The Canadian dream in Germany

(Frankfurt) Paintings of endless forests, northern lights, glaciers in the eternal Arctic, dazzling wilderness and snow-capped mountains, they represent the dream of Canada that most Europeans represent in the gallery Magnetic North: Imagining Canada in Painting 1910-1940.


Olivia LeviOlivia Levi
Journalism

For the first time in Germany, these works are currently being compiled by the Group of Seven and displayed in Frankfurt at the Schirn Kunsthalle, one of the city’s most important museums. 87 paintings and five films are presented in this exhibition organized to highlight Canada’s participation as a guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which will be held from October 20-24.

At the start of the exhibition, visitors were impressed by the beauty of the landscape and the bright colors, lakes and rivers reflected in the blue. From the first room, we present the original reality and knowledge with the short film by Caroline Monet crowdIt was produced from the National Film Board (ONF) archive.

The Group of Seven presents dreamy, romantic, vast and uninhabited Canadian landscapes, and nature is where it was created, but its concept of “communal land”, the unspoilt virgin land, is criticized today. It was important to present a new historical and social perspective through the eyes of Aboriginal artists such as Caroline Monet and Lisa Jackson.

Martina Weinhart, Curator and Curator

“I also wanted visitors to be aware from the beginning of the exhibition about indigenous and territorial identity issues. Yes, we are fascinated by the immensity of the landscape, but at the same time, we have become aware of indigenous issues while discovering nature, in all its forms, and the picturesque,” ​​analyzes the curator at Schirn Kunsthalle, curated in partnership with the Canadian National Gallery and Ontario Art Gallery.

Image by Chern Kunsthal, provided by NGC

Two works by Emily Carr: Right, Port Blunden, 1930; On the left, Big crow, 1931

The Group of Seven was founded in 1920 in Toronto. This group of painters made up of Lauren Harris, Franklin Carmichael, Frederick Farley, JEH MacDonald, IY Jackson, Arthur Leismer and Franz Johnston, ventured into the hinterland of northern Ontario, in the Rocky Mountains and in the Arctic. In search of originality. These painters wanted to give a modern view of the Canadian landscape and make it a national identity. Artists Tom Thompson and Emily Carr are also part of the gallery. If they weren’t officially members of the Group of Seven, they were very close to her.

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The Group of Seven brings together painters known for their distinctive Canadian landscape paintings. The exhibition displays paintings made between 1910 and 1940, an important period in nation building and in industrializing the country, ”explains Isabelle Corivo, Director of Exhibitions and Outreach at the Canadian National Gallery.

These works are ambassadors for our country, because there is a real fascination with Europeans for our vast landscapes.

Isabel Corivo, Director of Exhibitions and Communications, Canadian National Gallery

During our visit, we met German visitors, amazed by the beauty of Canada. “The Canadian landscape is wonderful and it feels so comfortable for the soul to travel thanks to this exhibition,” Daniela Cordoy, a citizen of Frankfurt, is happy to finally be back at the museum, because the institutions have been closed since 1is being November. “It really makes you want to go to Canada, we are dreaming of the great outdoors!” Yells a young woman to Tom Thompson’s painting of a colorful autumnal landscape.

Curator Martina and Collapses is especially fond of the paintings of Lauren Harris, who painted huge icebergs as part of a two-month expedition to the Arctic in the summer of 1930. This is one of those paintings. Icebergs, Davis StraitWhich appears on the cover of the exhibition catalog and is one of his works Mont Lefroy Located on the label. It can be seen everywhere in Frankfurt, the poster promoting the exhibition that began on March 11, the day museums reopen in these times of pandemic. The exhibition, which was scheduled to start on February 5, has been extended until the end of August and will then be hosted in the fall in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

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“I really like the Northern Lights of Tom Thompson and JEH MacDonald, they are very romantic,” admits curator Martina and collapses. “Germans love Canada and dream of traveling across the vast country and immersing themselves in nature,” she says, enjoying.

Every year, the country that attends the guest of honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair has the opportunity to introduce the German public to the arts and literature of its country, but also to make people want to visit it. Although many events have been canceled due to the pandemic, with this large exhibition, its mission has been accomplished.

The shape of your identity

Portrait of David Boilly, Press Archives

Caroline Monet

Multidisciplinary artist Caroline Monet presents the video installation in the outer rotunda of the Schirn Kunsthalle Across the Atlantic. The artist of Algonquin origin, through her mother and French, crossed her father’s Atlantic Ocean in a cargo ship, from Europe to Montreal, where she lives. It also displays crowd, A short film produced from the archives of the National Film Board pays tribute to indigenous knowledge.

Q: You crossed the Atlantic in a cargo ship and realized Across the Atlantic, A video installation showing massive images of the Atlantic Ocean, the sky, the ship, and the industrial harbor following each other, with radio frequencies, Morse code and siren sounds.

R. It left the industrial port at IJmuiden, Netherlands. I was the only woman on the boat, the crew was Polish, and the boat was carrying steel. A journey like this is a transformative one. The experience is very emotional and physical. We feel small in the middle of the ocean, there are no landmarks, we just see a horizon. Still the same scene, but the color of the sky changes, just like the color of the water. I wanted to show the states I’ve been through, from serenity to boredom, from anxiety to fear when the wave was 14 meters, there were also moments of nausea, then calm. We pass all of these countries on this crossing, which lasted 22 days.

Photo by Caroline Monnet, submitted by Caroline Monnet

Image from the video Across the Atlantic

s. The project was born from your own story?

R. Yes, we always say that identity is fundamental to the territory, but how is it formed when we come from two separate regions, France for my father and Canada for my mother? The Atlantic Ocean became the meeting point for both sides of my ancestors. I grew up in France, in Brittany, as well as in Quebec, in Ottawa. I wanted to explore the idea of ​​communication between two very different cultures and a lack of communication. My father came to Canada in his late twenties, leaving a country behind; Thinking of all these waves of immigrants who sacrificed their lives to go into the unknown, there is something legendary about that. Then there is the path of colonists who colonized my Algonquin ancestors. The Atlantic Ocean then becomes an even more shocking symbol.

Portrait of Norbert Megulitz, Schiren Kunsthalle Frankfurt

Excerpts from the installation Across the Atlantic By Caroline Monet

s. at crowdShow you all original knowledge.

R. In archiving we see Aboriginal people making canoes and snowshoes, but also building skyscrapers, because indigenous people are the stakeholders in our Canadian community. It is important to break any preconceptions Europeans may have about First Nations in Canada, because they do not correspond to reality. You have to look at what is really happening. The Group of Seven represents Canada as “empty land”, the landscapes are gorgeous, the industrialized and pioneering nation, this image of Canada still stands, but there is a whole reality of a third world country in our backyard. It is important to highlight these issues.

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