MONASTIRAKI — LE PETIT MONASTÈRE
What Goes Around Comes Around
Un magasin de brocantes en galerie
Monastiraki is a flea market and art gallery located in Montreal's Mile End. In 1998, Billy Mavreas' father and uncle opened an antique store they named "Monastiraki" in reference to their Greek origins. In Athens, the Monastiraki district owes its name to the public square and the small church that once depended on the nearby monastery; but the neighbourhood is especially famous for its flea market which bears the same name. In the early 2000s, Billy, an illustrator and draftsman, took over the business, joined by Emilie O'Brien, poet and sculptor, in 2009. They decided to keep the title, but somewhat re-examined the orientation of the store by organizing regular cultural and community events. Always filled with objects of all kinds carefully selected, Monastiraki is an ideal place to find a rarity, satisfy one’s curiosity and draw inspiration. If this small monastery still exists today, it is due to the owners ability to render each found object presented, precious.
Galerie B-312 is pleased to host the What Goes Around Comes Around exhibition, a new exploratory project on its agenda. At the invitation of the artist Adrian Norvid, it is the flea market and art store Monastiraki that occupies the space of the gallery in order to present a special project.-The objects exhibited here have lots to say about the personality of the shop owners who have collected them: Billy Mavreas and Emilie O'Brien are artists and curious inexhaustible researchers who have the eye to "unearth" the rare and sometimes forgotten pieces that surround us.- They offer Galerie B-312 an array of their finest finds and treasures. Tables, shelves, windows, parts of painted walls, paintings, silkscreens, fanzines, stacks of comics. Collections of photographs or visual poems by Emilie and Billy, but also trinkets, unusual objects, creations and anonymous assemblages. The exhibition is also an opportunity for the owners to present pieces that do not easily fit into the store.-The plurality of genres, the heterogeneity of media and techniques and the diversity of provenances make this environment a world in itself. Do we manipulate or keep our distance? Are the pieces for sale? Here, the status and the impact of the space for presentation of artworks is challenged and questioned. This concern which was initiated at the beginning of the twentieth century remains topical to date, lies in the notion of displacement. Items found by the owners of Monastiraki are moved into their shop and now in a place where art is exhibited. But is it the place that determines the status of a work of art? What constitutes an artwork? That is the entire point of this project for Galerie B-312. What Goes Around Comes Around questions our attitude and our perception of art according to the place in which it is displayed. In this small monastery that breaks the traditional "white cube" space, the banal and the precious are mixed in an abundance that grant us incredible discoveries and a few surprises!
Summary of text by —CHLOÉ DUCROQ