Montreal and Its Stars


Photographic image of an unknown constellation. From the series "Constellar Cities". 

Photo d’une constellation inconnue.

Yana Kehrlein
Private collection
Constellar City

Like with the acquisition of Evan Lee’s portraits, in the early decades of the new millennium, the Friends of the Library were in search of contemporary artworks that artistically embodied the blurring of facts, fictions, and myths to accompany the older items in the bishop’s collection. The purchase of Montreal and Its Stars was prompted by a Friend of the Library travelling through Oslo on business and seeing an installation of Kehrlein’s sister work Buenos Aires And Its Stars on the façade of the Airport Express terminal.

Each image in French artist Yana Kehrlein’s series Constellar Cities is comprised of two photos downloaded from the Internet: one of the city seen from space and one of the stars above the same city. The two-dimensional piece of photographic paper thereby resembles looking down on earth and up at the stars simultaneously. Within this flat surface we become confused about the direction of our gaze.

When looking at the organic patterns the city reveals, one can imagine animals, insects or monstrous beings, and new urban tales are created. Yet, these stories also remain rooted in social, historic and economic boundaries within each city. Throughout a city’s grids are threads of power and inequality. Kehrlein challenges the viewer’s perspective throughout Constellar Cities: How do we direct our gaze? What do we choose to see?