Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Nell Tenhaaf and Christine Davis blend art and science at the CMCP

Ottawa, Canada - January 23, 2004


 Nell Tenhaaf et Christine Davis marient la science à l'art au MCPC 
 A new exhibition and an installation at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (CMCP) give visitors the chance to explore the connections between artistic expression and science. Nell Tenhaaf: Fit/Unfit: A Survey Exhibition and Christine Davis: Tlön are on view from 24 January to 25 April 2004.

Fit/Unfit spans the past 15 years of Tenhaaf's work, which mixes scientific concepts with artistic expression as a means of questioning society's expectations, especially the belief that art is subjective and science is objective. The Toronto-based multimedia artist uses aluminum light boxes, interactive video installations, photography and drawing to engage viewers with her ideas. For Tenhaaf, science, technology and art are all invested with social and cultural values that speak to our deepest hopes and fears.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to present Tenhaaf''s creative and unique works," says Martha Hanna, director of the CMCP. "The exhibition showcases the ideas and rich material practice of this important Canadian multimedia artist.”

“Tenhaaf's survey exhibition reinforces the fact that it is impossible to separate culture and science,” says Linda Jansma, curator of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ont., which organized the exhibition in collaboration with the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, the Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

“Although deeply theoretical, Tenhaaf's work can be approached on various levels, an accessibility of which the artist is particularly appreciative. If one of the roles of the artist is to assist us in viewing life differently, then Tenhaaf's ongoing engagement with science, culture and art is a persuasive example.”

Toronto artist Christine Davis visually recreates the science-fiction world imagined by author Jorge Luis Borges in her installation Tlön, or How I held my hands a vast methodical fragment of an unknown planet's entire history. Borges' short story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius describes how a secret society labours to control every detail of life on the planet of Tlön. It is a cautionary tale against a highly ordered, highly regulated world that destroys other legitimate forms of experience and knowledge.

Davis' stunning slide installation casts stars and interstellar clouds onto a grid of brilliant blue Morpho butterflies. Light and colour shift and change, and the effect is both hypnotic and hallucinatory, a meditation on the appeal — and the illusion — of a tidily ordered universe. Davis' installation is on loan from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography wishes to thank its media sponsors Xpress and Voir for their support of these exhibitions.

Another exhibition, Vincent Sharp: From the Collection, is on display at the terrace level of the CMCP until 18 April 2004.

Admission to the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography is free.

In addition to other events at the CMCP in the coming months, members of the public will have the opportunity to meet Nell Tenhaaf and Christine Davis on Sunday 25 January 2004. Tenhaaf will share her thoughts on art, science and feminism at 1 p.m., while at 2 p.m., Davis will discuss the ideas and inspiration behind Tlön.

A bilingual catalogue accompanying Nell Tenhaaf's exhibition is available at the CMCP Boutique.

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