[Fall 2019] By Pierre Dessureault [Excerpt] In a body of work accumulated over more than sixty years, Dave Heath (1931–2016), a Canadian photographer born in the United States, challenged the qualities of the photographic medium and its techniques. He constantly probed, through images, Montaigne’s dictum that “every man carries the entire form of the human […]
[Summer 2019] By Pierre Dessureault “Truth may not be the goal, but it may be the way.”1 [Excerpt] The Congo Tribunal, documentary ﬁlm by Milo Rau, a German–Swiss co-production (2017), was presented as part of the exhibition L’imaginaire radical: le contrat social at VOX September 13 to December 15, 2018. The International Institute of Political […]
[Winter 2019] By Pierre Dessureault [Excerpt] The exhibition Camerart, produced by Galerie Optica and presented in Montreal from December 16, 1974, to January 14, 1975, was a pivotal event in the photography/art debate in Quebec. Although a place in the art market had been carved out for photography in the late 1960s, museums were proceeding […]
[Fall 2018] By Pierre Dessureault [Excerpt] Photography. The exhibition Michel Campeau – Life before Digital,1 a retrospective of Michel Campeau’s approach in the early 1970s, offers a wellrounded view of his ideas on photography, on the figure of the photographer, and on that of the collector who finally took over from the producer of images. […]
[Spring-Summer 2018] By Pierre Dessureault [Excerpt] At Expo 67, a huge celebration of human progress and great festival of the image in all of its technological and expressive possibilities, the Christian Pavilion designed by Charles Gagnon offered a counterpoint to the event’s sea of triumphant optimism. This small pavilion, conceived by its designer as a […]
[Winter 2018] By Pierre Dessureault [Excerpt] It seems less and less possible to analyze photography and photographic history without talking about production protocols, dissemination strategies, and contexts for conservation and display in public collections. Andrea Kunard situates her undertaking in regard to this position from the start:1 “Inasmuch as a presentation of selected works highlights […]
[Fall 2017] By Pierre Dessureault [Excerpt] The NFB’s Still Photography Division was created in 1941, as a Canadian government information agency under the direction of John Grierson. By 1985, when the small unit’s production, now a collection of photographs, became the core of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Division had produced some 250,000 […]
August 18, 2020 [originally published in CV106 in Spring 2017] — In the early 1920s, when Josef Sudek was becoming established as a photographer, Prague had emerged as a point of convergence for avant-garde movements from France, Germany, and Russia. After the dismantlement of the Austro-Hungarian Empire following the Great War, members of these movements were interested in rethinking art – both how it was practised and its relationship with life…
May 12, 2020 [originally published in CV105 in Winter 2017] — Over the years, Montreal has been the subject of a number of major documentary projects. We might think of Gabor Szilasi’s prolific production – in particular, as he recorded development in the city, his photographs of St. Catherine Street (1977–79) in which he immortalized the configuration of the stores along the street…
May 13, 2019 [originally published in CV100 in Spring 2015] — “The nineteenth-century dispute over the relative artistic merits of painting and photography seems misguided and confused today”. Does Walter Benjamin’s statement, dating from the 1930s, put a final stop to the debate over whether photography naturally belongs in museums?
May 14, 2018 [originally published in CV95 in Fall 2013] — By a strange coincidence, two exhibitions – a Donald McCullin retrospective and Collision: Conflict and Its Consequences – at the National Gallery of Canada, as well as a film, Dans un océan d’images, featured at the recent International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) in Montreal, have presented a wide range of practices related to how photographs portray war and social conflict…
March 19, 2018 [originally published in CV94 in Spring 2013] — Richard Baillargeon’s Anticoste is presented as a complex composition of heterogeneous materials organized in groups to create vast networks of significances, echoes, and resonances and to constitute a reflection both on the history of Anticosti and on the narrative processes implemented in knowledge and the relationship with the past.
October 30, 2017 [originally published in French in CV92 in Fall 2012] — Thomas Kneubühler’s Under Currents takes us through the hydroelectric installations at James Bay and the complex network of exchanges between North and South that their construction has established. What is initially striking in this coherent whole is the rigorous organization of various elements in a series of groupings to form a well-marked path that is constructed bit by bit, in successive layers, with each of the carefully defined and delimited components opening new perspectives and adding a stratum of meaning to the plural discourse that has been set in motion.
December 20, 2016 [originally published in CV88, Spring 2011] — Pierre Gaudard is one of the rare photographers whose photographs are not on the Web. Absent from the photography scene since the mid-1980s because he returned to France and because of the gradual disappearance of the documentary genre from institutions devoted to photography, his name was suddenly resurrected in a press release announcing his death…
September 22, 2016 [originally published in Winter 2011] — All of the large-scale colour photographs making up Susan Dobson’s recent Toronto exhibition “Dislocations” contribute in varying ways to her notion of dislocation as a modification – as she puts it on her Web site – of “time, space and geography, where surroundings can seem both familiar and foreign.” She notes, as well, that “a pervasive and persistent form of déjà vu dominates the work, derived in part through the combination of digitally manipulated images with photographs shot in the documentary mode.”
[Summer 2008] In today’s world, the blurring between the urban landscape and the mediascape increasingly typifies our experience of our environment. Robert Walker’s body of work illustrates this blurring in a remarkable manner. The images presented in this portfolio span multiple continents and decades. Over the years, illusionary compositions and vibrant colours have become trademarks […]
[Fall 1995] by Pierre Dessureault A museum is not only the sum of the objects in its collections but the history of an institution and a perspective on a particular area of creative expression. The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, formerly the Still Photography Division of the National Film Board of Canada, was established in […]
[Fall 1995] by Pierre Dessureault Associated curator, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa Since settling in Montreal on their arrival in Canada, Clara Gutsche and David Miller have worked together on many projects, producing a remarkable body of photographic work that portrays the city and its residents. There are few examples of couples in photography […]
[Fall 1993] This article was originally published only in French. No translation is available. Abstract Benoît Aquin’s images are difficult to classify. They assume all the appearances of documentary photography. Like many photographers born during the sixties, he chose to follow this tradition that characterizes the production of an entire decade. These photographers have refused […]