Evolution is in vogue. Renowned biennial Le Mois de la Photo à Montreal has renamed itself MOMENTA, a change which signals a refinement of the organisation’s mission as it unveils its 15th theme, What Does the Image Stand For? MOMENTA seeks to be a locus of knowledge for contemporary photography, one that absorbs and disseminates all aspects of its artistry. The moniker, plural for momentum, refers to the temporality of both an image and the gallery itself, both of which are specific to the instances they are conceived and displayed. It conveys not only the moment of experiencing exhibited artworks, but the shared and differing remembrance of such art.
Every edition of the biennial is unique to its time, and 2017’s version is no different. Paris-based art critic Ami Barak has spearheaded its latest iteration in a collection that questions the habitual truth of images which is taken for granted by the human eye. The theme follows postmodern thinking, extending the critique of normative frameworks at all levels of contemporary society to photographic and videographic languages. To accomplish this endeavour, Barak has curated multigenerational talent from a bevy of cultural backgrounds. These artists employ emerging techniques to create new lines of inquiry into the subjectivity of image interpretation.
As Barak notes: “I intend to explore the concept of photographic evidence in all its guises. Although the camera sees better than the eye, it is the artist who, in the final analysis, imposes on the image of the world his or her own point of view, intuition, and even disenchantment. I want to examine the idea of the image as witness to the real, and draw attention to the fantastical and sublimated character of reality.”
More than just a curated gallery, MOMENTA 2017 offers a repertoire of activities, talks, and opportunities to meet featured artists. It comprises three segments: The first corresponds to the central exhibition at its headquarters and focuses on the work of 23 artists, presented at two separate sites: Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine. The second component consists of 14 solo exhibitions surrounding the HQ. And the third is a document exhibition located at Artexte.
What Does the Image Stand For? is at MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, Montreal, until 15 October.
1.Zanele Muholi, Somnyama IV, Oslo, 2015, from the Somnyama Ngonyama series, 2015. © Zanele Muholi.