Gabor Szilasi – The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980, is an exhibition of 43 black and white photographs from the artist’s personal collection, 40 of which have never been published and were printed especially for the occasion. Szilasi has been an iconic figure on the art scene for decades, with his signature monochromatic photographs showcased in numerous exhibitions in museums and art galleries across Canada and abroad.

The works in this show were taken at vernissages and other artistic events held in Montreal between 1960 and 1980, with Szilasi the proverbial fly on the wall. Those were heady days in Montreal, and are captured with gusto, and professional ease. Famous faces, or soon to be, like a young Irene F.Whittome, Rita Letendre, Guido Molinari, or a hirsute Armand Vaillancourt. A glimpse of pensive Leonard Cohen is impossible to miss. This is not only an excellent, restrained showing, it is also lots of fun seeking out famous faces and places.

Michel Campeau’s Life Before Digital is a very different beast. A renowned photographer, Campeau is also a collector of amateur photographs, and in this exhibition, in addition to his own works, focuses mainly of reproductions of other people’s images. The word ’appropriation’ jumps to mind, but this is a common occurrence, albeit somewhat questionable, particularly in this case. A walk down memory lane for the artist, it reflects Campeau’s emotional approach to his metier before the digital era, and is an attempt at a reconciliation with the past, both personal and technological.

There are close to ninety items on display, including historical silver prints as well as reproductions of slides found on eBay, presenting the viewer with a visual kaleidoscope, or perhaps a loosely stitched storyboard.

Visitors will also be able to watch Romain Guedj’s film Michel Campeau: Looking Back at “The Americans” by Robert Frank. It shows Campeau collecting and sorting anonymous slides taken during the 1950s and 1960s, searching for those that strike him as comparable to the photographs published by Robert Frank in his famous book The Americans (1959).

 
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The Art World in Montreal, 1960-1980

Gabor Szilasi
December 5, 2017 - April 29, 2018

The McCord Museum presents The Art World in Montreal, 1960-
1980, an exhibition by renowned photographer Gabor Szilasi

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Life Before Digital

Michel Campeau
February 16 - May 6, 2018
McCord Museum Presents Life Before Digital, an Exhibition by the
Montreal Photographer Michel Campeau

McCord Museum

690 Sherbrooke St W
Montreal, QC
www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/montreal/museum‎(lien externe)

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1 - Gabor Szilasi, Irene F. Whittome and Guido Molinari at the opening of
the Irene F. Whittome exhibition at the Galerie Martal, Montreal, October
1973, Gelatin silver print (2017)

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2- Rudolph Edse, An involuntary autobiography, about 1953
Collection of Michel Campeau.

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3 - Gabor Szilasi & Michel Campeau