Sylvie Fortin is a curator, critic, editor and arts administrator currently based in Montréal (Canada) and New York. She was Executive and Artistic Director of La Biennale de Montréal, Canada’s leading international contemporary art event, from 2013 to 2017. As Editor-in-Chief (2004-2007) and Executive Director/Editor (2007-2012) of Atlanta-based ART PAPERS, she transformed the regional publication into an internationally significant organization. She was also Curator of Contemporary Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, 2013), Curator of Manif 5 – the 5th
Québec City Biennial (2010), Curator of Contemporary Art at the Ottawa Art Gallery (1996-2001), Program Coordinator at LA CHAMBRE BLANCHE (Quebec City, 1991-1994), and a long-term collaborator with the Montreal artist-run centre OBORO (1994-2001).
Her critical essays and reviews have been published in numerous catalogs, anthologies and periodicals, including Artforum International, Art Press, C Magazine, NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art and the now-defunct Canadian publications Fuse and Parachute. Fortin has received many grants from the Canada Council for the Arts for her work as an independent curator and writer. In addition, her research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program. In 2007, she was named Lexus Leader for the Arts, Atlanta.
She is a board member of IBA (International Biennial Association) based in Gwangju; a member of AICA-USA, the American chapter of the International Association of Art Critics, and of IKT (International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art). She is also the founding editor Pass, the journal of the International Biennial Association.
CULTURAL CENTRE OF BELGRADE (KCB)
Knez Mihailova 6
November 8–December 6
Theta Rhythm, 2010, presents the artist’s meticulous reenactment of the last day of the Eighth Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia from the perspective of Mirko Fajfrić, his father and the Belgrade City Committee’s deputy chief of staff. Presided over by Slobodan Milošević, September 24, 1987, ushered the nationalist, reactionary party into power and is often regarded as the genesis of Yugoslavia’s partition, ethnic conflict with Kosovo, and war. On that fateful day, live on national television, the artist’s father fell asleep during the crucial vote. Now, we see Fajfrić’s reenactment of the moments when history invaded his personal story. The work’s title refers to a brain-wave pattern linked to memory formation and navigation that occurs during light sleep and arousal.
Unfinished Business, 2016–17, reverses the roles: Fajfrić’s father plays a dying artist in a live-work studio full of books, records, slides, drawings, and notebooks. The camera pays loving attention to a reel-to-reel player and a turntable, casting music in a leading role. Renowned avant-garde drummer Han Bennink’s playful onscreen bebop performance is edited into a call-and-response with the artist’s struggle to drag himself across the studio floor. He moans and eventually surrenders. Just as the revolution promised by modernism and bebop is yet to be fulfilled, so is the cosmopolitan project in the Balkans.