A Pool is Water
Raque Ford, Tiziana La Melia, Maryse Larivière,
Athena Papadopoulos & Megan Rooney
Curated by Loreta Lamargese
Division Gallery, Montreal
July 14–September 3, 2016
With a performance by Megan Rooney and a reading by Maryse Larivière on the occasion of the opening
Pools are technological apparatuses that allow us to enjoy a limited fantasy of nature. Unlike the ocean, their sublime progenitor, or their murky relatives, lakes, pools exist for the subjects they contain. They act as mirrors, reflecting and changing according to the bodies that enter into their fold. At the same time, meaning spills out beyond their precincts—they are what Foucault calls heterotopic spaces: complicated surfaces, sites that simultaneously represent and contest another reality.
The title of the exhibition is a short extract of a Joan Didion quote. Plucked from its initial context, it leaves as evidence a semantic distillation of a complex site reduced to its content alone. Like the exhibition it nominally frames, this quote underlines the poetic’s power to remediate, to suggest and then impart new meanings based on the performance of language. At the same time, it implies fluid and equal transmutation between different forms (between pools and water, between poetry and painting) while maintaining the personal and political faculties each form presents.
Writing through the voice of Georgia Brown, a femme-fatal from the first cinematic musical with an all-black cast, Cabin in the Sky, Raque Ford substitutes a unified first-person with a collective voice made up of archetypes, personas, and tropes; A long-form poem is treated as enigmatic drawings, printed words, and a painting in Tiziana La Melia’s work; Maryse Larivière charts the migratory path of her studied hummingbirds, a multi-directional course through love poems and domestic fixtures; Creating a dense and layered language of both sinister and celebratory imagery, Athena Papadopoulos imagines a world populated with wine and pepto-bismol stained fleshy surfaces and amputated legs; Megan Rooney’s storytelling spans spoken and written word, painting, sculpture and drawing, wafting through scenes of repeated but elusive characters, barely composing the memories they perform.