Thursday, October 20, 2016

Gallery Artist Phil Bergerson in Group Exhibition "Window / Vitrine" at The National Gallery of Canada

Martinsville, Indiana, 2006 © Phil Bergerson /
Courtesy of Stephen Bulger Gallery

"Window / Vitrine" is the first exhibition of the PhotoLab, an experimental gallery space of the Canadian Photographic Institute at the National Gallery of Canada.  This inaugural collaborative exhibition of the PhotoLab was inspired by the work of Josef Sudek (1896-1976) and will be presented from October 26 2016 until April 2017. The photographs by Eugene Atget, Nathan Lyons, Clara Gutsche, Pascal Grandmasion and Phil Bergerson, are drawn exclusively from the holdings of the Canadian Photography Institute at the National Gallery of Canada. 

Windows have fascinated artists for centuries.  But the transparency and reflectivity of glass have made windows a particularly popular theme in photography – as both subject and symbol, from the time of the medium’s invention. Whether as an exploration of still life, portraiture, popular culture or even abstraction, photographers have been attracted to the subject of windows.  With their ability to both reveal and obscure, to challenge ideas about the viewer and the viewed, or to dissolve the boundaries of inside and outside space, windows have been used as a metaphor for the act of looking itself.

Shop windows, or vitrines as they are known in France, became of particular interest to photographers in the mid-19th century.  As a frame or a stage, the storefront window presented objects in isolation from their usual context.  This display of articles became a form entertainment for the passerby, the urban explorer or flâneur. More recently, windows have served as site of visual commentary about the fragmentary, ephemeral and sometimes absurd nature of modern life.

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