Clara Gutsche, Portraits d’enfants. Children — Jérôme Delgado

[Fall 2022]

By Jérôme Delgado

Optica, un centre d’art contemporain, Montréal
9.04.2022 — 11.06.2022

Gazing at children, as Clara Gutsche has done – and still does – is to lean into thresholds that open to imminent changes. It’s to examine what makes the familiar different or, on the contrary, what familiarity may arise from difference. The theme of childhood speaks of family, of belonging to a group, and, at the end of this life stage, of personal affirmation. The exhibition that Optica has devoted to Gutsche, a pioneer of social photography in Quebec, covers more than a half-century of work. It is not a retrospective, however: the emblematic series Les couvents (1990–98) did not fit within the theme. Portraits d’enfants. Children, curated by Optica’s director, Marie-Josée Lafortune, nevertheless gives a strong idea of Gutsche’s signature and is among the shows offering belated tribute – or rediscovery – including, for example, those for Claire Beaugrand-Champagne (at the McCord Museum, in 2013) and Sorel Cohen (at Vox, in 2021).

Childhood is a logical choice for an overview of Gutsche’s practice, as the theme was core to her practice in the 1970s and 1980s and re-emerged more recently, in Siblings and Singles (2008–22). These two periods – yesterday and today, to be succinct – are divided between Optica’s two galleries. The distance is also measured in visual terms: black and white for the earlier images, and colour for the more recent ones…

Freelance journalist Jérôme Delgado is the publishing coordinator at Ciel variable.

[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 121 – WANDERINGS ]
[ Complete article and more images, in digital version, available here: Clara Gutsche, Portraits d’enfants. Children — Jérôme Delgado ]