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·6 min read

MONTREAL, May 19, 2022 /CNW/ - The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) launches Mika Rottenberg this Saturday, May 21, the artist's first solo exhibition in Quebec.  The result of a close collaboration between curator Lesley Johnstone and the artist, the immersive installation brings together several of the artist's best-known works, including three video installations, NoNoseKnows (2015), Cosmic Generator (2017), and Spaghetti Blockchain (2019), which form a central core echoed by unusual sculptural objects gravitating around it. Inspired by the writings of Karl Marx, Mika Rottenberg coined the term   "social surrealism", an interpretation supported by images that seem to escape any narrative logic, and which originate in the principle that reality is even more absurd than its representation. The exhibition will be presented at the MAC from May 21 to October 10, 2022.

MIKA ROTTENBERG - Cosmic Generator (video still), 2017 - Single-channel video installation, sound, colour. 26 min 36 s - Commissioned by Skulptur Projekte Münster - Produced with generous support from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Outset Contemporary Art Fund, London, U.K.; and Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative. Piraeus, Greece (CNW Group/Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal)
MIKA ROTTENBERG - Cosmic Generator (video still), 2017 - Single-channel video installation, sound, colour. 26 min 36 s - Commissioned by Skulptur Projekte Münster - Produced with generous support from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark; Outset Contemporary Art Fund, London, U.K.; and Polyeco Contemporary Art Initiative. Piraeus, Greece (CNW Group/Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal)

Through her video installations, Rottenberg offers an allegory of the increasing capitalization of human life by exhibiting the interactions between the female body and the mechanics of global production. Taking the visitor on voyages to far-flung places and into the bowels of the earth, the videos depict the absurdities of a capitalist system dominated by unbridled global production, distribution, and consumption of goods. A clever combination of seduction, humour, and subversion, the works blur the lines between reality and fiction, with larger-than-life characters inhabiting real and constructed spaces, and economic and geopolitical realities examined through a colourful lens tainted with scepticism.

The MAC forges ahead in its mission to make contemporary art accessible to wider audiences. Following the enactment of a single $10 admission fee at the MAC at Place Ville Marie, along with free admission for youth under 18 and school and community groups, the video works on view for Mika Rottenberg will be available with descriptive captions and video descriptions on the MAC website (

This was made possible thanks to the support of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec and the collaboration of the MCA of Chicago.

Filmed in Zhejiang Province, China, the video installation NoNoseKnows depicts two freshwater pearl production lines where work is performed under deplorable conditions and a woman of impressive stature (actress Bunny Glamazon) plays the role of a Western factory supervisor. The work offers a subversive allegory of labor practices, as dramatically manifested by Glamazon's character who produces a plate of pasta with every sneeze.

Cosmic Generator
In Cosmic Generator, Rottenberg proposes an ironic analogy between the migration issue and the large-scale circulation of goods, showing the illogicality of our society that favors and facilitates the entry of merchandise into countries, but restricts that of human beings. The work connects a system of tunnels between the cities of Mexicali, Mexico; Calexico, California; and a plastic ware market in Yiwu, China, where we find store assistants collapsing under their excess of glittering trinkets, bored to death.

Spaghetti Blockchain
The work begins with a throat singer from the Tuva region in the Siberian prairie. As the film unfolds, the deep sound of her voice in the vast natural landscape is paired with highly technical imagery accompanied by the electronic hum of the Large Hadron Collider (a particle gas pedal), which Rottenberg was able to film during his residency at CERN near Geneva. This is followed by a variety of strange and colorful scenes that evoke the satisfaction of RASM (meridian autonomous sensory response) videos: a hand cutting a jelly and melting it, one vigorously kneading a greenish dough, and another noisily playing with colored beads.

Beginning in fall 2022, the MAC will present Remote, the artist's first feature film co-produced with the MAC. The experimental film, conceived and directed during the pandemic, is a collaboration between Mika Rottenberg and Mahyad Tousi. In 2027, five women confined to their respective countries discover that they are connected through mysterious portals in their homes, triggered by a South Korean television show about dog grooming. Working with activists, designers and programmers, the artist reinvents notions of value, work and community in a post-pandemic near future.

The Mika Rottenberg exhibition was developed in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Toronto, where it was presented in 2020.


"Mika Rottenberg's three video installations will provide a visual experience and are sure to take you on a journey into the artist's post-modern world, yoked with her humor-tinged social surrealism." - John Zeppetelli, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the MAC

"In my works, I have attempted to explore our relationship to materialism through the manipulation of space, while blurring the lines so that fact merges with fiction." - Mika Rottenberg, artist

"Mika Rottenberg's works take us on a journey to remote regions and into the bowels of the Earth. They surprise and amaze us, but they also make us think about the state of the world. We are thrilled to be able to present them to MAC visitors." - Lesley Johnstone, curator of the Mika Rottenberg exhibition

Artist Talk
In conjunction with the exhibition MAC presents a conversation between Mika Rottenberg and artist and storyteller Mahyad Tousi. Moderated by exhibition curator Lesley Johnstone, the event will take place at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on Thursday, May 19 at 6 pm.

Admission is free. Reservations are not required.
Admission to the event will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

About Mika Rottenberg
Mika Rottenberg is a video artist who lives and works in New York City. After studying in Israel, she moved to the United States where she received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and an MFA from Columbia University. In 2018, she was awarded the James Dicke Contemporary Artist Award by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which recognizes an artist under the age of 50 who has produced significant bodies of work and consistently exhibits exceptional creativity. Then in 2019, she is awarded the Kurt Schwitters Award, given to artists who have made significant contributions to the field of contemporary art. Recent solo exhibitions include Easypieces at the New Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and MOCA in Toronto (renamed Spaghetti Blockchain) in 2019-2020, and Mika Rottenberg at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in 2021. She is represented by Hauser & Wirth Gallery.

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives financial support from the Government of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
For more than fifty years, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal has been bringing together local and international artists, their works and diverse audiences, celebrating art as an essential component of life in Montréal and Québec. The museum's headquarters, located in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles, is about to undergo a major architectural overhaul. In the meantime, the MAC has temporarily relocated its activities to Place Ville Marie, an iconic location in Montreal's business district. Beginning December 1, 2021, and throughout the expansion and renovation, the Museum will continue to engage the public with temporary exhibitions highlighting exceptional artists and presenting a variety of practices. In addition to two major exhibitions per year, the MAC at PVM will continue to offer public programs as well as a range of educational services and community outreach activities.

SOURCE Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal


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