Montréal, August 25, 2020 – The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is thrilled to unveil its rich, Québec-infused Fall programme. Opening October 8, the exhibition La machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux, invites visitors to discover the effervescence taking place in the studios of 34 local artists, mostly living and working in and around Montreal, and who have never (or rarely) shown at the MAC. Starting November 25, the public will come up close and personal with the MAC’s newly acquired works for its permanent collection, the result of this year’s commitment by the MAC to supporting Québec’s artistic eco-system during the pandemic (details available shortly).

Two further highlights of the season: the Musée is proud to present Vertigo Sea (2015), the devastatingly beautiful video piece by world-renowned British artist John Akomfrah. This will be followed in November by Canadian artist, Jeremy Shaw’s Phase Shifting Index (2020), a new seven-screen, immersive installation exploring neuroscience, as well as transcendental and meditative experimentation.

Finally in September, the MAC will host two choreographers-in-residence; Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé and Andrea Peña, in a collaboration with Danse Danse.

La machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux

Starting October 8

La machine qui enseignait des airs aux oiseaux is the product of a two-year reflection by the exhibition curators around the embodiment of corporal language and its impact on the body, movement and matter. The exhibition took shape after over 80 visits to local artists’ studios and multiple encounters with a wide variety of participants. The very concept and presentation of this innovative show evolved in an organic way over time and bears the influence of the tumultuous times we are currently experiencing.

This Fall, MAC visitors are invited to feast their eyes with freshly minted and coolly local contemporary art by 34 artists committed to engaging, topical and diverse work practices.

Vikky Alexander, Trevor Baird, Thomas Bégin, Simon Belleau, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Sandeep Bhagwati, Jacques Bilodeau, Rosika Desnoyers, Mara Eagle, Surabhi Ghosh, Carla Hemlock, Kristan Horton, Sheena Hoszko, Isuma, Kelly Jazvac, Suzanne Kite, Moridja Kitenge Banza, Karen Kraven, Marlon Kroll, Nicolas Lachance, Yen-Chao Lin, Anne Low, Luanne Martineau, Manuel Mathieu, N.E. Thing Co, Jérôme Nadeau, Isabelle Pauwels, Guillaume Adjutor Provost, Walter Scott, Erin Shirreff, Eve Tagny, Samuel Walker, Nico Williams, Thea Yabut.

With a film programme entitled chorus, talk through life, organised by guest curator, Ronald Rose-Antoinette.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue comprising an essay by Krista Lynes, short texts by Nicole Brossard, Marie-Andrée Gill, Rawi Hage, Symon Henry, Joana Joachim, Michael Nardone, Madeleine Thien, Maude Veilleux, Jacob Wren, and a collection of excerpts, edited by Raymond Boisjoly, by Maya Deren, Jeanne Favret-Saada, Branden Hookway, Alfred Jarry, Catherine Malabou, Ferdinand de Saussure and Michel Serres. 

Mark Lanctôt and François LeTourneux

John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea

Starting October 31

John Akomfrah’s three-channel video installation Vertigo Sea (2015) is complex, highly compelling and incredibly timely. Composed of excerpts from films and television programmes drawn primarily from the archives of the BBC natural history unit, along with staged footage shot by Akomfrah, it weaves together multiple narratives, both ecological and political, that portray the ocean as a site of terror and of beauty. Presented at the Venice Biennale in 2015, the work is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

Born in Accra, Ghana in 1957, John Akomfrah lives and works in London. He is an artist and filmmaker whose works are characterized by their investigations into memory, postcolonialism, temporality and aesthetics, and often explore the experiences of migrant diasporas globally.

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada.
The MAC presentation is organized by Lesley Johnstone, Curator and Head of Exhibitions and Education.

Jeremy Shaw: Phase Shifting Index

Starting November 12

Jeremy Shaw, Phase Shifting Index, 2020

A vast, immersive, seven-channel video installation, Phase Shifting Index is a major new work from Vancouver-born, Berlin-based artist, Jeremy Shaw, and the culmination of his practice of the last few years.

A narration retrospectively comments on the emergence of baffling new realities on seven screens displaying what appear to be archival documentaries of movement therapy groups dating from the 60’s to the 90’s. Beautifully combining choreography, evocations of spiritual practices, ideas drawn from neuroscience, drug-induced psychedelic revelations, club subcultures, visual effects and music, the screens conspire in an intriguing narrative that unfolds into thrilling chaos. It builds to an inevitable, yet surprising, “trans-temporal” synchronized collective ecstasy – with all the subjects miraculously performing the same moves.

The MAC is the only Canadian venue of the tour, initiated in Paris last July where the work premiered at Centre Pompidou.

John Zeppetelli

Two MAC residencies in collaboration with Danse Danse

September 9 to 20, 2020 : Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé
September 23 to 27, 2020 : Andrea Peña

The choreographers Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé and Andrea Peña will be in residence at the MAC’s Beverly Webster Rolph hall, broadening several aspects of their artistic practice. An initiative by Danse Danse in collaboration with the MAC, offering museum-goers virtual, behind-the-scenes access onto the creative process.

Wishing to champion and present street dance and dancers onto the contemporary stage, Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Landé founded the dance company, Ebnfloh in 2015. Assimilating a number of artistic disciplines, she has evolved a choreographic language inspired by early and current hip-hop styles. 

Andrea Peña is a multi-disciplinary artist, whose method combines installation, choreography, design and conceptual inquiry. Her dance creations unfurl well beyond simple movement, evoking vulnerability, complexity and somatic physicality.

COVID-19: a visitor’s guide to prepare your visit

The MAC has put in place all the sanitary measures laid out by the Quebec government. Visitors are recommended to reserve their tickets online before their arrival and to consult the visitor’s guide available on the museum website.


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 Government of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Musée d’art contemporain de montréal

Located in the heart of the Quartier des Spectacles, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal makes today’s art a vital part of Montréal and Québec life. For more than fifty years, this vibrant museum has presented local and international artists to an ever-growing public. It is also a place of discovery, offering visitors experiences that are continually changing, new, and often unexpected and stirring. The MAC presents temporary exhibitions of prominent contemporary artists who probe and provide insight into our society, and shows works drawn from the museum’s extensive collection; spanning digital and sound works, installations, paintings, sculptures, ephemeral pieces, and more. In addition to familiarizing the general public to contemporary art with its wide range of educational activities, the MAC organizes exceptional performances and events during the year. It is a window onto a myriad of avant-garde expressions that extend the reach of art throughout the city and beyond.

Source and Information

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