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Emanuel Licha – Paris, France

January 20 – February 25, 2012

Curated by Marie-Hélène Leblanc– Gatineau, Québec

STRIKING A POSE features two provocative video installation works by the Paris-based artist Emanuel Licha.  The ambitious exhibition curated by Marie-Hélène Leblanc, is also being staged at Latitude 53 and Musée Régional De Rimouski in Rimouski Quebec, with whom PAVED Arts is collaborating on a large publication project (to be released later in 2012). STRIKING A POSE will feature two video installations not seen before in Western Canada: R FOR REAL and MIRAGES

MIRAGES focuses on a mock Iragi village in the middle of the Mojave desert in California. Conceived and used by the US Army for the training of the troops before being deployed in Iraq, this village was built and is operated by Hollywood professionals.  The extras playing the roles of the inhabitants are hired among members of the Iraqi diaspora in the US.  The 2-channel video MIRAGES shows images of the camp and interviews of those who work behind the scenes: the set designer, the make up artist, the pyrotechnic artist, as well as actors and extras, all evoking their perception of the reality their perception of the reality they’re helping to create.  The role played by “war journalists” is also brought up in sequences showing the apparatus helping them to produce the right images.

R FOR REAL also blurs the lines between this fiction and reality. Police officers at the CNEFG play themselves (except for those who, during the performance, play the rioters) and the entire exercise is controlled, unlike a real riot that can get out of hand at any moment.  R FOR REAL is a video triptych presented as three consecutive projections viewed by the beholder one after another.  The first sequence shows the site, based on slow shots of details of the buildings. Nothing indicates that this is just a set.  In the second sequence, we see the same location but this time there is a great agitation–an urban riot is underway, and a nervous camerawork shows the clashes between the police and rioters.  Everything seems very real.  Then the third sequence reveals the whole arrangement: starting with mock rioters waiting to go into action, the camera zooms out to reveal the surrounding countryside and the limits of the urban stage set

EMANUEL LICHA lives and works in Paris and Montreal.  After earning a Master’s degree in urban geography, he pursued his education in visual arts at Concordia University in Montreal, followed by a post graduate diploma at the Ecole nationale des beauxarts de Lyon, France, in 2001.  Recent solo shows include: Why Photogenic?, SBC Gallery, Montreal; War Tourist, LOOP 09, Barcelona; R for Real, galerie Cortex Athletico, Bordeaux; Une autre fête au même instant brille dans Paris, Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris; Agnes & Bruce, Ex-Teresa Arte Actual, México; Nothing Less, Nothing More, Just Transdormed, Carof, Milan; In & Out, Galerie B-312, Montreal nad YYZ, Toronto.