Manuel Mathieu, Survivance: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts | Montreal, QC
From the montreal Museum of Fine Arts website:
The painting by Montrealer of Haitian origin Manuel Mathieu grabs the viewer, projecting him into a world of contrasts, dissonances, tensions and poetry. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is proud to welcome this committed creator as part of his first solo within a museum institution in America. Survivance brings together some twenty paintings never before presented in Canada in addition to an installation specially designed for the MMFA - where the roots and the artist's memory are revealed little by little, punctuating the lively and striking compositions.
A prolific multidisciplinary artist one of the 2020 Sobey Prize winners, Mathieu is fueled by his existence. Some of his works bear the mark of reflections begun during periods of convalescence, following two serious accidents in London and Montreal. Slowing down and confinement will have allowed him to grow, to be more attentive to his emotions and, thus, to better understand his place in the world and the importance of preserving the imagination of his native land.
These revelations pushed him to take an interest in the consequences of the genocidal dictatorships of Duvalier father and son (1957 to 1986) on his country, Haiti. Relying on a complex family heritage and the Haitian geopolitical context, he approaches his identity from different angles: his maternal grandfather was colonel during the first years of Jean-Claude Duvalier's reign, while several members of his paternal family disappeared during the diet. Mathieu, who sees the Duvalier era as a collateral damage to the Cold War, does not see himself in this world as an island.
The public will discover in Survivance a fluid and expressive painting, almost expressionist, sometimes abstract, which reveals vaguely figurative landmarks. We can detect a conceptual posture where ideas and issues are coded through different signs, the composition of the paintings and a vivid and contrasting palette - an invitation to enter a vibrant universe of colors, textures and intriguing shapes.
The title of the exhibition is inspired by the work La survivance des lucioles (2009) by Georges Didi-Huberman, a remarkable reading for Mathieu. The survival and resilience of the fireflies, from which light emanates, are represented by the author as the keys to truth and freedom. For the artist, “survival” evokes the soul of those who disappear or what remains of the latter.
Manuel MathieuAutoportrait, 2017Acrylic, asoil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape on canvas70 x 80 in
177.8 x 203.2 cm
Manuel MathieuAnonymous Black Baby, 2018Mixed media on canvas80 x 75 in
203.2 x 190.5 cm
Manuel MathieuRempart, 2017Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape80 x 90 in
203.2 x 228.6 cm
Manuel MathieuSt. Jak 1, 2018Mixed media on canvas90 x 75 in
228.6 x 190.5 cm
Manuel Mathieu38, 2018Acrylic, oil stick, chalk, charcoal, spray paint, and tape68 x 72 in
172.7 x 182.9 cm
Manuel Mathieu, Ouroboros, 2020