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PROJECTS

Prism Schism

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Prism Schism is a multifaceted world-building art project, consisting of drawings, artifacts, an artist book and an art film with an original soundtrack by Alexander MacSween. A physical container for these items is HANGAR 7826 in Montreal, from March 30 to April 14, 2024 (Facebook event). Other physical containers may follow. Virtual containers include this online presence, and on the HANGAR 7826 website.

 

The objects, images and narratives put forth in the Prism Schism project are highly disputable in their portrayal of historical events, but true in their evocations of human folly and fortitude. They provide glimpses of an early- to mid-20th century world when great numbers of people were convinced by authoritarians that the perception of colour was delusional, and that only the greyscale existed, as a means to discourage adventurous thought and creativity. Those who would not renounce colour were considered as “the other.” The socio-political fall-out from this schism is described in the Prism Schism publication. It can serve as a comparative model through which to evaluate today’s growing wave of intolerance towards diversity and increasing animosity towards people who see the world differently.

The Prism Schism video, with no definitive beginning or end, continuously loops. It expresses the notion of history repeating itself, as is often the case with humans cycling through contracting and expanding awareness and understanding of the world.

 

The anthropological dimension of this project is enriched with largely intact memorabilia alongside artwork, which can be experienced in the video, the publication (available both physically and virtually), and the exhibition (see documentary photos).

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The art project Prism Schism can only be fully experienced through the bilingual artist book Prism Schism: drawings, artifacts and disputable assertions (translated by Roxanne Berthold, creative consultant Nalo Soyini Bruce). This book is conceived as a work of art in and of itself, both as a digital publication (PDF) and as a printed publication. It does not take the form of a numbered edition, in resistance to the notions of rarity, uniqueness and exclusivity that numbering an edition implies. As a digital publication, it is not commodified and can be experienced for free by clicking on the book button above. In its printed form, it is available for purchase for fifteen dollars by contacting the artist, and is meant to be a democratized and affordable art form, in the spirit of MoMA’s definition of an artist’s book:

https://www.moma.org/collection/terms/artists-book

 

Multiple copies have been printed, similar to Ed Ruscha’s first artist book in 1963, the seminal work of art Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Printed on high-speed presses, it challenged the idea that artists' books are necessarily characterized as hand crafted, rarified artworks, often identified with an edition number.

 

The artist book Prism Schism: drawings, artifacts and disputable assertions masquerades as anthropological and sociopolitical analysis and as photographic documentation of historical artifacts, but it is actually part of a world-building project by Montreal artist Frank Mulvey which presents a fictional alternative to a portion of twentieth century history related to authoritarian control. It is also a parody of the exhibition catalogue genre in that it contains reproductions and identifying information of specific artifacts and drawings, but it is not an exhibition catalogue, because its purpose is not to document items in an exhibition with truthful scholarly insight by curators or academics, but rather to misdirect readers with a fictional text that does not directly refer to the reproduced items, leaving readers to make presumptions about the origins of these items and their connections to the text. That said, the book content is not entirely fictional, because the artifacts to which the text refers actually exist, however these artifacts in isolation comprise neither the artistic content nor the artistic experience that the artist book offers. The exhibition associated with the artist book is constructed so as to provide, for a brief period, three dimensional evidence as a supplementary experience to the artist book, but this physical evidence is not necessary for the artist book to exist independently as a work of art.

 Éphémères imaginaires

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Éphémères imaginaires is a multifaceted drawing-based project, with no determined boundary as to how drawing can be manifested through a range of disciplines including sculpture, installation and video. Conceived and co-directed by artists and curators Giuseppe Di Leo and Frank Mulvey, notions of ephemerality are expressed through a series of exhibitions and publications. With varied incarnations of content, contributors, and exhibition locations, the project is mutable, continually evolving, a shifting field of thinkers and creators.

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Voyage

The Voyage drawing serves as a gateway to the exhibition, book and video of the same name. The drawing embodies all permutations of this project through notions of immersion, creativity and traversing the unfamiliar.

Each of my drawings is like a voyage filled with discovery and peril. I feel that I must dive into each piece with a degree of recklessness, because new challenges always lie in wait. I have expressed to my students that creating a work of art is often times like jumping into a river with a fast moving current. Even though you may have thought that you had visualized the full scope of the river (that is, the work of art), being carried far away by its current may force you to abandon your visualization. You have to allow the work of art to carry you away from your initial visualization because of the force of its own internal logic.

 

Initially, I had visualized a very consistent representation of a stylized wave design. However, it became much more interesting to me to portray each wave differently as an expression of the endless possibilities of the imagination. For me, the water in this drawing represents the river of the imagination, for it is varied, dynamic, dangerous, and shimmering with life.  Karsten Kroll, professional performing artist, posed for this drawing. His proficiency with body language and his defined musculature were invaluable to this project. (2011, charcoal on paper, 44” x 73 ½”, 111.8 cm x 186.7 cm, frame included)

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