Lucidity. Inward views
In the past ten years, numerous artists have used photography to look complex geopolitical situations and painful human realities square in the face. It nevertheless seems more urgent than ever that, as a society, we examine the causes and forces at the root of these external miseries in the hope of attaining a measure of inner clarity, of “transparency of mind,” which is the psychological meaning given to the term lucidity in modern times.
Thus, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 2011 features artists who, in a certain way, turn their cameras towards themselves and conceive of photography as an introspective process, an opportunity for meditation, a mode of consciousness, even a means of revealing the unconscious. In doing so, they draw our attention to forces that we find it difficult to recognize but that nevertheless govern our actions – the illusion of identity, fear, death, anger, not knowing – and provide us with opportunities to reflect on acceptance, compassion, creativity, and the freedom to act.
If it is important to turn to artists and photographers to sustain us in this task, it is because they are by profession what Milan Kundera calls “explorer[s] of existence.” Their art is a “realm where moral judgment is suspended,” a realm where “knowledge is the . . . only morality,” and all the dimly lit zones must be observed assiduously, appreciated, embraced; for lucidity also signifies seeing clearly in the darkness.
Independent researcher and curator Anne-Marie Ninacs is currently pursuing a doctorate in art history at the Université de Montréal. Her work focuses on the links between human consciousness and the visual arts. She has signed several exhibitions, namely acted as curator of contemporary art (2002-2006) at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, where she presented her most recent exhibition project Chimère/Shimmer in the fall of 2010. In 2005, she was awarded the UQAM Prix Reconnaissance for her commitment to the Québec arts scene.