Unfinished Art

September 15, 2009
The Concordian

What Happens When Nothing Happens, currently on display at Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts Gallery, is a different kind of art show. Instead of showcasing finished works of art, it focuses on the creative process, showcasing works in progress, doodles and to-do lists.

Organized by Independent Study Group, it is a gallery like no other.

Although many of the objects, sketchbooks, notebooks and videos on display will probably never become a final project, they are all reminders of the long and winding creative process.

Much of the unfinished art on display only makes sense to the artist who created it, because the pieces are in such infantile stages. Some art was so obscure that artists held a conference to explain their creative process on Sept. 12.

Chantal Durand, a Concordia Masters of Fine Arts graduate, whose unfinished work appears in the show, said she has a weird relationship with her notebook. While her final pieces usually end up very different from her initial ideas, she said scribbles in a notebook are a crucial element. A simple doodle could be “a first step for [the work] to become real,” she added.

When commencing a project, Durand said she always chooses the materials before deciding on anything else. The materials she uses are not commonly used in art. Therefore, she must experiment and invent new ways to use them before coming up with a vision for her project.

Durand believes that we mistreat our bodies and likes to imagine that they are entities separate from ourselves.

“I like to think of the body as a stranger with whom we’re forced to live with,” she said. How different it would be, she wonders, “if we were wearing our internal organs outside, on our bodies.”

Another artist whose work is on display is Taein Ng-Chan, a Master of Fine Arts student in Film Production. Chan said she wondered about people she saw repeatedly on the bus and metro. This inspired her to shoot a video of a metro ride that is purposely blurred to reflect the mysterious lives of public transport commuters.

The short film, entitled Metro, questions how and where people arrive. “It’s so blurry that it’s abstract,” she said, which leaves a lot to the imagination.

Metro, however, was originally a play recorded for radio before Chan made it into a film. Even the focus of the film changed; she originally intended to tell the story of a stranger’s life but ended up with an abstract vision of a metro ride. This goes to show that a final work of art does not always tell the whole story.

The works of these artists, and many more, will be on display at the Concordia’s FOFA Gallery (EV-1.715) until Oct. 2.