Montréal, May 25, 2011An exhibition that fills up all of the Musée’s galleries and showcases a hundred or so major works from the Collection along a circuit that is neither conventional nor linear – that is the unique experience MAC visitors can look forward to with Déjà – The Collection on Display. These works exemplifying the history and scope of the Collection have been carefully selected, out of the 7,600 pieces listed altogether in the museum’s inventory, by Josée Bélisle, curator of the exhibition and curator of the Musée Collection. In terms of scale, this is the largest space ever devoted to displaying the Collection. The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal presents Déjà from May 26 to September 4, 2011. Montrealers and tourists alike are invited to make the most of the coming summer by taking this opportunity to enjoy a truly remarkable exhibition.

The Musée has been collecting for nearly fifty years, in order to provide not only an overall view but also a very specific perspective of the art created both here and abroad. The Collection is multi- and omni-disciplinary, as the exhibition Déjà so clearly demonstrates; it encompasses painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography and various other techniques. Rather than a strictly thematic or chronological approach, the focus has been on the coherence of all these years of creative endeavour, informed by reflection, breaks with the past, actions and reactions. The installation of the works is anything but rigid: it illustrates the abundance and diversity of sensibilities found among contemporary artists, some of whom are the authors of large bodies of works in the museum’s holdings. In addition, the curatorial choice emphasizes the interconnection of disciplines in works by artists from here in Québec, across Canada and around the world, in a circuit that brings together such names as David Altmejd, Nicolas Baier, Louise Bourgeois, Ann Hamilton, Mona Hatoum, Gary Hill, Vik Muniz, Alain Paiement, Ed Pien, Wolfgang Tilmans and Claude Tousignant, to mention only a few.

Laid out in nine segments, this display offering a selective overview of the Musée’s history surprises visitors by placing some of the works back in the exact settings where they have already (déjà) been seen, in previous exhibitions (for example, The Sleepers by Bill Viola and Parabole no 9… ainsi soit-il : les usines ferment, les musées ouvrent by Melvin Charney, featured in the inaugural exhibition Pour la suite du monde in May 1992). It also presents anew some visionary works part of the Musée’s rich heritage that have been loaned to leading institutions around the world (pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Gary Hill, Alfredo Jaar, Mario Merz and Bill Viola, shown at the Tate Modern in London, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Seoul National Museum of Modern Art, and others). Finally, this is the first time some major acquisitions have been exhibited at the Musée (works by Mowry Baden, Laurent Grasso, Rodney Graham and Alain Paiement).

Main themes

The show opens with a Print and Drawing Room, Photo Gallery and Video Space. At the top of the grand staircase leading to the eight exhibition galleries, a broad corridor runs between the museum’s north and south wings. For the duration of the exhibition, this space has been transformed into an oversized, combined print, drawing and photograph room. There, visitors will see pictorially inspired drawings by Raymonde April, Geoffrey Farmer, Rodney Graham, Fernand Leduc, Fred Sandback and Irene F. Whittome, along with other works.

Produced between 1964 -the year the museum was founded- and 2010, and acquired between 1978 and 2010, the hundred-odd works have been gathered on the basis of different themes or possible readings:

  • Variable geometries: clear structure and concise content (Louise Bourgeois, Richard Long, Bruce Nauman, David Rabinowitch, Richard Serra, Claude Tousignant…)
  • The idea of space and the photographic locus: a narrative space (Carl Andre, Melvin Charney, Michel Goulet, Jana Sterbak, Spencer Tunick, Jeff Wall, Michèle Waquant…)
  • Major archetypes (David Altmejd, Nicolas Baier, Paterson Ewen, General Idea, Alfredo Jaar, Mario Merz, Giuseppe Penone, Ed Pien, Marc Quinn, Xavier Veilhan…)
  • Reference and play as modes of experience (Laurent Grasso, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Vik Muniz…)
  • Sound images and installations: music and today’s art (Jean-Pierre Gauthier, Raymond Gervais, Pascal Grandmaison, William Kentridge, Adrian Norvid…)
  • Circularity of experience: meaning at the core of contemporary turbulence (Mowry Baden, Ann Hamilton, Gary Hill…)
  • Political and feminist intents (Mona Hatoum, Shirin Neshat…)
  • Presentation and re-presentation, film and music (Rodney Graham, Angela Grauerholz, Candida Höfer…)


The Spring 2011 edition of the Magazine of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Volume 22, Number 1) devotes 11 pages to this major exhibition. Written by Josée Belisle, this comprehensive essay is amply illustrated and includes a gallery plan. The Magazine is available, free of charge, at the ticket counter.


The exhibition Déjà – The Collection on Display was organized by Josée Bélisle, curator of the Musée Collection.

In connection with the exhibition Déjà – The Collection on Display

Tours, meetings, talks

A guided tour of the show will be offered by Josée Bélisle, curator of the exhibition and curator of the Musée Collection, on Wednesday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m., in French, in the exhibition galleries. Free admission.

Art videos

An excellent way to round out your visit to the exhibition Déjà: a series of art videos screened in the Gazoduc-TQM Room. Free admission. For program details, check the Musée Magazine or the Calendar section of our website,
Tuesday to Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., plus Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
Nocturne Fridays: June 3 and September 2, 2011, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Art workshops

In the invention-friendly surroundings of the Musée’s art workshops, participants give free rein to their imaginations by creating their own artworks inspired by a piece on display at the museum, while trying out different techniques, media and materials. For program details, check the Education section of our website,

Guided Tours without reservation

Wednesdays at 5, 6 and 7:30 p.m. in French and 6:30 p.m. in English Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. in English and 3 p.m. in French

Guides in the galleries

Educator/guides will be on hand in the galleries to answer your questions and discuss the exhibition with you, on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Source and Information

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