CONTACT Photography Festival 2015 / Launch Party

Installation view with Mariah Robertson’s photo-sculpture

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Launch Party 
May 1, 2015 / 7 – 10 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art
952 Queen Street West

A party was held at MOCCA launching this year’s Scotiabank’s CONTACT Photography Festival, in conjunction with the opening receptions for Part Picture, and Past Picture: Photography and The Chemistry of Intention, with Demolition Site on view in the MOCCA courtyard.

Jihyun Jung, Demolition Site 14, Outside, 2013. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

As the visitors entered from Queen Street West, they were greeted with a new violent mural on the east side of the court, made by Jihyun Jung.   The harsh spotlights during the warm sunset made the mural, titled Demolition Site, scream. The Korean artist was commissioned to create this work on a 1 to 1 ratio, of a building being ripped apart, deconstructed, and on its way to ashes. A foreshadowing event for MOCCA’s current home, in anticipation for demolition, making space for new condos. Like each year, photography lovers came to celebrate the festival, crowded the courtyard in front of the museum and overpacked the interior. The artistic vision and technical processes expressed by the photographers in Past Picture continue to amuse and influence us even in this digital age with Photoshop.

Installation view of  Past Picture with photographs by Man Ray (in front)

Installation view of  Past Picture with Anna Atkins, Polypodium crenatum, Norway, 1854

Curated by Chris Wiley, the collection of contemporary North American photographers sprawled throughout the museum, while Torontonian musician, Bahamas, stole the crowd with his solo performance. The title Part Picture was chosen to compliment the artists’ experimentation with mediums and variations on photography, often resulting in hybrids of photo-painting and photo-sculpture.

Elad Lassry’s photo-sculptures in Part Picture

Installation view of Part Picture with photographs by Ryan Foerster

 Guests of Part Picture with Barbara Kasten, Studio Construct 8, 2007 (right)

Guests of Part Picture in front of  Hiroshi Sugimoto’s work

Part Picture is also the perfect title for the opening night, as the performance by Bahamas, the mural, and the excited crowd overpowered the art work itself. Most of the pieces were inaccessible during the opening night. The long photo-sculpture by Mariah Robertson hung in the middle of the gallery, in front of the stage. The metallic paper with bursts of colour, its scrolls rolling from the ceiling and continuing on the floor, were tripped over and accidentally stepped on by fans. The stage was set up in front of John Houck’s large grid prints, and the rest of the audience acted as a buffer between the viewers and the art.

Part Picture, work by Jan Groover

Work by Lucas Blalock from Part Picture

The opening was a party, where the aura of change hung heavy in the air. You’ve got to come back to experience this new, expressionistic quality of photography, that is addressing a new turn in defining what photography is in the art world.

Text: Tetyana Herych. Photo: Elena Iourtaeva

*Exhibition information: May 2 – 31, 2015, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, 952 Queen Street West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Tue – Sun 11 – 6 p.m.

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