Montréal, February 4, 2015 — The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MaC) is energetically continuing the exciting new programming launched with its fiftieth anniversary as it hosts three presentations by artists who observe the human experience through highly revealing prisms. Montréal audiences will have the opportunity to discover For the Last and First Time, a two-part exhibition by French conceptual artist Sophie Calle, who is one of the most important artists of her generation. The MAC is also delighted to welcome the exhibition Simon Starling: Metamorphology, an introduction to the work of this British artist, winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2005, whose exploration of the idea of metamorphosis is based on a painstaking research process. Finally, visitors are invited to view The Forgotten Space, an essay film made by American artist and art theorist Allan Sekula in collaboration with Noël Burch, which takes us into the fascinating world of global maritime trade and its socio-economic and ecological impacts. The Sophie Calle and Simon Starling exhibitions will run from February 5 to May 10, 2015, while The Forgotten Space is screening until March 15.

For the Last and First Time by Sophie Calle

Internationally renowned French artist Sophie Calle makes a splendid debut at the MXC with For the Last and First Time. This exhibition, which reveals great artistic sensibility, consists of two recent projects: The Last Image (2010), a series of photographs accompanied by texts, and Voir la mer (2011), a series of digital films.

These two bodies of work are in some way a continuation of a piece produced by Calle in 1986, titled The Blind. In that case, the artist asked blind people to describe beauty. One of them answered: “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is the sea, an endless sea.” It was in Istanbul, years later, that Calle chose to pursue her poetic investigation of blindness, beauty and the sea. The installation, accompanied by the soothing sound of waves, first presents The Last Image, a series of photographs, tinged with melancholy, for which Calle asked people who had lost their sight suddenly to recall the last thing they saw. For Voir la mer, she managed to find residents of Istanbul—a city surrounded by water—who had never seen the sea. she filmed each
of these captivating, memorable maritime encounters.

For more than thirty years, Sophie Calle has used photography, writing, video and performance to produce audacious, even disturbing, works that capture and relate moments that reverberate with human truth. “Between public and private, art and life, emotional abandon and clinical procedure,” says John Zeppetelli, her art draws us into an open dialogue. The exhibition at the MAC is emblematic of the approach followed by an artist who, in works with complex narrative threads, gives universal resonance to subjects rooted in individual experience.

For the Last and First Time was presented at the Sakip Sabanci Museum as part of the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011); at Chapelle Saint-Martin du Méjan as part of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles and at the Shanghai Biennale (2012); and at the Hara Museum of Contemporary art, Tokyo (2013). Calle has shown her work at the Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2014); Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2013); Louisiana Museum of Modern art, Humlebaek, Denmark, and Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2010); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, and Palais des Beaux-arts, Brussels (2009); and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2003). She represented France at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). Her work may be found in the collections of the Musée  national d’art moderne–Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


For the Last and First Time was organized by Josée Bélisle, curator of the Musée Collection.

Simon Starling: Metamorphology

The MAC is proud to host this exhibition devoted to Simon Starling, winner of the Turner Prize in 2005. Although his works have been shown extensively around the globe and may be found in the world’s leading collections, until recently he has never been the subject of a major North American exhibition. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Simon Starling: Metamorphology presents a survey of his output of the last decade or so.

The show includes Bird in Space 2004 (2004), a two-tonne steel plate that intertwines two moments in time: a controversy over a Brancusi sculpture in 1923 and the U.S. Government’s increase in the tax on imported steel in 2004; The Long Ton (2009), two blocks of marble, one Italian, the other Chinese, suspended from the ceiling; and Flaga 1972-2000 (2002), a Fiat 126 hung on the wall. The installation Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) (2010-2011) features such disparate characters as James Bond, Henry Moore, sir Anthony Blunt, Colonel Sanders and a Japanese Noh mask maker. Pictures for an Exhibition, a suite of thirty-six gelatin silver prints, exemplifies starling’s two-pronged research, one historical and the other photographic. Prompted by two archival photographs, he tracked the various peregrinations of sculptures by Constantin Brancusi, from their presentation in a 1927 exhibition at the arts Club of Chicago to the present day. Once he found them, he photographed them in their current locations: private collectors’ homes, museum vaults and
exhibition spaces.

Starling explores the notion of recurrence from two main perspectives: the materials and tools of his trade, and the principles of cycle, circuit and circulation. A keen observer, he is interested in different transformative processes, most notably the conception of metamorphosis and the regenerative potential of art. His images, sculptures and installations are based on historical research that often centres around key modernist figures, such as Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi and Marcel Duchamp. In these narratives, “art and design, science, global environmental or economic issues are leavened by a gentle humour, resulting in a singular alliance of gravitas and irony,” notes John Zeppetelli. While these works certainly catch the viewer’s eye, their titles and the ample descriptions that accompany them also give us a full appreciation of their rich historical resonance.

Born in 1967 in Epsom, United Kingdom, Simon Starling lives and works in Copenhagen. He studied at the Glasgow School of Art, and it was in that city that he gained an international reputation. He has exhibited extensively in Europe, Asia and Australia, often producing site-responsive works. He was short-listed for the 2004 Hugo Boss Prize and won the 2005 Turner Prize.

Simon Starling: Metamorphology is curated by Dieter Roelstraete and organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Pictures for an Exhibition is a project organized by the Arts Club of Chicago.


The Montréal presentation of Simon Starling: Metamorphology was organized by Lesley Johnstone, curator at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Public Programs

A talk will be given by artist Simon Starling and exhibition curator Lesley Johnstone on Wednesday, February 4 at 4 p.m. in Beverley Webster rolph Hall. The talk will take place in English and admission is free of charge.

In addition, tying in with the exhibition Simon Starling: Metamorphology, the MAC is presenting the ninth Max and Iris Stern International Symposium on March 27 and 28, 2015.

The Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch

Finally, the public is invited to become reacquainted with the “forgotten space” through which nearly ninety percent of the world’s cargo passes: the sea, which we tend to overlook until some disaster strikes. In The Forgotten Space, filmmakers Allan Sekula and Noël Burch examine the highly topical issue of maritime transportation by container, an American invention from the 1950s that continues to extend its domination all over the world, leaving in its wake numerous and sometimes painful consequences. “In a weightless world of electronic capital, where money seems transacted in the ether and
profits are nanosecond calculations, it is easy to forget the toil of millions worldwide involved in the sea trade,” explains John Zeppetelli. This dense and fascinating feature-length film takes us on a voyage around the world—from Rotterdam to Hong Kong, Los Angeles to Bilbao and Guangdong province in China—via numerous interviews and commentaries that tell us about the “100,000 invisible ships and one and a half million invisible seafarers binding the world together through trade.”

Photographer, writer, filmmaker and art theorist Allan Sekula was born in 1951 in Erie, Pennsylvania, and died in 2013 in Los Angeles. From his time as a young student at the University of San Diego, where he took classes with Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse, he applied a critical approach to the mechanisms of capitalism. He published a number of books, including Fish Story (1995), a wide-ranging portrait of global maritime trade made up of photographs and texts. Several museums, beginning with Witte de With in Rotterdam, have devoted solo exhibitions to this extensive investigative effort.

Born in San Francisco in 1932, Noël Burch has lived and worked in France since 1951. He is known for his numerous theoretical writings on film, compiled in books such as Theory of Film Practice and La lucarne de l’Infini. He has made six other films, including La Fiancée du danger (2005) and  Cuba entre chien et louve (1997).

The Forgotten Space (2010) won the special Orizzonti Jury Prize at the 2010 Venice Film Festival.


The Forgotten Space was organized by Louise Simard, head of multimedia at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

Art Workshops

In spaces conducive to creativity, the art workshops let participants give free rein to their imaginations by producing their own, original works inspired by a piece on display at the Musée, while trying out different techniques, media and materials. For full program details, check the Education page on our website,

Guided Tours Without Reservation

Guided tours are offered to visitors on Wednesday evenings and on Sundays.

Wednesday: 5, 6 and 7:30 p.m. (in French) and 6:30 p.m. (in English)
Sunday: 1:30 p.m. (in English) and 3 p.m. (in French)


To encourage visits to the Musée d’art contemporain at the end of the day and on weekends, our hours have been extended. The MAC is now open on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal expresses its warmest thanks to the Consulat général de France à Québec for its support for the exhibition For the Last and First Time by sophie Calle and to the British Council for its support for Simon Starling: Metamorphology.

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 Collection Loto-Québec, the MAC’s principal partner. The MAC also thanks its media partner, La Presse +.

Source and Information

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