Canadian Art

Jon Pylypchuk: Shine On

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal Oct 1 2010 to Jan 4 2011
Jon Pylypchuk <i>The War</i> 2009 Courtesy the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery New York  Jon Pylypchuk The War 2009 Courtesy the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery New York

Jon Pylypchuk <i>The War</i> 2009 Courtesy the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery New York

On the heels of its Marcel Dzama survey, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal focuses on another Royal Art Lodge alumnus, Jon Pylypchuk, with an exhibition of recent works. As this grouping of paintings, sculptures, installations and videos intends to show, Pylypchuk’s raw-yet-refined aesthetic shines brightly in its own right. Whether offering a Plasticine fantasy writ large, as in the 2008 bronze untitled (elephant fight), or rendering widespread social crisis as ragtag microcosm, seen in the rambling 2006 found-object and stuffed-sculpture installation press a weight through life and i will watch this crush you, Pylypchuk has a knack for marrying innocent, childlike play and weary, adult-world despair. Klaus Kertess has concisely described this characteristic mix as a “conflation of Disney and late Goya—a teddy bear’s nightmare.” And yet there’s hope to be found here too, most directly in Pylypchuk’s grouping of small, white-enamelled clay birds. These clumsy, friendly figures might seem like mutants to some (and given the state of our natural world, well could be), but they also peer out from their perch with a bit of the curiosity and humour that their own maker no doubt evinces. Rounded out by the large 2009 installation The War, which posits menacing louts as a wall of absurd lamps, and by a few wittily titled smaller works, Pylypchuk’s show speaks to the probability of brutal apocalypse—but also acknowledges the existence of a sweet, foible-prone humanity that could stand as its unexpected cure. (185 Ste-Catherine O, Montreal QC)

This article was first published online on October 14, 2010.


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