Mathieu Valade

Saguenay, Québec, Canada

CIRCA art actuel

372, rue Ste-Catherine O #444, Montréal, QC H3B 1A2

My artistic practice explores the relationship of contradictory reports between simple shapes and the images that they can evoke once diverted. The production of sculptural objects or drawings, always with a concern to put forward a strong plasticity, sees itself hybridized to simple elements of representations (typography, logos, symbols, geometric shapes) in order to raise new interpretation potentials.

Considering the artistic object as an artifice, the sculptures and drawings that I propose require the exercise of making a certain "jump" into the illusion: associate the graphic or plastic components in order to identify their image, open a drawer, enter the sculpture, etc. The image is never completely given; it is to be constructed. It is proposed by the juxtaposition of different events: plastic, forms, breakthroughs, repetitions and light signals events, as a set whose elements take sense by an exercise of combining signs.

Many of my works revisit genres, modes of production or even artworks from moments in the history of art for which I have a special interest. Thus, a kind of dialogue has been installed in my practice with minimalism, conceptual art and modern art in general. Without being the key to reading my works, this quotation aspect provides a second reading level, as if they contained a latent code coming from the history of art.

In my sculptural practice, the work often integrates itself to the place, so as to draw its meaning from it or to highlight its function: hay bales in the field, the column at the museum, the advertising panel near the road. The scale of the objects confronts both the place and the visitor, by its dimensions resembling those of the monument. The result is a practice neighbouring in situ, where the context feeds the intervention and where the intervention feeds the context.

In your artistic itinerary, what perspective connects you to the Brave New World theme?

The project I am proposing is based on a location in the novel, the one where the fetuses grow in jars. The installation that I will present comes close to that place in its external form. It consists of several frosted glass prisms, all identical, as the jars. Furthermore, the content of the prisms is not referring to the novel. These sculptural compositions play with the vocabulary and the scope of representation of traditional still lifes (citrus, furs, fabrics, clocks, bones, preserved birds, plants, etc.). Through these compositions of objects coming from a traditional representation, I integrate contemporary objects that could appeal to the ideas of vanitas and memento mori, but also to current concepts such as planned obsolescence or the anonymity of digital interrelations.

These compositions are then introduced into the frosted acrylic prisms (Plexiglas), as if it were glass bells, showing bits of internal compositions across their dulled surfaces. These surfaces act as screens, hinting forms that lose their definitions as they get more distant from the eye.


Mathieu Valade is from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, in the Montérégie region. He obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from UQAM in 2003 and a Master of Université Laval in the same discipline in 2005. He has to his credit several exhibitions in Canada and abroad, including solo exhibitions at Galerie Duplex100m2 in Sarajevo, at the Latitude 53 Centre (Edmonton, AB) and at the Circa Exhibition Centre (Montreal) and at Le Lieu Centre (Quebec). He also participated in many group events, including the Fourth Manifestation internationale d’art de Québec and C’est arrivé près de chez vous at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec.

He is a founding member of the Pique-Nique collective, an organization devoted since 2001 to spontaneous intrusion of art in public context. Pique-Nique has several artistic events to his credit. Mathieu Valade also teaches as a professor at the Université du Québec in Chicoutimi.

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