April 6–29, 2006
This exhibition brings together four series of works that grew out of my continuing exploration of the places we inhabit. In The American City series sky-scrapers appear as emblematic figures. Mandela-like, they evoke a deeply ingrained landscape lodged in the human psyche as a sliver of heaven floating above the remains of a drab day-to-day reality. Cities on the Move looks at the depletion of amenable public spaces. In these works, figures are running, perhaps in the wake of some Pied Piper on a march to avenge misguided city leaders. One Fit Sizes All, picks up on the standardization of space and on our ability to genetically modify the size, shape and behavior of the human body—to adapt it to fit into the distorted, coop-like, constructions in which people are now expected to reside. Finally, the Bodyworks series attempts to render visible shifts in the meaning of city life. In these works, business card-like grids (enlarged laser reproductions from the back pages of giveaway newspaper weeklies advertising the sex-trade) are overlaid with drawings of armor-like sections of skin that seem to have peeled away from the body's core.
– Melvin Charney
Melvin Charney is best known for a series of large scale installations such as Les Maisons de la rue Sherbrooke, Montréal, 1976; A Chicago Construction, 1982; and for the creation of the Canadian Centre for Architecture sculpture garden in Montréal, 1987-91. Charney represented Canada at the 42nd Venice Biennale in 1986 and at the 7th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2000. His works have been exhibited in many museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; P.S.1, New York; the Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Kunstverein, Stuttgart; the Akademie der Kunst, Berlin; the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Montréal Museum of Fine arts, Montréal; the Art Galley of Ontario, Toronto and the Vancouver Art Gallery. He received the Prix du Québec Paul-Émile Borduas in the visual arts in 1996, and the prestigious Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by the French government in 2006. A native of Montréal, he has lived and worked in New York, Paris, and currently resides in Montreal.