Last week we headed to Montreal for the opening of international contemporary art biennale MOMENTA. The biennale, formerly known as Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal has taken place every two years since 1989 when it began as a means to celebrate the 150th anniversary of photography as a medium. As avid appreciators of art, we were excited to be in attendance for the opening of the 16th edition.
After rebranding in 2017 to MOMENTA, the plural of the Latin word momentum was chosen as an homage to street photography pioneer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s view that a photograph captured a “decisive moment.” Along with the rebrand, the biennale expanded its scope from just photography to encompass all image-based practices in a multitude of formats and media, inviting artists from around the world to participate.
Curated by María Wills Londoño in collaboration with Audrey Genois and Maude Johnson, under the theme The Life of Things, which explores the nature of objects, and our infinitely complex relationship to those objects conveyed through the use of images. The biennale features 39 artists from over 20 countries with 13 exhibitions taking place inside 12 different venues and 1 public space. We do recommend making the effort to see the whole thing as each exhibition is uniquely distinct from the other while helping to give overall context. Plus, it’s super fun.
One of the most fun exhibitions of the biennale has the viewer travel through the trendy neighborhood of Mile End in search of pieces by Japanese artist Izumi Miyazaki. Featuring 15 images spread across the area and posted outside in the public space. You’re encouraged to use the hashtag #trouvezizumi to engage in the larger public discussion surrounding the art. There lies the irony, we are asked to use a photosharing app to share our images of the image for others to interpret the meaning of the image. It is so meta you will probably have to stop at a local coffee shop to sip a latte while comprehending the deeper meaning of life, and the life of things.
The 2019 MOMENTA Biennale de l’image in Montreal is on view from September 5th to October 13th and is free to the public. When it comes to art, we have traveled far and wide and are firm believers that it is always worth the journey.