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 / past / 2015-2016 / WEAVING THE EXISTING


Weaving the Existing
January 13 - March 12, 2016

Artist: Giorgia Volpe

Curator: Carl Johnson

Opening reception: Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m

Exhibition pamphlet

Press Release



March 23, 2016 - May 29, 2016: Mount Saint Vincent University

June 9, 2016 - January 8, 2017: Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent


Weaving the Existing brings together works by Giorgia Volpe completed over a 15-year period and reveals her creative approach. The works exhibited here encompass performance, action art, drawing, sculpture, photography, installations and video art. The exhibition showcases these different art forms while providing a first-ever survey of Volpe’s career. The path she has followed reveals a desire to forge a relationship between the inanimate and the animate, between the artist and society, and between art and life.

Volpe often adopts an approach that fosters relationships and dialogue. Her creations—whether fleeting interventions, public performances or more intimate studio works outside the public context—invite us to look differently at what already exists. They are a catalyst for transforming and diverting the materials used and the contextual and surrounding elements with which they interact. In terms of material, Volpe is especially interested in remnants, scraps and leftovers that end up in recycling centres or landfill sites. Advertising material like posters and banners, print material like magazines, and scraps of fabric are among the elements she combines in her works.

These materials intrigue Volpe because they are manifestations of what already exists. They had a previous life before she transformed them, diverting them from their usual purpose and incorporating them into her works. The shift in use brings out the content and information conveyed or imparted by the original materials, and this content is integrated directly into the works that it has helped to create. All the texts, drawings, photos and graphic elements Volpe uses contribute to the complexity of her works’ semantic framework and their potential in their newly configured form.

As for the different fabrics, the history of their materiality, production and transformation is integrated into the works. Their reuse—or rather their direct contribution—reveals the complexity of communication and the different networks that we maintain both individually and collectively. How they are used underlines the importance of that which is “close-knit,” a common expression applied to families, communities and sometimes even Quebec society.

The use of these different materials adds a layer to the density of meaning that the works convey. Taken as is, transformed or diverted, juxtaposed or assembled, the materials bring their own existence to a new formal entity.

To consider what exists is to seek out the other—what it is, what it produces—and to interact and explore life in different locations and contexts within a city’s shared space. Volpe relies on this approach for several of her performances, actions and interventions.

Weaving, knitting, assembling—these actions all blend different materials and contexts, and structure them according to new precepts so that they bring about change. Volpe often relies on weaving to develop her works, a technique that runs through her entire oeuvre. The blending of materials becomes a metaphor for complex human relations and brings to light the numerous networks that are essential to human action. Weaving also evokes existence within the many structures in which it manifests itself. Fibre in all its forms—paper, plastic, recycled material, textiles—contributes to the meaning of these sculptural or two-dimensional works. We also notice how interlacing and inscription fully reflect Volpe’s artistic approach.

The artist believes that each material harbours a memory, that a story is held within it. Her role is to take what is formless and transform it, or to make it into an object that is transitional, transactional or that gives rise to an experiential relationship. She often integrates objects with the human body or her own body at the design phase, sometimes because of their scale or their potential to clothe or accommodate the body, to be an extension of it. This is a natural move for Volpe because performance is central to her practice. Indeed, she creates works that are open to the communities in which she operates. Her aim is to create collaborative works in harmony with the host environment.

Organizing a survey exhibition of Volpe’s art is a challenge because she completes few “finished” pieces. They are often shown in a temporary state and then undergo transformations resulting in different appearances. Volpe likes to revisit her works and modify them in line with her reflections and encounters, which cause new appearances and meanings to emerge. This regeneration is fully consistent with performance, an art of movement.

Our aim is to offer a reading of “what is there” in Volpe’s creations. This suspension in time, conceptualized by the exhibition, allows us to step back and appreciate the career path of a multitalented artist whose works, in their current form, are just a temporary state in an ever-evolving process.

(Carl Johnson, curator)

Artist biography

Born in São Paulo (Brazil), Giorgia Volpe has been living and working in Quebec City since 1998. A multidisciplinary artist, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the University of São Paulo as well as a Master’s degree from Laval University. She has participated in many exhibitions, public interventions and artist residencies in Brazil, Cuba, Canada, the United States, Mexico, and in Europe, including in Résonance de la Biennale de Lyon 2011, MNBAQ, Orange 2012, St-Étienne’s (France) International Design Biennale, Centre Vu, Fonderie Darling, Sagamie, Bande Vidéo, Baie St-Paul’s 2013 Symposium, Manif d’art de Québec 2005, 2012 and 2014, Symposium International Art Nature les Jardins du précambrien, BACC à Bangkok, to name only a few. Her works are part of art collections, both public and private, in Brazil, Mexico, France and Canada. 

Curator biography:

Acting as independent curator since March 2010, Carl Johnson curates exhibitions and art events for museum institutions and art organisations. He was formerly the Director of the Musée régional de Rimouski from 1999 to 2008, after having acted as Contemporary Art Curator for the same institution between 1994 and 1999, and as production coordinator at La Chambre blanche from 1988 to 1993. Throughout his career, Carl Johnson realized a vast number of exhibitions and took part in the production of numerous exhibition catalogues. He received financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts.


Produced by the Foreman Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Sherbrooke.