Zoë Tousignant, The Continuing History
An interview by Michel Hardy-Vallée
Zoë Tousignant is the curator of photography at the McCord Museum. She holds a PhD in art history from Concordia University and an MA in museum studies from the University of Leeds. Her research focuses on twentieth-century and contemporary photography produced in Quebec and Canada. Her many curatorial projects have included close collaborations with such photog- raphers as Serge Clément, Carlos Ferrand, Marisa Portolese, and Gabor Szilasi. Her essays have appeared in numerous catalogues, monographs, and periodicals. She has been a regular contributor to Ciel variable for over ten years. Her recent publications include the book Gabor Szilasi: The Art World in Montreal, 1960–1980 (McCord Museum and McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2019) and the collection of essays Les lieux des savoirs photographiques : le laboratoire, co-edited with Martha Langford (FAEP and Artexte, 2021).
Michel Hardy-Vallée: What were you most eager to do upon starting your mandate at the McCord? Zoë Tousignant: There were many things, but the rst thing I had been looking forward to working on is something I’ve been developing since 2021 (and actually it has been in the works for a number of years). I’m curating an exhibition on the Disraeli project, a collective documentary portrait produced in 1972 by Claire Beaugrand-Champagne, Michel Campeau, Roger Charbonneau, and Cedric Pearson. The exhibition will mark the fiftieth anniversary of this “photographic event,” as I’ve been calling it. But the show is not purely celebratory: it will also talk about the aftermath of the project – the way the images were circulated in the press and received by the residents of Disraeli. The idea is to show the many sides of this famously controversial story.
The show is opening in October 2022, so I’m excited that – a mere seven months after taking up my new mandate as photography curator at the McCord – I’ll have the opportunity to present in exhibition form my approach to the history of photography…
Michel Hardy-Vallée is a historian of photography and Visiting Scholar at the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art, Concordia University. His research is concerned with photography books, visual narration, interdisciplinary practices, and the archive, in the contexts of Quebec and Canada. He has published his work in History of Photography and through a number of edited collections and conference papers. He is currently working on a monograph about Montreal photographer John Max (1936–2011).
[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 121 – WANDERINGS ]
[ Complete article and more images, in digital version, available here: Zoë Tousignant, The Continuing History — Michel Hardy-Vallée ]