Mois de la Photo is in full swing. For the next month, Montreal is hosting some stellar exhibits and artists. I’ve had the chance to see some of the exhibits and attend some the artist talks and looking forward to the upcoming events. Last week I caught Diane Borsato‘s talk at Concordia University and was swept away, not necessarily by the work itself although I do very much enjoy it, but by Borsato herself, as a person, an artist and the methodology of her work.
My background in performance art is not that elaborate, I sometimes find it difficult to understand the art form and also find it difficult to find performance artists that I like. My reservations aside, Borsato pulled me into her world of curiosity and creativity.
Borsato’s performances are usually intimate, presenting to small groups of people or simply performing without an audience and to prove or document her work she uses photography. The photographic medium is secondary but without it our visual interpretation of the performance might be quite different. These images are not the most compelling but what becomes important is the story or events that come with the photograph. Borsato’s work emits a love for learning and connection between her and the subject but most of all, I believe, she reveals a desire of connecting with various types of people and the relation that grows from the performance.
The image above is her piece titled Italian lessons. Determined to learn Italian, Borsato immerses herself in situations where she has no choice but to speak Italian. To make matters more complicated, Borsato chooses a subject that she is somewhat unfamiliar with. The lessons become not only learning Italian but also learning a new subject in Italian. The image posted here is herself in Italy learning about bee hives and cultivating honey and obviously being taught in Italian. During her talk she explained this performance and the difficulties of learning a new topic but also having to speak and learn the key words to try and converse in Italian. Her description of the process and the unfolding of the event was so interesting and hilarious. Borsato is quite comedic and this aspect comes out often in her work. The image below is from her performance Artifacts in my Mouth, which was performed at a museum, where she literally inserted various objects into her mouth and experiencing artifacts in an entirely sensorial way. The last image posted is her performance titled Terrestrial/ Celestial. The piece was organized where by day, amateur mycologists where to host amateur astronomers to forage the forest for mushrooms and by night the astronomers where to host the mycologists to search the cosmos. I find this incredibly witty and humorous…..
Most of the time artist talks are good and interesting to actually hear the artist talk and describe their work but Borsato’s talk was great. She explained her work but was engaging, she was like a story teller and I seemed to hang on to every word and she was funny. I guess a sort of small performance in itself. I think I would have liked her work regardless but hearing her talk has engaged me that much more to appreciate and understand her work.
Diane Borsato is exhibiting at Articule till October 9th.