based on an instruction by Dana Michel
conception of the interpretation: Philippe Dumaine + Mylène Bergeron
with: Maude Arès, Sarah C. Poirier, Jacqueline van de Geer, Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Audrey Rochette, Danièle Simon, Bettina Szabo
curator: Hans Ulrich Obrist
delegated curator: Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau
Touring the world since 1993, the do it exhibition, conceived by renowned curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, came to Quebec for the first time in 2016 at Galerie de l'UQAM. As its title implies, do it involves the host institution, visitors and guest artists in realizing the works, which only arrive as sets of instructions. Featuring more than 80 Quebecois and international artists, do it Montréal rethinks the traditional codes of the exhibition in order to offer new experiences to visitors and to reflect on the meaning and function of museums.
At the invitation of Galerie de l’UQAM, projets hybris is in charge of conceptualizing and implementing Balls, a set of original instructions written for the event by Montreal choreographer Dana Michel. To do this, projets hybris teamed up with seven performers: Maude Arès, Sarah C. Poirier, Jacqueline van de Geer, Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Audrey Rochette, Danièle Simon and Bettina Szabo who carry out the performance at various undisclosed times throughout the six weeks of the exhibition.
Dana Michel, Balls, 2015
mkay, the thing: standing at the entrance(s) (inside or outside of the doors) to the building where the gallery lives. just standing right next to the door where people need to enter. you are one or two at a time (at different entrances, or at the same entrance – but only one person per door). mega oversized white hoodie, nothing under the hoodie. white pantyhose, black hanes tighty whities, no pants, white nike air hightop size 13. you are holding a bouquet of 33 coton swabs (jean coutu brand, the kind with the wooden sticks) attached with an elastic band, like, you know, normal coloured elastic bands. the brown beige tan ones. i don’t open the door for people (um, unless they need me to), but i offer a q-tip to everyone that walks through the door as a welcome, without talking to them but keeping a humble and half hippie spiritual-ish eye contact. i’m a bit hunchbacked, my eyes are half-open and empty. while offering the q-tip, i insist on squeezing their fingers a little (just one or two fingers, not the hand) softly and a little dead-fish like, and i close my eyes as i squeeze. all this last a second or something. arrive at the door ssssssssssllllloooowwwwwlllllyyyyyy with a full bouquet. leave the door slllloooowwwwlllllyyyyy when you have given out 3 or 13 or 33 q-tips.
In 1993, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist with artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier imagined an exhibition that could constantly generate new versions of itself. To test the idea, they invited 12 artists to propose artworks based on written instructions that can be openly interpreted every time they are presented. The instructions were then translated into 9 different languages and circulated internationally between 1994 and 1996. Since then, more than 400 artists have taken part in the project in over 30 countries, giving new meaning to the concept of an exhibition in progress. Nowadays, the project circulates in the form of a book, do it: the compendium, an anthology comprising 250 instructions, published in 2012. For each incarnation, the host institution is responsible for making a selection from this anthology and coordinating the interpretations. That flexibility provides not only variations among versions of the same work, but also the emergence of a new set, a new configuration whose uniqueness is directly related to the specific context where do it is (re)deployed.
do it Montréal
artists: Etel Adnan, Kathryn Andrews, Cory Arcangel, Robert Barry, Jérôme Bel, Bernadette Corporation, Louise Bourgeois, Cao Fei, Boris Charmatz, Chu Yun, Claire Fontaine, Critical Art Ensemble, Minerva Cuevas, Jimmie Durham, Cerith Wyn Evans, William Forsythe, Simone Forti, Theaster Gates, Jef Geys, Gilbert & George, Édouard Glissant, Léon Golub, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Joseph Grigely, Nicholas Hlobo, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huygue, Joan Jonas, Ilya Kabakov, Ragnar Kjartansson, Jiří Kolář, Július Koller, Suzanne Lacy, Bertrand Lavier, Sol LeWitt, Erik van Lieshout, Lucy R. Lippard, Jonas Mekas, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bruce Nauman, Albert Oehlen, Pak Sheung-Chuen, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Amalia Pica, Cesare Pietroiusti, Adrian Piper, Raqs Media Collective, Eszter Salamon, Peter Saville, Jim Shaw, Shimabuku, Michael Smith, Nancy Spero, Mario García Torres, Rosemarie Trockel, Hannah Weinberger, Lawrence Weiner, Erwin Wurm, Anonyme, Christophe Barbeau, Martine Delvaux, Chloé Desjardins, Paul-André Fortier, Gallery Girls, Michelle Lacombe, Dana Michel, David Tomas, Larry Tremblay, Louis-Philippe Côté, Danièle Desnoyers, Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf, Adam Kinner, Vincent Lafrance, Christian Lapointe, Rodolphe-Yves Lapointe, Mathieu Lévesque, Thierry Marceau, Alexis O’Hara, Pour ici ou pour s’emporter, projets hybris, Françoise Sullivan, Wants & Needs.
The Montreal edition of do it includes 60 instructions from the book do it: the compendium, in addition to 10 exclusive instructions developed by Quebecois artists, choreographers, authors or playwrights. 14 artists and collectives were also invited to interpret the instructions of other artists. The project was presented in three spaces: at Galerie de l’UQAM, on campus and off campus (in a “take-out” version). For this version of do it, Galerie de l'UQAM has given curator Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau the task of selecting the works (instructions) and inviting artists to rethink the functions and codes of the exhibition in order to investigate their role in the production of knowledge in the arts. She wants to prompt reflection on curation, new approaches to museology and alternative art discourse and spaces. do it Montréal questions museum institutions by re-examining their political and social engagement as well as their embedding in the broader contemporary art system.
do it is a traveling exhibition conceived and curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and organized by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. The exhibition and the accompanying publication were made possible, in part by grants from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, and with the generous support from Project Perpetual and ICI’s International Forum and Board of Trustees. do it Montréal is produced by Galerie de l'UQAM, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.