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Pierre Dalpé



September 4 – October 12, 2012 (York Corridor Vitrines)

Vernissage: Thursday, September 13, 5–7 p.m.

Monograph Launch: Saturday, September 22, 3–6 p.m.

Exhibition description

The works exhibited in the York Corridor Vitrines are a selection of images from two bodies of work: Clothes Minded (1990 - 1996) and Personae (1997 - ongoing). Clothes Minded is a series of environmental portraits—comprised primarily of diptychs—which I began producing in 1990 while studying photography at Concordia University. The impetus for this body of work was my interest in gender-play, stereotypes, and queer theory by writers such as Judith Butler, Marjorie Garber, and Esther Newton. This series, which featured my subjects in various stages of drag, explored the gender binaries of masculinity and femininity, while also shedding light on the ambiguous grey zones in between. At its core was the premise that we are all in various forms of ‘drag’ in everyday life since everything we wear is, in essence, a socially constructed costume.

My Personae series grew from the ideas explored in Clothes Minded but is formally quite different. While still exploring notions of gender, the Personae work looks at the broader spectrum of identity, positing the idea that we, as individuals, potentially embody a multitude of personae—that identity is fluid and malleable and not predetermined. This series involves a collaborative process where I allow my subjects to exorcise their alter egos by performing an invented scenario or narrative within the proscenium arch of my camera frame. My intention with this work is to play with the aesthetics and traditions of documentary photography, as well as aspects of identity and performance. Through this subversion viewers are duped into believing false truths, leaving them to question everything contained within the frame.

Both the Clothes Minded and Personae series will be featured in a monograph, to be launched at FOFA Gallery on September 22nd.

About the artist

Pierre Dalpé was born in Kindersley, Saskatchewan, and moved to Montréal at the age of 7, where he has since lived and worked. In 1993, he received a B.F.A. in film studies and photography from Concordia University. Over the past two decades Dalpé has produced several bodies of work including Clothes Minded (1990–1996), Backstage (1992–ongoing), Wigstock (1992–1995), Personae (1997–ongoing) and Teatro Mexico (2010).  His work is a fusion of analog and digital photography, and explores the interconnected relationships between the body, identity, disguise and performance. Navigating between documentary reportage and staged mise en scène, Dalpé questions preconceived notions about photographic portraiture and narrative representations.

Dalpé’s work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Russia, Mexico and the United Kingdom. His photographs are part of private collections, and have been published in a variety of journals, magazines, newspapers and periodicals. He is the recipient of numerous grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts. He has participated in artist-in-residence programs at The Banff Centre; The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon, and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec’s studio residency in Mexico City.

Pierre Daplé is a staff member at Concordia University and alumnus.


The launch for the monograph will take place on September 22nd from 3–6 p.m.

The monograph will also include a small selection of images from the series which preceded Personae entitled Clothes Minded. Included in the monograph will be three critical essays written by the following writers: Penny Cousineau-Levine, Dayna McLeod, and Karl-Gilbert Murray.


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