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XYZ – François Morelli – Artist Books (1973 – 2023)

Exhibition: January 6 to 28, 2023
Vernissage and Artist-guided gallery tour: January 6 at 6 pm
Art Hive with François Morelli (in-person): January 28, 10:30 am to 1 pm

Curator’s Text and List of Works

The McClure Gallery of the Visual Arts Centre is delighted to present X Y Z – François Morelli – Artists Books (1973 – 2023), a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist François Morelli. This exhibition looks at 50 years of practice through the format of the artist book. Over the course of a year, François Morelli and curator Étienne Tremblay-Tardif searched the drawers and archives of the artist’s studio to unearth a large selection of leaflets and folios, scrolls and bound sheets, sequences of images, words and objects. These books are drawn, printed, stamped, punched, cut out, sewn, stained, dragged on the floor or neatly folded. Organised by decades, this voluminous body of work surveys the movements of the larger context of Morelli’s performances, installations and site-specific pieces; delineating and working out future strategies more than following in the footsteps. By repeating and varying, territories are described and imaginaries circumscribed unto rolls of film, stacks of paper and shoe soles. Leafing through pages, we find ourselves moving in circles crossing grids and checkerboard; from the artist’s native city streets of Montreal to the edges of the world and back to our inner self.

The artist and the curator will give an in-person guided tour of the exhibition on Friday January 6 at 6:30 pm, which will be broadcast on Instagram Live and Facebook Live. The artist will also host an in-person Art Hive* on January 28 in the gallery, which will be based on a five-minute walk. The artist will guide participants in making their own artist book in response to the events, spaces, places and people they encounter.

François Morelli will also host a series of public talks in the gallery every Saturday during the exhibition, from 2 to 4 pm, where he will engage in conversation with invited artists, writers, art historians, and other colleagues from the Montreal artistic community. Please join us for these special events.

*Art hives are free, drop-in art-making workshops open to everyone. No previous art-making experience is required. The Visual Arts Centre is a community art centre that operates The McClure gallery, an arts outreach program and a school of art.

Born in Montreal, François Morelli received a BFA from Concordia University in 1975. Early on his work is interdisciplinary, performative, and relational. He lived in the New York City area from 1981 to 1991 and received an MFA in installation and performance art from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in 1983. He taught in Canada and the USA from 1981 to 2019. Recipient of numerous grants and international residencies, he has exhibited his work since 1977. His gallery affiliations have included the Horodner Romley Gallery (NYC) 1992-1995, La Galerie Christiane Chassay (Montreal) 1991-2004, the Joyce Yahouda Gallery (Montreal) 2006-2015 and Galerie 3 (Quebec City) since 2022. In 1993 he was awarded the prix d’excellence by la Biennale de dessin et d’estampe d’Alma, in 2007 the Prix Louis Comtois from the City of Montreal and in 2021 the Prix Ozias Leduc from La fondation Émile Nelligan. He shares his life with the art and design historian Diane Charbonneau and their son, writer and artist Didier Morelli.

Active since 1977, François Morelli’s practice has been described as interdisciplinary, performative, and relational. Residing in the greater New York City area from 1981 to 1991, he has since been based in Montreal teaching, exhibiting, and performing nationally and internationally.


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