“The city has a very post-industrial nostalgic vibe, a reminiscence of French grandeur, diversity, and political clashes, and this is precisely why I believe the artists from such a special environment come up with a strong message that also translates in the works that you find in FICTIONS.”
– Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte, curator of “FICTIONS”
ADORNO is pleased to present the inaugural initiative by the Collectif des Créateurs Canadiens (CCC), “FICTIONS”, curated by contemporary design specialist, architect, and curator Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte. “FICTIONS” is an immersive virtual experience broadcasting from Montréal between 22 to 30 April 2021 featuring a diverse mix of established and up-and-coming Canadian designers. The collection is an exploration of form, materiality, and function, contextualising what Bellavance-Lecompte refers to below as “the new creative wave” of contemporary collectible design in the Montréal design scene.
Set in a nondescript, post-apocalyptic environment in the heart of Montréal, the virtual exhibition offers visitors a journey through an immersive, surveillance-like setting. Four camera angles – floor view, bird’s eye, detail, overall view – give a glimpse of the collection in situ and are accompanied by a soundscape by composer Philippe Brault. Pieces made of concrete, glass, aluminium, leather, beech wood, stoneware, and recycled industrial waste reflect the enigmatic, yet grounded qualities – the montreality – of the city they have been created in. As described by writer Daniel Canty in his accompanying short essay, “A Line of Light”: “I had the feeling, as I considered the diversity at work here, that the worlds these artefacts suggest in fact existed in Montréal and elsewhere all at once. And that this superposition of states did not necessarily correspond with the points of origin of their wide-ranging borrowings, but rather opened up vistas to a parallel realm, where the worldliness of montreality find their various vanishing points.” Their seeming disparity from one another is exactly what makes them alike and universal; they create a vision of the diversity of the city’s past and present, memories and identities, and desires for the future.
Interview with collection curator Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte
Tell us a bit about how you came to be involved with the Collectif des Créateurs Canadiens (CCC) for the FICTIONS collection.
It happened a few years ago when Samuel Lambert and a few designers from Montréal came to Milan to visit one of the exhibitions I curated during Milan Design Week. They liked the concept, the way I curated the show, my approach to design, and they were interested to venture inside the collectible design world. That’s how we started the conversation, exploring how we could have a major exhibition from Montréal designers showcased in Milan.
My role evolved alongside the project development, I went to Montréal a few times and explored a way to curate this show in a broader way, including not only the founding members of the CCC, but also other artists and architects I found interesting in order to create a multidisciplinary group of creatives from Montréal. It was important for me to select unique visions about design and to show a pulse of what Montréal creativity is at the moment.
What does FICTIONS say about the Montréal contemporary collectible design scene?
FICTIONS is an exhibition that explores Montréal’s new creative wave, making objects [the] protagonists of stories. It is like an urban scene captured through self-produced objects. It was important for me to reconnect with Montréal, my native city that I left 20 years ago. Coming back to rediscover different talents and going around to dig and see what was new in the city was a very rich experience.
My main mission was to identify the best stories of every designer and to think [about] how to bring the result – the object – inside the concept of FICTIONS. All [of the] creatives I selected already [had] an established and excellent practice, most of the work was to think [about] how to bring everyone together and coordinate a selection in order to create a coherent “ensemble” to show an international audience what Montréal has to offer.
Top (L-R): Claste Collection, “Lest We Be Kings”; David Umemoto, “OBJET no.5 / CHANDELIER”, “OBJET no.4 / ENCENSOIR”, & “OBJET no.2″ / CANDÉLÂBRE” // Bottom (L-R): Pascale Girardin, “Totem TF04” & “Totem TF07”; Atelier Zébulon Perron, “Spineless Chair”; & Lambert & Fils, “Paravent”
With regard to your experience as a curator, design specialist, and architect, what are you looking for when selecting pieces for a new collection?
For the FICTIONS exhibition, I worked with a very open approach towards the designers: I did not impose a theme or a specific function to them, I wanted them to create freely and to express who they are. It is only when their various first proposals came up that the work of creating a “cinematic assemblage” of the various works started, studying and finding a strong link, [and] the right interaction between every single object picked. Creating an exhibition is a close work with the designers, it reflects in exchanges, explorations, and it should merge towards a clear concept: every object has to reflect a significance and create a unique environment by completing each other.
In his short essay – “A Line of Light” – accompanying the collection, Daniel Canty references the “local material unconscious” which has influenced the creation of these pieces. In what ways do you think the materiality of Montréal is represented in the work of these makers?
I had a very interesting conversation with Daniel Canty at the beginning of the project when we commissioned him [to write] a creative text about FICTIONS. I exposed him [to] my own vision and “story” of the different works selected and how they related to Montréal from my perspective and then Canty also interviewed all of the creatives individually. He perfectly grasped the vision of FICTIONS and even brought it to another level, contextualising the objects in a very cinematographic environment.
Materiality is a very important aspect of the exhibition and it reflects very much the sensations of the city and how one experiences it everyday. Montréal is a city that has a very special history from a cultural perspective, but also in terms of urban development and architecture. The city has a very post-industrial nostalgic vibe, a reminiscence of French grandeur, diversity, and political clashes, and this is precisely why I believe the artists from such a special environment come up with a strong message that also translates in the works that you find in FICTIONS. They are different stories of life, imagination, and ideals…
How do you envision audiences reacting to and interacting with the unique, virtual presentation of this collection?
This digital format is a new experiment, so it is early for me to express my opinion on the outcome, but I think that the CCC reached out to an interesting team of digital developers in Montréal and they managed to create a virtual environment that further enhanced the FICTIONS concept through the movies and the interactive website designed especially for this experience. It is very much linked to Montréal’s creativity one more time, and this is what I like about this project: it is no longer strictly about the physical works, but the whole project expands to the idea of literature through Canty’s text and also to a digital experience where the vision and concept continues to flow.
This is the new face of Montréal, a multifaceted creative wave that has a strong message and has arrived to a new maturity in a global context. It feels very special to me and I think various audiences will definitely appreciate FICTIONS.
Collectif des Créateurs Canadiens (CCC)
The Collectif des Créateurs Canadiens (CCC) strives to promote the emergence and development of Canadian creatives, at both the national and international level, by supporting their endeavours and creating opportunities for growth.
Founded in 2018, the CCC was born out of a desire from a group of creators to see Canadian design soar to new heights and discover new markets. The organization aims to stimulate connections and foster meaningful collaborations between design professionals. To achieve this, it offers logistical support to creators while they establish representation and expand marketing opportunities abroad.
The CCC also creates opportunities that foster the emergence of new talent by connecting with prominent professionals from around the world. It especially encourages bold and innovative projects which will highlight Canadian savoir faire.
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