According to a Chinese legend well-known in Japan, a giant katsura tree was planted on the moon, inspiring the proverb, “We can see the katsura on the moon with our eyes, but we cannot touch it with our hands.” The saying celebrates the quest for an absolute and is a fitting epigraph for Departure for Katsura, which pursues issues of self-identity and personal ideals.

Through Departure for Katsura, the Montreal-based artist Irene F. Whittome continues her research into the significance of the museum and collections, a rational and spiritual quest revolving around the notions of accumulation and assembly and using metaphors drawn from natural phenomena. The exhibition relates Whittome’s installations to work from the CCA collection, including photographs of the Katsura villa made by Yasuhiro Ishimoto in 1953 and 1981–1983, photographs of pre-Columbian sites in Mexico taken by Désiré Charnay in 1858–61, and photographs of India by Samuel Bourne and Lala Din Dayal a few years later, as well as conceptual drawings by German architects Hans Scharoun, Paul Goesch, and Bruno Taut.

Curator: Laurier Lacroix, Université du Québec à Montréal.

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