As its first exhibition of the new year, Prefix is pleased to present the world premiere of The Chrysalides Trilogy by emerging QuÃ©bÃ©cois artist Patrick Bernatchez. Curated by Scott McLeod and Elly Stegeman, this exhibition is presented by Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art in association with SMâ€™s â€“ Stedelijk Museum â€™s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands.
An opening reception with artist in attendance will be held on Thursday, January 29th from 7 to 10 PM at Prefix, located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124, Toronto. The exhibition runs until March 7th, 2009.
A typical office space â€“ tidy, serene and seemingly abandoned â€“ is the setting for the first video in the trilogy: â€œI Feel Cold Todayâ€ (2007). The quiet visual scene is paired with a haunting orchestral soundtrack â€“ the viewerâ€™s first clue that something eerie is approaching. Suddenly snow begins to fall, fluttering down hallways, through doorways and accumulating on the floors and against windows. The score contrasts with the increasing intensity of the events on-screen: strong wind causes the hanging blinds to crash together like wind chimes, office papers blow about and heavy snow drifts through the interior. Slowly the music transforms into an unnatural, grating wall of sound, one that complements the surreal vision of an abandoned office suite filled almost completely with snow.
The second video in the trilogy, â€œChrysalideâ€ (2008), features a man sitting in a car as it slowly fills with water. The driving, electronic soundscape fuels the cameraâ€™s insistent movements, as it circles the car and the seemingly unconcerned occupant, building towards an ominous finale. All of the works in Bernatchezâ€™s trilogy focus on similar ideas, poetic narratives that build with anticipation over impending events and evoke the themes of life, death and transition.
Bernatchez has previously exhibited the first two of the three videos, â€œI Feel Cold Todayâ€ and â€œChrysalide,â€ but the third episode, and thus the trilogy itself, is exhibited here for the first time. The Chryslalides Trilogy is Bernatchezâ€™s first solo exhibition in a public art gallery outside of QuÃ©bec and will continue as an international exhibition with Prefixâ€™s partner, SMâ€™s â€“ Stedelijk Museum â€™s-Hertogenbosch, in the Netherlands.
About the Artist
Patrick Bernatchez is a visual artist working in painting, drawing, installation, sound, video and photography. He has exhibited widely in QuÃ©bec, in both solo and group shows, notably at the MusÃ©e national des beaux-arts du QuÃ©bec, Galerie dâ€™art de Matane, and in the QuÃ©bec Triennial 2008 at the MusÃ©e dâ€™art contemporain de MontrÃ©al. He lives and works in MontrÃ©al, where he is represented by Galerie Donald Browne.
About the Curators
Scott McLeod is a writer, curator and arts administrator. His work focuses on contemporary practices, with a specialization in photography, media and digital art. Since 2000, he has been the director and curator of Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, where he also serves as editor and publisher of Prefix Photo magazine. McLeod is a member of IKT, International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art.
Elly Stegeman is an experienced curator of international exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as an arts writer and critic in a wide range of contexts, such as historical art, society, human relations, philosophy and poetry. She studied at the Universiteit Utrecht. She worked for eighteen years as the curator of contemporary art at De Beyerd Breda, and now works at SMâ€™s â€“ Stedelijk Museum â€˜s-Hertogenbosch. In her various projects, she has worked with artists such as Marian Breedveld, Amar Kanwar and Spencer Runick; she also curated the influential exhibition Contemporary Paintings of the Low Countries, among many others.
Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art is a public art gallery and arts publishing house based in Toronto. A registered charitable organization, Prefix fosters the appreciation and understanding of contemporary photography, media and digital art. Recently, Prefix launched a new division, Prefix Press, and has just released its first book, Milk and Melancholy by Kenneth Hayes.
For their support of The Chrysalides Trilogy, Prefix gratefully acknowledges our Official Catering Sponsor, Ã la Carte Kitchen, and our Official Hotel Sponsor, the Sutton Place Hotel. Lastly, Prefix acknowledges the assistance of the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.