Among those artists interested in the various aspects of the agri-food sector, many also consider the ethical issues raised by this topic. The purpose of contemporary art is certainly not to focus on ethics or morality, and yet today we observe a trend in this direction. These artists, like the society in which they live, are increasingly smitten with ethical questions and directly challenge us by calling into question our way of cultivating the land, which often weakens the environment and threatens its equilibrium. By extension, our eating habits are also called into question, shaking up the foundations of why
we carry out our everyday activities. Taking this observation as our starting point, it seemed to us essential to pursue these moral and ethical ideas without losing sight of the consequences they have on the aesthetics of the works of art in question. It was thus in this spirit that we invited thirteen artists from Quebec, the rest of Canada and abroad to participate in the 2009 edition of ORANGE
For this edition, we are putting aside somewhat the question of what we put in our mouths
to consider the origins of our food or, more precisely, the values tied up in activities that take place before the consumption stage. What are the issues around the earth in which we sow seeds, around the people who harvest and transform foodstuffs, around the plant species which have disappeared because of economic imperatives, around our warming planet? Given that the topic of the agri-food sector is not limited to the simple fact that food is a commodity, the issues around this fact of being a commodity make it possible to explore multiple avenues and to examine the personal and collective identity of the contemporary individual through their concerns, values, behaviour and lifestyle.
By stimulating thinking about art and current events, ORANGE
hopes to encourage familiarity with visual art. Beyond the evident importance of installation and performance in contemporary art practices which make reference to the agri-food sector, the curators wish to highlight the polysemous nature of the work they have chosen. ORANGE - IL NOSTRO GUSTO ( meaning our taste
in Italian ) has been designed, like a research laboratory, to observe and study not only the question of ethics in the range of projections, shapes, textures, odours and concepts on view, but also to examine the question of aesthetics. Will we come to speak one day of a turning point in the way works of contemporary art are created, one coinciding with a period in our history in which humankind was taken with a sudden need to speak of ethics and morality? Perhaps, but with the proviso that we are not necessarily dealing here with artists who are political activists but rather with artists who are aware and conscientious and who are concerned with their own well-being and with that of others.
Sylvette Babin, Marcel Blouin and Genevieve Ouellet
Curators of ORANGE
: Contemporary Art Event of Saint-Hyacinthe, 3rd