Montréal, October 16, 2015 — To launch the fall cultural season, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is offering the public a chance to experience the intriguing worlds of three artists who are all extraordinary, though they differ in their preferred themes, approaches and media. From October 17, 2015 to January 10, 2016, Québec artist Patrick Bernatchez shows us an interdisciplinary, polymorphous practice in which metamorphosis plays a leading role; American artist Dana Schutz surprises us with her reinvention of painting, which she has given a new lease on life; and, in a video installation, French artist Camille Henrot presents a kaleidoscopic, 13-minute summary of the history of the universe! Beyond their formal differences, these three perspectives share a deep concern for mutation and cycles. With these shows, the Musée demonstrates that, more than ever, it is an open and welcoming place where people can freely explore and appreciate the most exciting and enlightening artistic propositions of our time.

Patrick Bernatchez: Les Temps inachevés

The Musée is delighted to present, in co-production with Casino Luxembourg, Patrick Bernatchez: Les Temps inachevés. This exhibition brings together, for the first time, major works from two cycles that represent a decade of conceptualization, creation, production and presentation: Chrysalides, 2006-2013, and Lost in Time, 2009-2015. It provides an opportunity to discover the practice of an artist “whose sensibility, poetics and fearless imagination dazzle,” says John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the MAC. Bernatchez employs various disciplines, from drawing to film and video, in addition to sound, sculpture, installation and photography, to transform everyday reality into the stuff of dreams.

Mutation—of forms, themes and meanings—is omnipresent in Bernatchez’s art. The exhibition title refers to the evolving nature of his practice, in which a work is never totally finished and each show is only a temporary stop along the way. As the artist says about his approach, “many things emerge throughout the process and define and deepen the contours of the overall work.” The multiform works in the Chrysalides cycle revolve around questions of life and death, light and darkness, decomposition and rebirth. Begun in 2006 with a series of graphite and ink drawings, the cycle includes the sound installation Fashion Plaza Nights and a trilogy of films, I Feel Cold Today, Chrysalide and 13, which illustrate an industrial building’s inner workings, architecture and inhabitants.

Time in all its dimensions is the overriding leitmotif of Lost in Time, which mixes past, present and future, lived, cosmic and performative time. The cycle comprises over twenty works, including films and videos, audio recordings, sound-based installations, photographic and etched-mirror pieces, and  sculptural objects. At its centre is BW, a watch that measures millennia. In Lost in Time, a feature-length film completed for the exhibition, the story of a helmet-clad horse and rider adrift in a landscape of ice and snow is intertwined with a strange scientific experiment.

Patrick Bernatchez was born in 1972 in Montréal, where he lives and works. After acclaim for his films I Feel Cold Today and Chrysalide: Empereur, presented in the 2008 Québec Triennial at the Musée, he was shortlisted for the 2010 Sobey Art Award. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, in 2010; Galerie Bertrand Grimont, Paris, in 2009 and 2012; Galerie West, The Hague, in 2009 and 2012; and Galerie de l’UQAM, Montréal, in 2011.

Patrick Bernatchez: Les Temps inachevés is a co-production of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, in partnership with Argos – Centre for Art and Media, Brussels, and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto.


The curators of the exhibition are Lesley Johnstone, Head of Exhibitions and Education at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and Kevin Muhlen, Artistic Director at Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain.


The exhibition is accompanied by an abundantly illustrated, 204-page catalogue, co-published with Casino Luxembourg – Forum d’art contemporain, Luxembourg. The publication includes the article Cycles and Spirals, written by Lesley Johnstone; an interview with Patrick Bernatchez conducted by Kevin Muhlen; and an article by Scott McLeod titled Variations on a Theme: Patrick Bernatchez’s Inverted Turn. The catalogue may be purchased at the MAC Boutique for $60.00.

Meet the artist

A gallery talk/tour of the exhibition Les Temps inachevés will be held, in French, with Patrick Bernatchez and Lesley Johnstone, on Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m.

Dana Schutz: The body of painting

The MAC is proud to be the first Canadian museum to devote a solo show to American painting sensation Dana Schutz, whose art—as noted by exhibition curator John Zeppetelli—is “a powerful meld of figuration and abstraction.” The exuberant universe of this internationally renowned painter confronts the eye with unthinkable situations and unspeakable acts, while a multitude of references and allusions tickle the mind. Even though this world includes dismemberment, self-cannibalization and various other disturbing behaviours, its tone, ranging from derision to outright disfiguration, remains oddly normal. The exhibition offers an overview of Schutz’s work, from her beginnings to her recent output.

In her painting, Schutz constructs a perverse vision of our present time and everyday life. Informed by multiple references, principally cubism and expressionism, her deconstructionist enterprise features the body, and its mutations and vulnerabilities. For example, in How We Would Give Birth, 2007, a woman in labour pushes out her baby while contemplating a “sublime” painting. The Face Eater series attests to a new species capable of devouring itself as well as regenerating. In the comically poignant Swimming, Smoking, Crying, 2009, a woman drowning in misery swims, smokes and cries, all at once, while Shaking, Cooking, Peeing, 2009, sports a figure grappling with various internal and external outpourings of liquid. Schutz is a past master in the art of forcefully provoking an encounter between misfortune and futility in her paintings. Whether they be victims or executioners, her figures have a wildness to them, and the settings they are portrayed in are carried along by waves of vivid, acid hues carefully applied by the artist. As to why she began painting, she says: “I wanted to be painting subjects that did not exist.”

Born in Livonia, a suburb of Detroit, in 1976, Dana Schutz lives and works in New York. She received her BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art and her MFA at Columbia University, New York, in 2002. She first came to attention that same year with her inaugural exhibition Frank from Observation. Since then, her work has been the subject of some fifteen solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe. It has had a marked influence on contemporary painting over the past decade, and her works can be found in numerous public and private collections.


The exhibition was organized by John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.


In connection with this exhibition, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has produced a 72-page publication, titled Dana Schutz, illustrated with numerous colour plates. This publication also includes the essays Thinking About Dana Schutz, by Benjamin Klein, and Making a Painting, Building a Boat: Dana Schutz and the Construction of Painting, by Robert Enright. It is available at the MAC Boutique for $29.95.

Camille Henrot: Creation myths

French artist Camille Henrot is making her debut at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal with Grosse Fatigue, a fascinating 13-minute video installation. The artist produced this dizzying work during a residency at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Delving into the extensive  archives of this illustrious institution, Henrot set herself the challenge of telling the story of the creation of the universe. To do this, she combined Creation myths belonging to various religious (Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Islamic) and oral (First Nations, Freemasonry, Cabbala) traditions with elements of scientific history. Presented as a series of pop-up windows that open and close in succession, the images unfold to the accompaniment of a narration co-written with the poet Jacob Bromberg and spoken to a slam rhythm, off-camera, by Akwetey Orraca-Tetteh. Anthropology, science, myth and  speculation merge to produce a work dense with colour and knowledge that shows us that the universe is still continually evolving.

Presented in the exhibition Il Palazzo Enciclopedico at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, Grosse Fatigue earned Camille Henrot the Silver Lion for promising young artist.

Born in Paris in 1978, Camille Henrot has lived and worked in New York since 2013. She is a graduate of the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs de Paris. All of Henrot’s works—films, drawings, sculptures, collections of images and objects—speak of her interest in anthropology, philosophy, literature, music and metonymical relationships. She won the 2014 Nam June Paik Award, presented by the Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Her work has been featured in some fifteen solo exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and has been seen in numerous group shows, including the Triennale du Palais de Tokyo in Paris in 2012. She is represented in many public and private collections.


The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal is a provincially owned corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. It receives additional funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts. The museum gratefully acknowledges their support and that of its principal partner, Collection Loto-Québec. The MAC also thanks its media partners La Presse and Cogeco.

Source and Information

Anne Dongois
T. 514 826-2050
[email protected]