Montréal, February 5, 2014 — The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is starting the year off with a bang, with the exhibition Adrian Paci: Lives in Transit a Québec and Canadian first. To introduce the public to the work of this well-known Albanian-born artist who has lived in Milan since 1997, the MAC is presenting a selection of his most important pieces since the late 1990s. Comprising  video works and installations, as well as sculptures and paintings, this solo show will run from February 6 to April 27, 2014. At the same time, the MAC is offering an exploration of collage and the many forms it takes in the hands of contemporary artists, in Collages: Gesture and Fragments. The Collages exhibition overlaps with the Montréal premiere of Christian Marclay’s video piece The Clock, which will open at the Musée this coming February 22.

Adrian Paci. Lives in Transit

This show featuring works produced since the late 1990s provides a sense of the great humanity that characterizes the art of Adrian Paci. Through the tensions he introduces in these pieces between the real and the fictional, tangible and political, conflictual and fabulous he applies a present-day sensibility to overarching themes that have been present throughout time, such as identity, memory, ritual and loss. In creating narratives where much remains unsaid, he invites us to become personally engaged in his work and to fill in the spaces left blank.

Speaking about his work, the artist recently told the newspaper Libération “I think every piece arises out of a desire to build a bridge between what you have already done and a territory you are discovering. An artist’s body of work is a living body that needs to grow, to develop. Mounting an exhibition like this one is thus an opportunity to consider this body in its complexity and try to understand its moods, its needs, its forms and its weaknesses.”

The work that brought Paci widespread public recognition, Home to Go, 2001, is a marble montage of the artist’s naked body carrying a ceramic-tiled roof strapped to his back; this emblematic piece speaks of dislocation, identity and hybridity. In Vajtojca (Mourner, 2002), which depicts a funeral wake, Paci makes himself the subject of an elegy whose powerful, stirring words are sung by a professional mourner. The Encounter, 2011, takes place in Sicily, in front of the church of San Bartolomeo where hundreds of people are lined up to shake the artist’s hand, in a personal encounter between the individual and the collectivity. The Column, 2013, the artist’s latest video, produced specially for the exhibition, documents the fascinating sea voyage of a “factory boat” that left China loaded with a block of marble that would be carved on the voyage by five Chinese craftsmen and would reach its destination… in the form of a column. The video installation titled Last Gestures, 2009, poetically and eloquently evokes a bride-to-be’s final moments with her family. This work was purchased by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2011, with support from the National Bank Private Wealth 1859 Collectors Symposium 2011. In Albanian Stories, 1997, the artist’s first video, Paci captures his three-year-old daughter telling her dolls fairytales the way all little girls do¾but with the difference that hers mix up animals, fictional characters and actual soldiers, bearing poignant and unique testimony to war and exile. In these pieces and the others on view, the intersection of reality and fable creates an in-between space that opens up onto the universal.

Born in 1969 in Shkodër, Albania, Adrian Paci left Eastern Europe with his family after the collapse of the Communist regime. He lives and works in Milan. He represented Albania at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and has taken part in numerous group exhibitions: at MoMA PS1, New York, in 2005; Manifesta 3, Ljubljana, in 2000; Tate Modern, London, in 2008; MAXXI – National Museum of XXICentury Arts, Rome; and the Lyon and Havana biennials, in 2011. He has been featured in solo exhibitions at a number of museums: Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Kunstverein, Hannover; Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv; Bloomberg Space, London; and Kunsthaus, Zurich.

Adrian Paci: Lives in Transit is a co-production of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Jeu de Paume, Paris, and PAC – Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan. It received support from Québec’s Ministère des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur and France’s Ministère des Affaires étrangères (Consulate General of France, Québec City) in connection with the sixty-fourth session of the Commission permanente de la coopération franco-québécoise.


Adrian Paci, Marie Fraser, guest curator, and Marta Gili, Director of the Jeu de Paume.


The exhibition is accompanied by a 184-page publication co-produced by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Jeu de Paume and Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan. The catalogue may be purchased for $39.95 at the Musée Boutique.

Public programs

Gallery talk with artist Adrian Paci and guest curator Marie Fraser on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 4 p.m. In English. In the exhibition galleries.

Collages: Gesture and Fragments

More than any other artistic medium, collage reflects a desire to harvest images from the chaos of the everyday and exploit their poetic and critical potential. Collage artists absorb anything and everything into the visual field of their works, utilizing this juxtaposition and contextualization to address issues of the day.

The exhibition Collages: Gesture and Fragments brings together the work of eight artists who employ techniques of collage that come out of distinct traditions and serve very different ends. In the large-scale canvas Chutes, 2007, by Montréal painter David Elliott, bits and pieces of found imagery are depicted in disjunctive scales, producing an impressive Surrealist image. Luanne Martineau’s large paper work The Lack of It the Dream, 2013, is a whirlwind of recognizable patterns (crystals and gems, fake fingernails, fragmented body forms, statuary, headdresses) that combine to create a highly complex, vibrant visual field. Louis-Philippe Côté has been making collages since he was a teenager, and the thirty works on paper that form Data, 1996-2013, clearly evoke the tradition of Dadaist photomontage. Drawn from newspapers and magazines, the illustrations he selects echo the bombardment of images we are subjected to every day, particularly the prevalence of representations of the female body. Hajra Waheed’s Character 1: In the Rough, A Short Film, 2014, is an eloquent narrative of one man’s journey of discovery, in the form of a collage of 300 negative glass slides of postcards from the 1930s and 1940s. Paul Butler offers decidedly more abstract collages in which all the textual content of ads in Artforum magazine has been deleted; they may be read as a commentary on the wealth of non-textual information conveyed in the extensive pages given over to commercial interests. In addition, his Collage Party Pavilion (v2), 2011, installed in La Rotonde, provides visitors with a forum for creating their own collages. Thomas Corriveau’s 16-mm film Kidnappé, 1984-1988, which includes stop-motion animations of collages made from cutouts from magazines, as well as montages of staged photographs and drawings, constitutes a succinct summary of the multiple ways collage techniques may be used. Finally, Trevor Mahovsky and Rhonda Wheppler’s sculpture Prop, 2007, demonstrates the surprisingly elastic nature of what may be termed a collage.


The exhibition Collages: Gesture and Fragments was organized by Lesley Johnstone, curator at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Public programs

Gallery talks with Lesley Johnstone, curator of Collages: Gesture and Fragments, along with artists from the exhibition, on Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. and Friday, March 7 at 6 p.m. In French and English. In the exhibition galleries.


The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. The museum gratefully acknowledges their support and that of Collection Loto-Québec, the MAC’s principal partner. The MAC also thanks its media partner, La Presse+.

Source and Information

Anne Dongois
T. 514 826-2050
[email protected]