The exhibition On Abstraction is closely connected to the chronological and thematic display of works from the Collection on view in the two large galleries next door. This adjacent exhibition, titled A Matter of Abstraction, presents a hundred or so pieces produced between 1940 and 2010 by some sixty artists. Taking a historical perspective, it highlights a body of works—mainly paintings and sculptures— that relate to the quest for and expression of abstraction. This wide-ranging survey, which focuses particularly on Québec works in the Collection, will be on permanent display for the next four years.
The first exhibition under the heading On Abstraction, which is more multidisciplinary and free-flowing, presents a small selection of eight works. It posits that, ultimately, nothing is really what it seems at first glance, and that within paucity and scarceness, we may nonetheless find an abundance of meaning.
The surrounding space itself becomes the site of pure, constructed painting with Christian Kiopini, or a hybrid space containing a deceptively domestic spatial environment with Franz West. The sculptural elements employed—mysterious and organic-looking in the case of Anish Kapoor, improvised and playful, for Franz West, unique, spherical and utterly enigmatic, for Martha Townsend—shift the identity of sculpture to a conceptual framework. The photographic monochromes of Vik Muniz blur the legibility of the printed material by fragmenting and rearranging it, page after page, in a controlled profusion. Kelly Mark simultaneously reveals and conceals, in the incandescent light of images that are seemingly devoid of all content, the innocuous yet disturbing nature of porn films.