musée, entitled Le Jardin du sommeil, by Spring Hurlbut, and a tribute to Betty Goodwin, the grande dame of Canadian contemporary art , who passed away late last year.

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
185, rue Sainte-Catherine O
Montréal QC H2X 3X5


Future Cinema Lab
York University
4700 Keele St., CFA Suite 303
Toronto, ON


Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
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