For over 40 years, Liz Magor has been interrogating the ‘infra-ordinary’, the humble and mundane in everyday life, our society’s compulsion to acquire, accumulate then forget, and our intimate relationship with objects. To discover her work is to enter a silent world inhabited by familiar objects that appear to carry the eloquence of their experience, the patina of wear and the mark of a recent past. “Appear”, because her sculptural research lies precisely at the meeting-point between the real – with obsolete objects from day-to-day life – and the simulated, the illusionism of objects painstakingly elaborated in a mimetic relationship.
Liz Magor’s singular oeuvre subverts the conceptual requirements of minimalism (serial work, use of non-traditional materials and abstract forms, deepening of notions of repetition and variation), through the ordinariness of her subjects, the refinement and sensuality of her work with materials, and the symbolic and emotional charge of the objects chosen.
Her attention to the ravages of time and signs of wear, and the preciosity of the “repairs” made to the objects – at variance with our compulsive appetite for the new and unalterable – also situates her within the tradition of care ethics. Developed in feminist circles, this current of thought anchored in the social and political sphere prioritizes attentiveness to vulnerability and the act of caring over the process of domination and conquest that characterizes Western society.
Occupying 1 200 sqm of the MAMAC and comprising some 40 works produced between 1989 and 2017, this retrospective was an opportunity to get the measure of Magor’s unique proposition and offered a contemporary perspective on the museum’s collections, based on the practice appropriating the real (New realism, Pop, Fluxus).
Born in 1948 in Canada, Liz Magor lives and works in Vancouver. She is regarded as one of the foremost artists on the Canadian and international art scenes.
The exhibition was conceived in close collaboration with Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich and the Kunstverein in Hamburg, and produced in partnership with the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the Contemporary Art Gallery de Vancouver.
Liz Magor is represented by Marcelle Alix gallery, Paris ; Susan Hobbs gallery Toronto ; Catriona Jeffries gallery, Vancouver.
Hélène Guenin, director of MAMAC