007 | MARYSE GOUDREAU (ESCUMINAC, QC) | The Whale is a Massive Body of Knowledge


Maryse Goudreau has initiated various interventions that question the identity of a population turning its back on its maritime dimension. The obsolescence, even the disappearance, of several seaports served the artist as an iconic testing ground upon which to create an analogy with traditional photographic processes as they, too, wither away. She revives images of the past to address issues related to the present. Her latest project, presented at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery (Montreal) in May 2015, revisited the records of a time when the government was seeking to eradicate the beluga. To do this, the artist amalgamated documentary codes with amateur participatory theatre, seeking to free the images of their static relationship to an official history, and to create narrative, literary, pictural spaces and so on.

The Whale Is a Massive Body of Knowledge

On the occasion of Songlines, Maryse Goudreau will investigate the phenomenon of whales that regularly wash ashore on the Magdalen Islands. The artist wishes to exchange with those who in 2014 reconstructed a sperm whale skeleton, now on display at the Magdalen Islands’ Musée de la mer. She will also scrutinize the personal archives of hikers who have observed and photographed whales that were beached or floated at sea, and she will study the places occupied or traversed by their remains. A participatory photoshoot in the form of a docudrama will take place through a collaboration with the Musée de la mer.

Maryse Goudreau works across photography, performance, video and community intervention. She offers a sociological, political and anthropological point of view, which leads viewers to think about the importance of social history. She breathes new life into images of the past as a way of addressing current issues. For Goudreau, memory is a weapon. Using a hybrid approach, she attempts to release images from their static relationship to official histories and create narrative, literary, pictorial and other kinds of spaces.

Maryse Goudreau lives in Escuminac on the Gaspé coast and in Montreal. Recent exhibitions include Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary Photography (Toronto), the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery (Montreal), VU Centre de production et de diffusion de la Photographie (Québec), Galerie Hugues Charbonnneau (Montreal), Galería Punto (Spain) and Galleri Losjen (Norway). Collections include: the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the City of Montreal and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, among others. In 2011, Goudreau received a prize from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for her work on the Gaspe coast.