Liz Magor — The Blue One Comes in Black


Installation, photography, sculpture, mixed media

Liz Magor
The Blue One Comes in Black

Ends in about 2 months: September 8 → December 18, 2016

Liz magor credac 2 grid Liz Magor — Le Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine Le Crédac organise une exposition exceptionnelle de Liz Magor, née en 1948. Figure de proue de la scène canadienne, le travail de c... 2 - Bien Critique

Liz Magor (born in 1948; lives and works in Vancouver) is a major artist on the contemporary Canadian art scene. She represented Canada at the 1984 Venice Biennale and is the subject of a 2016 retrospective that is currently running at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal.

Magor draws her ideas from beliefs, reactions, and human behavior, especially when they have something to do with the material world. She is interested in the social and emotional lives of ordinary, even domestic objects, being especially fond of materials that have lost the luster of their former use or function. Selecting them for their capacity to contain and reflect stories, like personal and collective identities, Magor reveals a resonance that goes beyond their mere utilitarian function through transformations and shifts.

Le credac liz magor the blue one comes in black vue exposition 01 medium
Liz Magor, Palm Pet, vue de l’exposition The Blue One Comes in Black, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry — le Crédac, 2016 Gypse polymérisé, laine, bois, sachet en plastique Courtesy de l’artiste & Marcelle Alix, Paris — Photo © André Morin / le Crédac

Her works, she says, are designed, created and polished through a play of contradictions and seem to restore the antagonisms that both torment and partake of the vitality of existence. Magor tips us off, as it were, by working from hyperrealist casts of daily objects and articles of clothing, and stitching back up and conserving objects chosen for their manifest obsolescence. Through this awakening of an anonymous material world, we can read a certain history of our modern culture, from property to the need to protect and accumulate, as well as the ambiguity and inconstancy of the desire that connects us with objects.

The series of photographs called Karl’s Castle (2003) depicts a tourist site on Cores Island (north of Vancouver), where the artist has a vacation home (or, to be more exact: a wood cabin). The interior depicted in the photographs was constructed by a Hungarian wrestling champion, mainly with recycled furniture, which lends a strange medieval atmosphere. Despite the vulnerable aspect of living alone, the artist shows that it is possible to live differently by searching for greater material autonomy and an escape that possesses a utopian character. The photographs highlight the creativity of these constructions made from recycled debris, underscoring the instinct that drives us to truly occupy our living space in order to feel protected there.

There is another series devoted to covers, which drape down from hangers like great swaths of color. Folded and ironed, they still bear the protective plastic bags from when they were last at the dry cleaner’s. Magor carefully selected them in second-hand shops, had them cleaned and then darned them with thread or polymerized gypsum as if to emphasize the preciousness of their threadbare condition and the intensity of the connection that links them still to their owners (cigarette burns, snags in the fabric, wear and tear…). The outdated labels they sport continue to proclaim the quality of their wool or their mothproofing. Their use seems to be closely bound up with Canadian national identity, either because they conjure up the length and rigor of winters in North America, or because the motifs they display recall the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the oldest companies, specialized in business and the fur trade since the 17th century.

Le credac liz magor the blue one comes in black vue exposition medium
Liz Magor, vue de l’exposition The Blue One Comes in Black, Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry — le Crédac, 2016 Courtesy of le Crédac — Photo © André Morin

The artwork itself is an unstable material that is liable to change and often filled with or steeped in things that have already had an erratic past. All the Names II, III (2014) is one of the artist’s many pieces in which forms are encapsulated in silicon envelopes. This series of translucent, slightly iridescent cases protect a content that is thus placed beyond our reach and rendered imperceptible. The cases were molded from cardboard boxes that were wrapped in brown paper and ready to send; their interiors, left empty, were filled with various selected objects and then hermetically resealed. One contains small packages wrapped in gift paper and ribbons as well as an additional quantity of paper; the other, books and papers probably found, perhaps left behind, abandoned. These kinds of things interest the artist since they indeed reflect a certain historical period yet are incomplete, outmoded and don’t attain the status of heritage items or even curiosities.

For The Blue One Comes in Black, Magor has brought together a recent group of sculptures and photographs, which allow the visitor to measure the formal extent of her approach, looking to stress the memory of what is human for an exhibition located in a former factory.


This exhibition is a partnership between Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (Canada) and Peep-Hole, Milano (Italy).

It has been supported by the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris ; Canada Council for the Arts International Touring Program, The Province of British Columbia through their Touring Initiative and BC Arts Council Touring Initiative Program.

Liz Magor is represented by galleries Susan Hobbs, Toronto, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver and Marcelle Alix, Paris.

At the same time, an exhibition of Liz Magor is presented at Marcelle Alix gallery from 9 September to 29 October 2016 — 4 rue Jouye-Rouve, Paris 20

  • Liz Magor, The Blue One Comes in Black — Art-Thé Visit Thursday, November 10 at 4 PM

    Guided tour of the show followed by an exchange time around artistic references, documents and literary, filmic, musical excerpts. Free tea, coffea and biscuits.

    With the complicity of the Ivrry’s Multimedia Library team.

  • Liz Magor, The Blue One Comes in Black — Les Eclairs 3/4 Visit Sunday, November 20 at 4 PM

    One sunday per month, an exhibition tour with Julia Leclerc sheds light on featured works

    Free admission, meeting point at the hall entrance

  • Liz Magor, The Blue One Comes in Black — Atelier-Goûté Visit Sunday, November 27 3:30 PM → 5 PM

    During these “workshop-afternoon treats”, children from 6 to 12 years of age lead their families on a tour through the show. Families are then invited to enjoy an afternoon snack and a practical workshop that extends the exhibition visit in a sensitive and playful way.
    Free admission, booking required.

  • Rencontre — De Milan à Ivry, en passant par Glasgow Lecture Saturday, December 3 at 4 PM

    Guided tour of Liz Magor’s exhibition by Cécilia Becanovic — codirector of Marcelle Alix gallery — and Claire Le Restif. They will talk about the artist’s carrier and her recent shows (Peep-Hole, Milan ; Glasgow Sculpture Studio, Glasgow).

    Free admission, booking required.

  • Liz Magor, The Blue One Comes in Black — Les Eclairs 4/4 Visit Sunday, December 18 at 4 PM
94 Val-de-Marne Zoom in 94 Val-de-Marne Zoom out

La Manufacture des Œillets,
25-29 rue Raspail

94200 Ivry s/ Seine

T. 01 49 60 25 06 — F. 01 49 60 25 07

Mairie d'Ivry

Opening hours

Tuesday – Friday, 2 PM – 6 PM
Saturday & Sunday, 2 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment Closed on public holidays

Admission fee

Free entrance

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Venue schedule

The artist

  • Liz Magor