25 November 2010 — 15 January 2011
The Reunion of the Practices (La Réunion des Pratiques) is a solo exhibition of large drawings by the Montreal artist Massimo Guerrera. His diverse practice includes installation, sculpture, photography, drawing and performance, each supporting the other, each an open dialogue on social interaction, each accompanied by Guerrera’s parallel interest in meditation practice, interior experience and solitude.
Although the works for Toronto are new the exhibition is the ‘fourth manifestation’ of this project. The third is currently being presented at the 2010 Liverpool Biennial in the exhibition Tactful Rituals, the second was in Quebec, the first in Seattle. The artist’s two prior solo shows with the gallery, in 2007 and 2004, were specific versions of an ongoing project called Darboral, the word itself a commingling of the French word d’art, the arboreal, and oral. In each Darboral installation Guerrera created warm, enveloping spaces or ‘platforms for engagement’ with others. These disarming environments made of blue housing insulation, carpets and tape were punctuated by living plants - such as avocado, lemon and mango trees and pepper plants that had all been grown from the saved seeds of food served at previous versions of the same project - and by evocative sculptures whose forms were often literal impressions of previous encounters, such as might form in between the wrists and palms of two visitors shaking hands during a rendez-vous in the gallery. Darboral invoked ideas of circulation, energy diffusion, emotional exchange and constant flux. In the new exhibition,The Reunion of the Practices, drawing comes to the fore, an aspect of Guerrera’s practice for which he is especially known. In addition to free-hand drawing, Guerrera makes prints of digitally-manipulated original drawings to serve as foundations for new drawings. He also mines his vast archive of photographs in which the interactions among himself and visitors to his installations are documented, then traces, highlights, overlays and manipulates them into the folds of a new work. Of the new exhibition Guerrera has written “L’installation organique du projet La Réunion des Pratiques est une petite contribution à ce vaste chantier existentiel et créatif qui se poursuit depuis fort longtemps dans l’esprit et le cœur des êtres humain.” Sarah Milroy, writing for the Globe and Mail on Guerrera in 2004, found “there are many echoes reverberating in this show: the blissful, delicately erotic touch of Italian artist Francesco Clemente in the drawings and paintings; the morphology of medical supplies from Matthew Barney; the sense of human form in extremity from Bruce Nauman; the fascination with social servings and sharing from Rirkrit Tiravanija; and the playful social improvisation from Austrian artist Franz West.”
Massimo Guerrera was born in Rome in 1967 and lives in Montréal. He has a degree in Plastic Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal (1992). In 2000 Guerrera was given a large room of the Biennale de Montréal dedicated to his installation Darboral. In 2001 he won the prestigious $25,000 Prix Ozias-Leduc from the Fondation Émile-Nelligan. Since 2002 he has shown at WhiteColumns (New York); the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux and the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver) among other prominent venues. Major works were recently acquired by the Musée National des Beaux-Arts Montréal, the Banque National and the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec. In September 2008 a sprawling installation was included in the show “Caught In The Act: the viewer as performer” at the National Gallery of Canada, curated by Joseé Drouin-Brisebois. A large group of works from that installation was then subsequently acquired for the National’s permanent collection. Guerrera’s work, along with Adad Hannah and seven other Quebec artists, is included in Tactful Rituals at the Liverpool Biennial (until Nov. 28th). He is also included, with Sylvain Bouthillette, Pascal Grandmaison and Valerie Blass, in Chimère/Shimmer which just opened at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (until 3 April, 2011).