Chromatic brings on art & parties

Highlights of the fifth annual Chromatic festival, featuring all kinds of art & a stack of killer parties, too, May 24–30.

From Pascal Normand’s Refuge
The Chromatic art festival starts this weekend, and it’s celebrating its fifth anniversary in a big way. The theme this year is Habitat, fitting for a festival that has quickly established itself as an integral part of the Montreal arts scene. In keeping with that theme, Chromatic is staking its claim on a classic local landmark, with several events taking place in the Chalet du Mont-Royal (1196 Voie Camillien-Houde) as well as at the Espace MASSIVart (620 St-Paul W.).

Party time


Heart Streets
Heart Streets

The inaugural partying-down begins on Saturday with the Piknic Chromatic at the Chalet du Mont-Royal. Start taking in the art installations at noon, with drinks and food from the Biergarten and Pique-Nique. Piknic Électronik DJs A-Rock, Shaydakiss and Hatchmatic will be spinning from 2-6 p.m. Stick around the Chalet for Nuit Chromatic, where several art installations and projections will be complemented by musical guests Tommy Kruise, Foxtrott, Heart Streets and River Lance until 1 a.m. Still going strong? Catch one of the shuttle busses at the chalet and head to the Espace MASSIVart for the After Chromatic party presented by MEG, with performances by Grandbuda, Ryan Playground, POMO and Claire until 5 a.m.

There are too many other events to list here, including a cocktail event, children’s activities, and movie-themed events. Two more honourable mentions: the Block Party on May 29 featuring live painting, presented by the MURAL Festival, and musical acts presented by Saint Woods, and the Closing Party, featuring music by Beat Market, BAYA, and Will Mari.


Artsy time


Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll see from more than 100 international and local artists who’ve interpreted the Habitat theme for this year’s Chromatic:



Pascal Normand’s hybrid photography practice finds a home in a place where nobody lives: Montreal’s graffiti-covered urban ruins. Photo filters and splashes of paint make the abandoned Rosemont borough buildings from the Refuge series come alive, even if some, like the historic Préfontaine Centre, are long gone. For something a little nostalgic, Steven Orner’s Suburbia series riffs on snapshots of family life — kids loitering by the fence, Dad in the front lawn — with a playful acid palette and hidden UFOs weird-ing up the ‘burbs.



From Gabrielle Matte's Le bon melon
From Gabrielle Matte’s Le bon melon

Gabrielle Matte’s map of Montreal Le bon melon won’t get from A to B in record time, but it will lead you on a tour of the city’s seldom-charted delights, like the spots where the city’s own variety of Cucumus melo used to be grown as early as the 19th century. In KRSN’s Habitat series, humans fuse with flora as they thrive, hide or die in leafy nests. And in a silk-screen offering of BONAR’s “Boneyard” illustration, skulls and bones become the new tenants of a flowered field after the animals have passed.



From Carl-Antonyn Dufault’s Improbables Habitats

Montreal and Paris living go cheek-to-cheek in Carl-Antonyn Dufault’s photo-manipulation series Improbables Habitats, where sky-high Paris buildings squeeze their way between Montreal’s winding-staircase apartments. Sébastien Cossette eschews the crowded city in Un soir de vie commune, a dreamy exploration of the woodsy chalet.



Montreal’s Alan Ganev, Madrid’s Rubén B, and Barcelona’s Max-O-Matic cut and paste images into new artistic homes in the Weird Collage Show, presented for the first time in Canada at the Espace MASSIVart to encourage discussion among the world’s contemporary collage artists.



From Geneviève Gallant's Folie des hauteurs
From Geneviève Gallant’s Folie des hauteurs

Who’s the ghost living in Irregular & Mer/sea’s machine? It’s you — sort of. Type a question or word into a search engine on She&He’s two-screen set-up, and soon both screens will be scouring the Internet for phrases with which to reply to one another. In Geneviève Gallant’s Folie des hauteurs sculptures, tiny figures are dwarfed by the geometric mountains they scale, their relationships and journey inspired by the classic story Le Petit Prince.



A rough intergalactic journey costs the astronaut in Nicolas Ménard’s Somewhere his left arm — literally. Navigating the rest of his landing in his new home planet won’t be easy. In Frances Adair Mckenzie’s A Love Poem to Ordinary Objects, trip-hop music and bright animated backgrounds cast everyday clutter on a new stage. ■


Chromatic runs May 24–30, with various passes available for purchase via la Vitrine Culturelle. For more information about Chromatic, visit the festival’s website