American artist Mark Amerika was one of the selected artists for the 2011 Biennale de Montréal. In Spring 2011, BNL-MTL announced the 40 artists from 10 countries who would be participating in the seventh edition of the event, May 1 to 31 in the former École des beaux-arts de Montréal building on the corner of St. Urbain and Sherbrooke Sts. About half the artists work in Quebec and Canada; the rest are from Europe and the U.S.
The biennale’s theme was Elements of Chance, inspired by a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé: All Thought Expresses a Throw of the Dice. “Chance is as important as rationality in guiding our lives,” co-curator Claude Gosselin said in a phone interview. Gosselin, director of the Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal, which organized the event, is sharing curating duties with David Liss, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto.
Daniel Spoerri, an 80-year-old Swiss performance artist and author of An Anecdoted Topography of Chance, staged a fundraising dinner on May 2, at which the 80 guests paying $250 had to chance upon the menu.
Gosselin said that before he died, Guido Molinari made a long painting in which he blocked out the phrases of Mallarmé’s poem in colour. The painting was displayed as was Sophie Calle’s account of the nose job she never got because the surgeon committed suicide the day before the operation. And Mark Amerika created a new-media artwork for the show. Among his accomplishments is what he calls the world’s first feature-length film made with a mobile phone, in which he addresses the future of cinema.
That accounts for four of the 40 artists. To find out more about them, the other 36 artists and the event, go to www.biennalemontreal.org.