The pandemic has completely changed our relationship to time: past, present and future are infiltrating each other through successive confinements and deconfinements, creating a gap in space-time. On the one hand, the uncertainty created by the application of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants makes it difficult, if not impossible, to plan future projects (including this very exhibition); on the other hand, a profound questioning of taken-for-granted truths takes place on a global scale. In the face of this near-total destruction of life as we knew it before 2020, it has been crucial to use creativity, inventiveness and resourcefulness to reinvent our daily lives, whether it be in the way we work, connect with others or provide for ourselves.
The exhibition “Past and Future: sculpture in the time of COVID-19” bears witness to this temporality in flux. Indeed, the artists presented in this exhibition have also used these qualities to recontextualize objects or techniques from the past, thus ensuring their continuity in time. In doing so, they enter into a dialogue with the exhibition space itself, La Station. Initially a symbol of modernity when it was built in the 1960s, the heritage status conferred on it in 2009 reflects a desire to preserve a building that has acquired historical value. Thus, future and past coexist in the same structure and remind us that the future is not a destination that is reached, but a generative process in continuity. Its change of vocation, from a gas station to a place of exchange and intergenerational connections, would not have been possible if we had stopped at what was already present; we had to see the bigger picture and imagine the continuation of history differently.
The current situation asks us to do the same: to see beyond what is present, to re-imagine what is to come and thus re-generate a new narrative, a new reality. The works presented here offer avenues for reflection on the way we view our past and our future.
India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner is a first-year Concordia student in the Art History and Studio Arts Major, with a Minor is Sustainability. Earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art History and Studio Art program will allow her to pursue her career goals of becoming an art curator, art journalist, and professional artist. As an expansion of her practice, India-Lynn plans on pursuing the Art History graduate program at Concordia University. She primarily works in the mediums of painting and drawing but has done some exploration in sculpture. India-Lynn makes art based on the intersectionality of her identity as a bi-racial Black woman and seeks to raise awareness about systemic issues facing BIPOC communities. Some of her other artistic interests include exploring technology’s effects on her generation, mental health, and finding ways to add conceptual dimensions to abstraction.
India-Lynn has previously been the Head Curator of Vanier College’s Henry Lehmann Gallery, and she most recently has had her writing published in the Undergraduate Student Exhibition Journal (USE) 2021. India-Lynn’s artwork has been featured in the Painting and Drawing Student’s Association (PDSA Concordia) online exhibition “Merging Perimeters” in December 2020, and in InArte’s online Art Education journal’s 11th edition “Interaction” in early 2021. India-Lynn is currently a writer for Bidgala, an online start-up company whose goal is to bridge the gaps between the arts and business milieus.