May 7, 2015 - May 31, 2015

An cross-continental collaboration between Canadian artist Josée Pedneault (Montreal) and Mexican artist Alejandro Garcia Contreras (Mexico City), THE NEW GODS is a Featured Exhibition of the 2015 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and the first exhibition to feature the collaborative work of Alejandro Garcia Contreras and Josée Pedneault in Canada. 

Featuring an extraordinary series of large-scale photographs, this project examines fantastical rites of spring that have emerged spontaneously within Carrillo Puerto, an isolated village in the mountains of Chiapas in southern Mexico. The exhibition will also include a select grouping of smaller sculptures and paintings as an extension of the photographic subject matter into other media, an experimental approach which is integral to this multidisciplinary collaboration.

Each spring for the past several years, Carrillo Puerto has undertaken a most unusual interpretation of the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross), the religious tradition of reenacting the events leading up to Christ’s death on Good Friday. Elsewhere in Mexico, it is a day of organized procession, penitence, and mourning, but in this small village it has evolved into an irreverent, chaotic, and carnivalesque celebration of the absurd. Drawing on an unholy mix of religious beliefs, local and popular culture, pagan traditions, and personal mythologies, participants don homemade costumes that are highly theatrical and transformative, often verging on pure abstraction. Through the adoption of new voices, gaits, and gestures as well, the chimerical personalities they assume become an alternate pantheon of strange deities and demons, existing in opposition to the highly codified characters and narratives of the traditional Passion play.

THE NEW GODS is a Featured Exhibition of the 2015 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Public opening reception: Thursday, May 7th from 6–8 pm

No. 302, Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON M6J 2W5
See Google map of location

Join us for an opening reception with the artists, who will be traveling from Montreal and Mexico to be with us. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome!

About the Artists

Alejandro Garcia Contreras holds a Bachelor’s degree in visual art from the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Since 2007 he has exhibited in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Peru. Venues in Mexico include the Museum of Modern Art, Centro Nacional de las Artes, and Museo Experimental “El Eco” in Mexico City; Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Oaxaca); and Centro Cultural Jaime Sabines in Tuxtla Gutierrez Chiapas. In 2008 Contreras co-founded the Laboratorio de Artes de Chiapas and in 2009 he joined Neter, an initiative promoting young Mexican artists locally and internationally. In 2013, he completed a residency/workshop program at Les Territoires in Montreal. Contreras has received awards from Artfest International (2006) and the FONCA Jovenes Creadores (2009, 2014).

Josée Pedneault holds an honours MFA in studio art from Concordia University, and since 2005 her photographs and  installations have been shown in exhibitions and festivals in Canada, France, Poland, China, Cambodia and Luxembourg. In 2007 Pedneault received the People’s Choice Award at Le Mois de la photo in Montreal, and her work was included in a group exhibition in the Canadian Pavillion at the 2010 World’s Fair, Shanghai. Pedneault is co-founder and board president of Les Territoires, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities to emerging artists and curators. She also teaches photography at Concordia University.

Critical Distance Centre for Curators (CDCC) was founded in 2013 under our former name, TYPOLOGY. Established as a not-for-profit space devoted to curatorial and artistic experimentation, we devoted our first three years to providing opportunities for curators and artists to mount fully realized exhibitions within a critical framework. In 2016, we relaunched under our new name (CDCC) with a new Board of Directors and a commitment to meet the need, voiced by local and national curators, for a truly vital curatorial community—one that both supports emerging and underrepresented curators, and advances curatorial practice and inquiry. The New Gods took place in CDCC’s exhibition space in 2015 under our former name, TYPOLOGY, and was curated by CDCC’s Founding Director, Shani K Parsons.

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This exhibition is made possible by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA) of the National Council for Culture and the Arts of Mexico.

image: Josée Pedneault and Alejandro Garcia Contreras, from The New Gods series, 2013–2014