41st International Symposium of Contemporary Art
July 28th to August 27th 2023
The deadline to submit a project has been extensioned until December 12, 2022.
The next edition of the Symposium International d’Art Contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul will be held from 28 July to 27 August 2023 around the theme Figures: Who is “I”? Who is “We”?
Artists working in different disciplines in the visual arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, digital arts, performance, video, photography, installation, multidisciplinary arts) are invited to present a project and submit their candidacy for the 41st edition of the event.
Following the call for projects, thirteen (13) artists, selected by jury, will be invited to create an artwork inspired by the theme during a one-month creative residency. Twelve (12) of these thirteen artists will work at Baie-Saint-Paul on-site at the Musée d’art contemporain (MACBSP), while the natural environment of the Domaine Forget in Sainte-Irénée will be offered to the thirteenth artist for a second collaboration between these two institutions in the heart of the Charlevoix region.
Each artist working in Baie-Saint-Paul will have at their disposal an individual studio (link: photo), located in the Jacques-Saint-Gelais-Tremblay pavilion near MACBSP. The artist working at the Domaine Forget will have access to a small studio and to the Domaine’s vast natural environment for the creation of an in situ work – permanent or temporary, 2D or 3D – in dialogue with one or more features of the site’s topography (pond, forest, plain or dell, river, path, etc.).
The Symposium is an artistic event founded on the idea that in-person exchanges between artists and visitors is beneficial for both the artists and the public, whose members can acquire a better understanding of creative processes and methods. The selected artists will engage in sustained outreach activity with visitors, while also benefitting from a formidable setting for exchanging ideas with their peers. For more information on the event, see the 2022 edition, its artists and programming.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE THEME
The 41st Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie Saint-Paul invites artists to submit projects which emphasize what constructs us as a person – embodied here by the question “Who is ‘I’?” – or what constructs and defines us as a community and raises the question “Who is ‘We’?” Inspired in part by the title of a book by the sociologist Vincent de Gaulejac (Qui est "Je"?, Seuil, 2009), this edition of the Symposium emphasizes the indiscernible architecture that distinguishes us, and whose elements, roots or countless offshoots are often little understood or concealed. In other words, this theme proposes that we think about our inner foundation and the many facets which make us up, individually and collectively. In this way, the word FIGURES can have a variety of interpretations: it can refer to the human dimension of the body (the face, physiognomy, expression), or it can also have a symbolic, conceptual or abstract meaning (in the sense of allegory, emblem, attribute, representation, personification, etc.).
Every medium is admissible: drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, digital art or a combination of these media.
The question of identity in contemporary societies
Contemporary societies, by virtue of their composition and interactions brought about by an unprecedented opening up to the world, are ceaselessly questioning the bases of the notion of identity, whose contours are constantly being revised and interpreted in light of individual experience and the many interactions in the life of each individual. To this is added an atomized, fragmented and globalized social and cultural context in which evolving social groups and diverse cultures are interwoven. The concept of individual or collective identity, far from being stable, is ambivalent, polymorphous and polysemous. From the private sphere of “I” to that of “We,” a rich portrait emerges in which are juxtaposed at one and the same time the memory of events, individual experience, inter-subjective contacts and the points of reference which make up all cultures. In this sense, every person metaphorically embodies a singular architecture in which the elements which make it up are configured, arranged, organized or assembled.
Representation of the self, the other and the group in the art world
Representation of the self, the other and the group has long been a major theme in artistic creation, whether in the form of the self-portrait or group portraits (family portraits, portraits of the communities to which one belongs, portraits of social classes, etc.). Traditionally made according to codified forms, the portrait genre was transformed in the twentieth century as artists exercised hitherto unseen freedom in the treatment of their subject using often novel expressive forms. Cubist, Expressionist and Surrealist portraits, along with those of Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon, to name just those, redefined the nature and form of this artistic genre as well as our perception and understanding of it. For example, when the American painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967) titled a painting depicting an isolated house by the side of a railway line Self-portrait (1925), he was not describing its resemblance to a model but rather the power of the metaphor, through which he invested the elements of his painting with symbolic meaning. More recently, the Afro-American artist Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977), by using the representational codes of classical portraiture, transformed their use by painting members of the Black community (“We”) in postures and roles previously associated with figures of power.
From an artistic perspective, this edition of the Symposium will thus propose to interrogate the portrait genre and to bring it up to date in a spirit of artistic inquiry, going beyond in an exploratory and imaginative manner the forms and motifs which can embody the concept of individuality – “Who is ‘I’?” – and of community – “Who is ‘We’?” Like the examples mentioned above, the representation of “I” and “We” may be mediatized by diverse objects and take the appearance of natural or urban sites, historical references or a variety of figures in order to convey perceptions, emotions and significant symbolic associations. In the age of the selfie and of an unparalleled awareness of individuality, and in a context in which contact with a variety of communities and other cultures is increasing, how do we draw the portrait of that which makes up our individual and/or collective identity?
Suggestions for approaches to explore (among other possible approaches):
• To make visible through introspection, analysis, documentation (historical, familial, personal) and lived experience . . .
- the meaning of the words “to be,” “individuality” or “identity”: how and out of what is “I” composed?
- what the words “community” and “group” represent: how and out of what is “We” composed?;
- the portrait and self-portrait as metaphors for our inner world;
- how “I” and “We” are organized in political, cultural and social space;
- how “I” and “We” are constructed in the age of the Internet and social media;
- where “I” and “We” are situated in the dialogue with other cultures.
• To document and depict an artistic and historical point of view:
- the aesthetic, social and other bases of the portrait and self-portrait in the art world; the valorization of the individual and of social groups;
- the significant elements of the portrait and the self-portrait: bodies, postures, words, objects, decor and arrangements, symbols, etc.;
- the features of the selfie in the twenty-first century and its socio-cultural bases;
- the portrait and self-portrait as valorization of under-represented groups.
In short, the objective is to explore one path or another by bringing out the abundance and multiplicity of meanings covered by the words “I” and “We.” As is customary, the next Symposium will explore a plurality of viewpoints around these two concepts fundamental to every society.
Anne Beauchemin, Ph.D.
Artistic Director of the 41st Symposium
CONDITIONS FOR PARTICIPATION
The Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul (MACBSP) is designated as the organization that manages the event entitled International Symposium of Contemporary Art of Baie-Saint-Paul. Thirteen artists will be selected on the following basis : Six artists originating from the province of Québec, one of whom is from the Montmorency Charlevoix-Côte-Nord federal district, three Canadian artists, and three international artists. All projects are to be analyzed and selected by the committee.
The MACBSP agrees to:
- pay the amount of $4 500 CAD to cover the costs of the materials and copyright fee for the use of the artwork for promotional purposes (in two (2) separate payments);
- provide lodging;
- pay for round-trip transportation between the residence of the Artist and Baie-Saint-Paul;
- provide studio space on the site of the Symposium.
The ARTIST agrees to:
- be present at the site five (5) days a week, Wednesday to Sunday, from 12 noon to 5PM, for the entire duration of the Symposium;
- create a work on site and to finish it by the conclusion of the Symposium;
- interact and converse with the visitors;
- participate in parallel activities;
- present his or her work at the "Encounters with the artist";
- provide one’s own transportation during the stay in Baie-Saint-Paul and St-Irénée.
The selection comittee will choose the participants based on the quality of the projects and their relevance to the theme of the symposium. Files deemed incomplete will not be retained for consideration.
The MACBSP may acquire for its collection one or several works, upon agreement with the artist, either in monetary terms (up to $1 000 CAN), or through the issuance of a tax credit, or a combination of both.
View of the spaces:
**In respect of indigenous traditions, the MACBSP offers the possibility to the First Nations artists to submit their project for the 2023 Symposium orally. Apart from the general informations secion, the candidates may join an audio document for the sectionns «Equipment recquired», «Artistic approach» and «Visible aspects of the project». The other sections must be filled as indicated.
*** To submit a project, the interested artist must pay the $ 25 registration fee, payable at the very end of the documentation process for submitting the project.