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Cliff Eyland
Artist

Winnipeg
June 30, 2011

Cliff Eyland is an artist who lives in Winnipeg. He is the former director (1998-2010) of Gallery One One One at the University of Manitoba School of Art and the former Winnipeg correspondent for Akimblog. His work is currently on display at La Maison Rouge in Paris as part of the group exhibition My Winnipeg. Eyland recently received a large public art commission for the new Meadows Library in Edmonton, to be completed by 2013. An upcoming solo show at Howard Gurevich Fine Art in Winnipeg in September 2011 will complement a group show at Leo Kamen Gallery in Toronto the same month.

1. Paris

I'm in a group show of Winnipeg artists at La Maison Rouge, and so I'm reacquainting myself with a city I have not visited in years. Here's the latest: you still can't hail a cab in Paris; English seems to have become the city's first language; and, given the local context, our Winnipeg show looks like the annual salon of an academy of the down and out – or is that the up and coming? (For an insider's look by one of Winnipeg's La Maison interns, please see Geneviève Levasseur's blog.)

2. Parisian streets

I've been taking photographs of the locals, including hipsters like this young couple out for a smoking stroll with baby. There is hustle and bustle, but Paris feels slower and more relaxed than other major centres. People have their luncheons on the grass, they amble aimlessly, and nothing seems rushed. This is what civilization is supposed to be.

3. Information

I've just read James Gleick's book The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, and I'd say it's the best book on the subject since Hans Christian von Baeyer's Information: The New Language of Science. I highly recommend it. One of my hobbies is physics, and I invite you to read for yourself about how physics and information are related. I will say apropos art, however, that since the days of MoMA's 1970 Information show, curated by Kynaston McShine, and the coincidental ascendance of Winnipegger Marshall McLuhan's wacky Catholic information theories way back when, physics and information theory have come a long way, and yet artists don't seem at all interested in this stuff now. Why? Physics is much stranger than art, so why doesn't it attract more art weirdoes?

4. Mrs. Delany

I've brought along for my travels a wonderful book by Molly Peacock about an eighteenth-century woman who took up her life's work at seventy-two, entitled appropriately: The Paper Garden: Mrs Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72. Delany made exceedingly beautiful paper collages of flowers. Here's to you, Mrs Delany, as I work on my own pitiful efforts at the Maison Rouge's collage party! My excuse is that, as you will notice, I dress up in ridiculous costumes for Paul Butler's relational roundups, so it's harder for me to see what I'm doing.


[photo: Geneviève Levasseur.]

5. The crowd in front of the Mona Lisa...

…is a Parisian must-see. I had to struggle to get the right iPhone angle so that someone else's cellphone obscured Leonardo's lady in my photograph. It was astonishing to watch hundreds of people take a Mona picture and then immediately leave the Louvre. Don't get me wrong: I have no interest in mocking the crowds – I just want to understand them. And anyway, taking pictures of other people taking pictures hardly counts as some kind of critique.

 

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