Sonata / Ustvolskaya

January 9 - February 13, 2016

Galerie Trois Points is pleased to announce the latest solo exhibition by long-time gallery artist Mario Côté, featuring a brand new project in continuity with the practice of graphic and pictorial translation that he performs since 2007. Fascinated by the music composers of the twentieth century, the artist began a new series in parallel to his extensive (and still ongoing) enterprise of transposing the piece Crippled Symmetry by Morton Feldman into painting.

Côté has recently embarked upon a brand new cycle of paintings based on the works of the fascinating Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006). The piano work of Ustvolskaya is characterized by the use of extreme dynamic and repeated clusters, those very strong homophonic blocks of sound. Excited by the challenge the work of Ustvolskaya represents, Côté has given much thought on how to transpose these harmonics cluster sounds onto the painting space. Particularly interested in the Sonata No. 6 for piano (1988), the last of the Russian composer’s sonatas, Côté first carefully studied the score before creating a film document of Jacques Drouin interpreting the piece. The Sonata / Ustvolskaya exhibition features a sound piece created from the “sound excesses” not selected during the editing process, hence revealing another dimension of the composer’s sound. Following this initial research, Côté created a series of paintings and works on paper from which we selected a few for this exhibition.

For his pictorial translation of Ustvolskaya’s sonata, Mario Côté revisited a process that he used through his Feldman’s work, allowing it to unfold in a new pictorial space, wherein the positionning of the rectangles on the canvas corresponds to the pitch of the notes. As for the clusters, they are meticulously represented in a section of the canvas by several interlaced coloured lines, creating a trellis over the painted surface. This “weaving” of adjacent sounds played simultaneously, cogently evokes the dense and compact aural effect of the musical work.

Mario Côté is a painter and a video artist who lives and works in Montreal. He has taught at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) since 1989. He has been widely exhibited in Canada, particularly in Quebec, as well as in Mexico, Germany, Spain, France and Sweden and his work is part of numerous museum and corporate collections, such as Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Galerie de l’UQAM, Desjardins, Loto-Québec, Fondation de l’Université du Québec à Montréal and Collection Prêt d’oeuvres d’art.

Press release

Exhibition Press

  • Michel Gonneville, Mario Côté réinterprète Galina Oustvolskaia, Cette Ville Étrange , 2016. 01. 13.. Lien web | PDF