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andrew berman   dogwalker   westbeth cr

Palazzo Chupi
Mixed-media installation: 2 walls, projected video 3' 30'' in loop, 1 director's chair, 2 wall texts, video 23' 23'' on monitor
Exhibition views at Optica, Montreal: Paul Litherland

Palazzo Chupi takes its title from a Julian Schnabel real estate project: in 2007, the American painter and filmmaker added seven stories in Venetian architectural style to a former stable that he occupied in Manhattan’s West Village. The artistic and commercial ambitions of this eccentric and controversial gesture were ultimately curtailed by the building’s gaudy aesthetic and the 2008 financial meltdown. (…) Beyond its interrogations of urban gentrication, the preservation of architectural heritage, or the dynamics of rampant speculation in the financial sector and art market, the exhibition invites spectators to "pass through the image", figuratively and literally speaking, while demonstrating that history, like all narratives, is a construction.

Palazzo Chupi articulates several elements, including a video presentation of 21 drawings attributed to Sherwood Darnell, a man who once occupied a prison cell that faced the site on which this palazzo now presides. His drawings depict the location’s evolution, from the beginning of time to some point in the distant future. Not only does this new body of work testify to the evolution of the West Village—replacing a linear conception of time with its cyclical representation—it also reveals a singular, and heretofore unknown artistic itinerary. Darnell thus serves as a foil to the famed Schnabel (conspicuously absent here). The parallel history on which the exhibition sheds light appears ultimately to crystallize in an exhibition space divided into two distinct areas, the one public, the other hidden, a spatial dichotomy that prompts us to explore the hidden side of things.

Geneviève Bédard

Palazzo Chupi, Optica, Montreal, 2015