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Coming through the Fog: les rencontres de Matthieu Brouillard et de Donigan Cumming

Erin Silver, curator


March 19 - April 20, 2012

Vernissage + Catalogue Launch: Thursday, March 29, 5:00–7:00 p.m.

Exhibition description

Coming through the Fog: les rencontres de Matthieu Brouillard et de Donigan Cumming explores common currents running through the works of Matthieu Brouillard and Donigan Cumming, and the manners in which similar impulses have been worked out on formal, emotional, and conceptual levels through the medium of photography. Through proximity, the ways by which each artist’s work can be read are irrevocably changed and multiplied, imbued with new clarity. While highlighting a community of interest as well as an affinity of sensibility between two artists of different generations, the exhibition also offers an occasion to present unusual and sometimes radical responses to debates that have shaped contemporary photography. As Brouillard and Cumming have written:

     "By bringing our work together, we wished to put these points of connection, with their differently charged electric potentials, into  play to generate energies of high intensity as well as short-circuits—moments both of closeness and of resounding rupture. This project may function like a kind of curious “machine” that at once produces and dissipates; infuses and diffuses; conditions and deconditions. A machine that is all the more efficient for the fact that it does not pursue homogeneity and conformity, transparency and illumination. A machine, rather, that produces excesses, improbable associations, and multivocal bodies that throw thought into confusion as much as they stimulate and animate it."

Returning to the photographic work that Cumming began in the early 1980s, and placing it in tandem with Brouillard’s photographic projects since 2003, this confluence represents over thirty years of artistic production. The exhibition is accompanied by the publication Coming through the Fog: les Rencontres de Matthieu Brouillard et de Donigan Cumming (SAGAMIE édition d’art, in collaboration with the FOFA Gallery), which features critical essays by Eduardo Ralickas and Erin Silver.


Matthieu Brouillard was born in Montreal. He studied visual and media arts at UQÀM. His work, primarily in photography, has been exhibited and published in Canada (Toronto, Quebec, Montreal, Alma) and abroad (France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the United States). His images are held in private and public collections in Canada, Germany and Switzerland. Narragonie, a book of his images and writings on photography, was published in 2007, with a foreword by novelist Gaétan Soucy. The artist has collaborated with theatre directors and worked on a project that combined video, literature and architecture (Les Archi-fictions, 2006). In 2010 he was lecturer in the Art History department at the University of Zürich, conducting a seminar that he entitled Photography and the Crisis of the Subject in 20th-Century French Thought. In December 2011, "Sagamie édition d’art” published Darkness Implacable; this monograph contains a selection of Brouillard's images since 2003, along with an essay by the writer James D. Campbell and an in-depth interview with the artist. Starting in spring 2012 Matthieu Brouillard will be an invited researcher in a research group in aesthetics at the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe (Germany).

Donigan Cumming is a visual artist who uses photography, video, painting, drawing, sound, and text in bookworks and multi-media installations that have been widely exhibited internationally. His work is held by the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (National Gallery of Canada), Ottawa; the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; the Musée de L'Élysée, Lausanne; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and by national museums in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Museums, galleries, as well as film and video festivals worldwide have presented solo exhibitions and surveys of his work. His artist’s books include The Stage (1991), Pretty Ribbons (1996), Gimlet Eye (2001), Lying Quiet (2004), La Somme, le Sommeil, le Cauchemar (2006), Kincora (2008), and Pencils, Ashes, Matches & Dust (2009). Splitting the Choir: The Moving Images of Donigan Cumming (2011), edited by Scott Birdwise, is the latest collection of writings about his work. In 2012, Dazibao and Vu will co-publish his work in the series Monographie.

Erin Silver completed a BFA and an MA in Art History at Concordia University and is currently a PhD candidate in Art History and Gender & Women’s Studies at McGill University. Her dissertation examines the affective, relational, and personal histories of North American feminist and queer art production, as framed by key feminist and queer alternative art institutions and spaces from 1970 to the present day. Silver has curated several exhibitions within the university community, including inter–, the fifteenth edition of Concordia University’s annual HIV/AIDS exhibition, in 2009. In 2005, she worked as curatorial assistant to the Artistic Director of Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, and sat on the Board of Directors of Montreal’s La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Canada’s oldest feminist artist-run centre, from 2009 to 2010. Silver has taught queer art history and visual culture to undergraduate students in Concordia’s Department of Art History. Her writing has been published in C Magazine, Ciel Variable, Fuse Magazine, and No More Potlucks.


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