QUEBEC CITY – Yesterday, less than four months before the launch of its winter biennial, Manif d’art 9 – The Quebec City Biennial, presented in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), unveiled a portion of its program at a press conference held at the Quebec Government Office in London!
Speaking to guests including Quebec’s General Agent in London John Anthony Coleman, the curator of Manif d’art 9 and director of Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, Jonathan Watkins, announced a dozen artists who will be taking part in the biennial; among them are select English artists and a group of Canadian artists whose works will be shown in three galleries in Birmingham in 2019.
Claude Bélanger, General and Artistic Director of Manif d’art, was alongside Jonathan Watkins to introduce these twelve artists to the English art world. Chosen from among the hundred-odd artists who will take part in the 9th edition of the Quebec City Biennial, they include English artists Oliver Beer, Cornelia Parker, Haroon Mirza and George Shaw, as well as Tomás Saraceno (Argentina), who is currently exhibiting at the Palais de Tokyo, Vija Celmins (Latvia), who has pieces in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Shayne Dark (Saskatchewan), Shuvinai Ashoona(Nunavut), Christiane Baumgartner (Germany), Jim Holyoak (British-Columbia) and Caroline Gagné (Quebec). Ontarioartist Meryl McMaster is also on the program in Quebec City and will subsequently show her work at Ikon Gallery.
Four Canadian artists, including three from Quebec, will display work in two other galleries in Birmingham, Stryx and the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC). Jonathan Watkins discovered these unique artists while he was preparing the biennial, and the wish to introduce them to English audiences was born.
“We are very proud to see the work of artists from here earning international recognition, thanks to the network that Manif d’art creates with its guest curators. The heart of our mission is to promote artists from Quebec andCanada so that their work can be disseminated abroad. I’m very happy with this partnership, which provides a wonderful showcase for our artists,” said Claude Bélanger, General and Artistic Director of Manif d’art.
Manif d’art 9 – The Quebec City Biennial is the must-see contemporary art event in Quebec. From February 16 to April 21, 2019, this unique winter biennial will showcase the talents of artists from here and abroad in several different venues in Quebec City, organized around the theme Small Against the Stars, Large Against the Sky*. On the program: the main exhibit at the MNBAQ featuring about twenty artists, solo exhibits of approximately ten artists in various galleries, and the public art segment that includes approximately ten artwork pieces.
The official unveiling of the program for the 9th edition will take place on December 4, 2018, at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
Jonathan Watkins has been Director of Ikon Gallery since 1999. He has previously worked for a number of years in London, as Curator of the Serpentine Gallery (1995-1997) and Director of Chisenhale Gallery (1990-1995).
He has curated a number of large international exhibitions including the Biennale of Sydney (1998), Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art (Hayward Gallery, London 2001), Quotidiana (Castello di Rivoli, Turin 1999), Tate Triennial (2003), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Sharjah Biennial (2007), Negotiations (Today Art Museum, Beijing 2010) and the Guangzhou Triennial (2012). He was on the curatorial team for Europarte (Venice Biennale, 1997), Milano Europa 2000, (Palazzo di Triennale, Milan 2000), and Riwaq (Palestinian Biennial 2007). He curated the Iraqi Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2013 and Floating World, Bahrain in 2017. In 2019 Watkins curates Small Between the Stars, Large Against the Sky, at the Quebec Biennial.
Jonathan Watkins has written extensively on contemporary art. Essays have focused on the work of Giuseppe Penone, Martin Creed, Semyon Faibisovich, Yang Zhenzhong, Noguchi Rika, Caro Niederer, Beat Streuli and Cornelia Parker. He was the author of the Phaidon monograph on Japanese artist On Kawara.
About Manif d’art
One of Canada’s foremost contemporary art biennials, the Manif d’art – The Quebec City Biennial presents the work of some 100 artists from all disciplines. In addition to exhibitions, the event offers an array of activities based on a central theme, distinct for each edition. Since its inception in the fall of 2000, over 30 cultural organizations have helped to make this international festival an absolute must on the arts scene. Its far-reaching program appeals to specialists and novices alike. Manif d’art 9 – The Quebec City Biennial will be held in the winter of 2019 is done in collaboration with the MNBAQ.
About the MNBAQ
The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a unique museum complex in Quebec City bringing together art, architecture and nature. The museum owns a vast and definitive collection of Quebec art, including more than 38,000 works covering 400 years of history. It includes one of the largest collections of religious art in Quebec, a major collection of Inuit art, and an esteemed collection of contemporary art comprising more than 9,000 works, including sculptures, prints, ceramics, photographs, drawings, videos, installations, digital art, and media art. In 2016, a fourth pavilion, the Pierre Lassonde, was inaugurated to showcase the Museum’s contemporary art collection from the 1960s to today. The striking glass and steel building marrying history and contemporary design is where contemporary art from Quebec – including Inuit art, decorative art and design – is now displayed.
*Story of the Street’ by Leonard Cohen. Copyright © 1993, Leonard Cohen, used by permission of The Wylie Agency (UK) Limited