Friday, October 30, 2009

Revolutions Revealed

I didn't get a chance to post beforehand about moderating a discussion on the Automatistes at the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront last Sunday, but it was a great pleasure to chat and ask questions onstage with Ray Ellenwood, Patricia Smart, Luis Jacob, and Joanne Tod.

While you might have missed this event, the exhibition of Automatiste work is still on at the Varley Gallery in Markham until the end of February. It's a fantastic show, dazzlingly displayed, with a huge number of the most significant pieces by the group, showing for the first time together in English Canada. Anyone with interest in the avant-garde, Surrealism, or the origins of abstract expressionism outside of the U.S. should make the trip to see this once in a lifetime show.

And, of course, the beautiful accompanying text, authored by Ray Ellenwood and Roald Nasgaard, The Automatiste Revolution, Montreal, 1941-1960, has just been published by Douglas & McIntyre and is highly recommended. Featuring a vast number of colour reproductions from the show with an introduction by Nasgaard, and a wonderful commentary on the non-plastic Automatistes by Ellenwood, it is an essential document, complementing Ellenwood's study of the group, Egregore (Exile, 1992) and his English translation of Refus Global (recently reprinted).