Conversations with my family
Conversations avec ma famille
Rachel Echenberg is a Montreal-based artist working in performance, photography and video since 1992. She holds a Bachelor degree from NSCAD University in Halifax and a Master degree from Darlington College of Arts in Great Britain. Her work has been presented across Canada as well as internationally, including in Germany, Britain, Belgium, Chile, the United States, France, Finland, Lebanon and Morocco. Her video works is represented by Vidéographe, in Montreal and Vtape in Toronto. She has been on the board of directors of VIVA! Art action from 2011 to 2020. She is now a professor and chairperson of the Fine Arts Department at Dawson College.
Galerie B-312 is pleased to present Conversations With My Family by artist Rachel Echenberg. By bringing together both the performative and the symbolic, this photographic and video project allows us to enter into the intimate relationships through the members of one family. In what ways, by what means and by what gestures are private filiations inscribed within a family? What is the weight and content of these bonds? How can we measure them? Through what images, actions, maneuvers can we account for them?—While these reflections were already at the heart of the project when it began in 2018, it is difficult to ignore the current pandemic context in our reading of Conversations With My Family. A new awareness of the need to be physically close to our loved ones has emerged. Never before have we experienced the management of shared space in this way. It now seems obvious that the social body will never be the same again. Syncopated between conspiracy theories and phobocracy, it has become difficult not to conceive of the encounter with the other as a possible danger, exposing us to our own disappearance. Neighborhood relations are already coloured by these fears, and the risk of isolation is a new reality to be taken into account. Never have screens been so much the bearers of the voices of our loved ones, without managing, however, to replace their presence. To this end, the work Conversation With My Mother (and her mother, and her mother, and her mother, and her mother, and her mother…), the only one produced during confinement, is very telling. The sequences were shot in the same location, but in two stages. It is the spatial arrangement of the screens that brings mother and daughter together. It is the editing that synchronizes the actions, timing them, in a repetition of gestures to be continued, from generation to generation. In this context, spatial considerations are enriched by a new polysemy.—During live performance, the artist and spectator both experience their presence through a precarious relationship. Here, Rachel Echenberg lives it and brings it to life for her family behind closed doors. If the time of a performance induces its share of contingencies and requires a real time presence from the other, video allows a play with these parameters. The poetics of the accidental give way to the poetics of the worked image, refined to a place in which each detail is thought out and constructed. The performative remains the strong driving force behind Rachel Echenberg works, where the action not only invokes the vulnerability of the artist but crosses the entire family body. The physical projection systems, their scale, their presence, with their sound environment, allows the viewer, although not in the situation, to really live a sensory and concrete experience in a gallery, which would be impossible by a simple remote broadcast or on the web. We invite you to enter into conversation with Rachel Echenberg, until October 3, 2020.
Rachel Echenberg express her deepest gratitude to Sebastien Worsnip, Clara Worsnip, Zoe Worsnip and Michelle Green Echenberg for their life-long conversations with her. She specially thanks Catherine Bodmer, Monique Moumblow, the team of Galerie B-312, and for the technical assistance Sami Zenderoudi, Tom Demers and Caroline Savaria.