“Born in Winnipeg, Gilles Hébert began his creative career as an artist and later turned to curating for three of Winnipeg’s leading galleries: St. Norbert’s Art Centre, the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Later, as the director of Saskatoon’s Mendel Art Gallery, he curated the exhibition Voices: The Work of Joni Mitchell (2000), to great acclaim. Since then, Hébert has continued to influence cultural production in this country as the Director and driving force behind several important Canadian art museums including the Art Gallery of Windsor, the Art Gallery of Alberta, and most recently as the Vice-President of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. What very few people outside of his circle of close friends know is that Hébert the artist, has been collecting unique-one-of-a-kind ephemera over the past 30 years. Through a process of narrative association, Hébert has transformed these objects into stories that weave together his public personality with intimate observations around the craziness of the external world.
PullFreight is Hébert’s Opus. For the ‘50s beat generation, PullFreight meant to leave, to check out (die) or to go on the lam. For this unusual and singular exhibition, Hébert has composed a collection of 25 conjured characters. Their photos and mementos live in Cuban cigar boxes and 13 wall mounted cabinets or ‘stations’. Whether it is a Cuban singer or a faded movie star with an obsession for Paris, PullFreight offers a rare glimpse into the intimate life of the artist as well as the people documented in the historical photographs collected during his extensive travels to Cuba. PullFreight pays homage to the extraordinary moments of these ordinary lives where social and political boundaries are continuously being redefined and questioned.
PullFreight is an installation comprised of a slide projection, the PullFreight video and cigar box viewing area, and a museum style retail shop of mementos including limited edition boxed catalogues, sculpted Cuban cigars and various PullFreight merchandise are for sale. These ‘momentos’ reignite the cycle of collecting and the recurring search for meaning over again.
Opening reception at Actual Contemporary, Winnipeg is June 18, 2015 at 7PM. Artist in attendance.
Follow the exhibition on Instagram: #PullFreightEdition”
300 Ross Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, Canada