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.
Sarah Demers is a third year Studio Art student at Concordia University. Her work is multidisciplinary and includes mixed media, sculpture, and textile art. She is interested in the role personal and collective narratives have in shaping one’s reality and the act of making as a site of self-understanding and transformation.
After her undergraduate studies, she plans to delve further into this work by getting her master’s degree in Art Therapy, thus combining her love of art-making and psychology, and give people practical tools to face a deeply shifting world. Her writing has been published in Volume XVI of the CUJAH, and one of her drawings as well as her words will be featured in Pica Magazine’s 12th edition in April 2021.