Title, curatorial approach and advisory team of the 2016 edition of La Biennale de Montréal
5 January 2016

La Biennale de Montréal is pleased to announce the title of BNLMTL 2016, Le Grand Balcon [The Grand Balcony], and to introduce the three members of curator Philippe Pirotte’s advisory team, Corey McCorkle, Aseman Sabet and Kitty Scott.

Le Grand Balcon is drawn from Jean Genet’s play Le Balcon [The Balcony], where the political conflict between revolution and counter-revolution echoes the philosophical opposition of reality and illusion.

BNLMTL 2016 reflects the French dramatist’s concern with meta-theatricality and role-playing. Le Grand Balcon also relies on the liberating potential of artistic experiences—their insistent resistance to the status quo. As such, Le Grand Balcon opens up a mental space where we can revisit some of our assumptions about the contemporary world. The exhibition invites us to reconsider how fiction, art and aesthetics, with their unique ability to resist the violence of quantification and categorisation, might be called on, anew, to play a decisive role in everyday life and political decisions.

Le Grand Balcon configures an unruly and recalcitrant space that calls for a materialist and sensualist approach. Amongst other things, it invites us to rethink both the (im)possibility and the urgency of hedonism. What is the status of the pursuit of sensual pleasures today? Can we reframe hedonistic thought as a tragic philosophy, far from the easy pleasures of consumption? Can we develop a hedonistic politics, that is, an ethical hedonism, a joyous utilitarianism and an aesthetics of sensual materialism that mobilise the brain’s and the body’s capacities to their fullest?

Le Grand Balcon will be on view from 19 October 2016 through 15 January 2017, featuring new and/or recent works by about 50 local, national and international artists at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, La Biennale de Montréal’s main venue, and across a number of downtown spaces. This multisite exhibition operates in parallel to a dynamic programme of talks, performances, screenings and publications.

About BNLMTL 2016 curatorial advisors

Corey McCorkle is an artist living and working in New York.

Aseman Sabet is an independent curator, arts writer and doctoral candidate in Art History at the Université de Montréal.

Kitty Scott is the Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, and co-curator of the 2018 Liverpool Biennial.

BNLMTL 2016 is presented by La Biennale de Montréal and co-produced with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Photo: Jean Malek