Linda M. Montano: 14 Years of Living Art

Curated by Jennifer Fisher
Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montreal
April 10-May 25, 2003
This exhibition configured for the first time in Canada key art works generated out of Linda M. Montano’s now paradigmatic, time-based, endurance art where performance becomes a vehicle for self-transformation.

Montano's work explores the territory between the merged and discrete self: the borders of physical, mental, sexual and spiritual embodiment. Her performances involve intricate life-altering practices. She is interested in the way artistic rituals can be used to alter and enhance a person's life and create opportunities to focus attention and energy. She has woven together utopian strains of transpersonal psychology with the surrealist belief in the transformative power of art.

14 Years of Living Art incorporated two of Montano’s monumental performance works Seven Years of Living Art (1984-1991), and Another 7 Years of Living Art (1991-1998). Montano conceptualized these performances to align herself with particular experiential states corresponding to the system of chakras, or energy centres, described in yogic philosophy. Each year, she wore monochromatic clothing, spent a portion of every day in a coloured room, and listened to a designated tone, all of which corresponded to the energetic qualities of a specific chakra. She intended to shift her consciousness and “train the mind not to wander, shop around, or buy into the millions of distractions that impinge minute-to minute.” Montano’s distinctly ascetic approach emerges from the confluence of Dada, Happenings, Montano’s mystical training as a novice for the Maryknoll nuns, and her practice of yoga.

The exhibition featured a range of installations, drawings, three video works stemming from Montano's sustained exploration of the seven chakras and two performances: Sacramental Chakra Chaise, an art/life performance by Montano, and a sleep-over workshop with the artist, Sacramental Chakra Sleepover, co-sponsored by La Centrale and Rad'a Gallery.
  Linda M. Montano, tattooed chakra points from 7 Years of Living Art, 1985. Photo: Ellen Jaffe.
  Linda M. Montano, Chakra Prayers, 2003.
Mixed media.
  Linda M. Montano, Leather Coats, 2003.
Mixed media.
  Linda M. Montano, Skeletons and Jumpsuits, 2003.
Mixed media.
  Linda M. Montano, Piles of Clothes, 2003.
Mixed media.
  Linda M. Montano, The Seven Stages of Intoxication, 1995.
Single-channel video (34:00).
Sacramental Chakra Chaise
A performance by Linda M. Montano
Thursday, April 10, 2003 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
During this art/life performance, Linda M. Montano performed art/life counseling, a keynote practice for the duration of 14 Years of Living Art. The artist was available for sessions with anyone interested in performing with her in this context.
  Linda M. Montano, Sacaramental Chakra Chaise, 2003.
Mixed media.
Sacramental Chakra Sleepover with Linda M. Montano
Friday evening April 11 – Saturday morning April 12
A collaboration between the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery, La Centrale and Rad’a Gallery, curated by Jennifer Fisher.
An all-night sleepover performance with Linda M. Montano, this workshop-event was designed to create an atmosphere of self-knowledge, healing and community through an exploration of the Vedic chakra system as a guiding technology.

For a fuller text, see Jennifer Fisher, "The Chakra Cycles of Linda M. Montanto," in Technologies of Intuition, Jennifer Fisher, editor, YYZ Books and Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, 2006, pp. 157-180.

For video documentation of this show and Montano's performance pedagogy, see Linda M. Montano: 14 Years of Living Art, 2004 (22:00).
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