New acquisition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: 1,000 Platitudes by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

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New acquisition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: 1,000 Platitudes by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (born in 1967), 1,000 Platitudes, 2003, Chromogenic prints mounted on aluminum, video, artist’s proof. Duration: 25 min. MMFA, anonymous gift. © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer / SOCAN (2019).

MONTREAL.- The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts invites visitors to discover 1,000 Platitudes (2003), on display in the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion. This recent acquisition is a work by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, internationally renowned for his interactive technological installations. The result of a major photographic project, the work joins Lozano-Hemmer's installation Last Breath (Último Suspiro), which the Museum acquired in 2013.

Through his digital art, Lozano-Hemmer combines technology with humanist ideas. Since the start of his career, the Mexican-Canadian artist has worked in the tradition of guerrilla art, using public spaces as projection surfaces without obtaining the required approvals. With 1,000 ­Platitudes, the artist was interested in the discourse used to promote the globalization of cities and attract investors.

At night, he toured the streets of Linz, Austria, in a 12-tonne truck equipped with a powerful 110,000-lumen projector capable of casting images up to 70 metres high. With his team, he projected gigantic letters onto churches, banks, apartment blocks, stores and shopping centres, and then captured the letters in photographs.With this alphabet, the artist pieced together words from slogans used to sell the development projects of promoters and real estate investors – hollow and deceptive terms he calls "platitudes." Some of the words include "meaningful," "jolly," "glowing," "sexy," "spectacular"and "magic."

The work is accompanied by a video documenting the artist's nocturnal creative process. As its source images are hard to place, the piece further evokes the effects of globalization, which tends to erase cultural differences and homogenize the images of cities from around the world. An edition of 1,000 Platitudes was presented at the Mexican Pavilion of the 2007 Venice Biennale.

A world-class artist, Lozano-Hemmer has exhibited his work at such institutions as the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the Manchester Art Gallery. He is represented in many collections, from New York's Museum of Modern Art to London's Tate Gallery. He has also won numerous distinctions, including two BAFTA Awards (London) for his interactive art, a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, and the title of Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec.

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