VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

Exhibition view at Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal

Period rooms
Steve bates
L’Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal

2019.06.12 - 07.31

Steve Bates has designed site-specific intervention for the three period rooms at Saint Joseph’s Oratory on Mount Royal. One of these contains Brother André’s office, and the site is also home to the Original Chapel in which he prayed. This new project, which is connected to the artist’s prior research, evokes historical and contemporary experiences of auditory hallucinations related in religious, scientific and literary works as well as music publications. To connote the effect of such hallucinations, Bates has designed sound pieces, played near the period rooms and in the chapel, which contain human-voice frequencies without words. These tones are modulated and arranged to produce a hypnotic, minimalist musical composition.

View the interpretation notebook of the event.

The period room offers a fascinating experience of space and time: it locates visitors in an interior reconstituting a past that seems remote, and frozen for eternity. This dizzying anachronistic effect is accentuated when such rooms are reconfigured from the point of view of the present day, through artists’ interventions. The latter can elicit new narratives, whether historical or fictional, or foster associations with a time that is long gone. In so doing, each intervention creates a temporary opening into the past represented by the period room in question, encouraging visitors to engage in new and unfamiliar experiences there.

Curated by Marie J. Jean, this event presents experimentations by seven contemporary artists—Steve Bates, Thomas Bégin, Pierre Dorion, Frédérick Gravel, Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, Jocelyn Robert, and Claire Savoie—in the period interiors of the Château Dufresne, the Château Ramezay, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, the Sir George-Étienne Cartier residence, and the Guido Molinari Foundation. Concurrently, at VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine, Klaus Scherübel has produced an art intervention that employs the period room format to reconstitute two exhibitions organized in 1947 by the Automatist artists.

This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada. This event was also made possible with financial support under the Agreement on the Cultural Development of Montréal between the City of Montréal and Québec government.

Performance by Steve Bates and Sophie Trudeau 2019.06.14