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General curator: Louise Déry, in collaboration with Anne Philippon and Philippe Dumaine
Guest curators: Diane Gistal, Ariane De Blois, Musée d’art actuel / Département des invisibles and Bénédicte Ramade
Artists: 16 artists from Québec
Exhibition period: As of September 2020

June 11, 2020 – Curated successively by Diane Gistal, Ariane De Blois, the Musée d’art actuel / Département des invisibles and Bénédicte Ramade, a new artistic initiative will take place within a microsite produced by Galerie de l’UQAM for the entirety of the 2020-2021 season, under the title QUADrature.

The context
The project is inspired by the work Quad (1980) by Samuel Beckett, a television play involving four interpreters who make their way around a quadrangular stage, following rigorously determined lateral and diagonal paths. It was first shown in 1981 under the author’s direction. The interpreters, of similar stature and undifferentiated gender, wore long hooded tunics which covered their faces. Although the original script has different variations – many established by Beckett himself – it presents, in a somber, stark and even abstract manner, all possible combinations of movements, steps and anonymous silhouettes passing each other without ever touching, leaving center stage empty at all times.

The concept
What inspired Louise Déry is how much Beckett’s work resonates with the current worldwide pandemic. With the former, we are met with a television screen, being confined to a precise space, anonymity, veiled faces, repeated routes; with the later, digital screens, masks worn by more and more individuals, routine walks limited to specific sectors, distancing and the absence of physical contact. Between two people, the center is always empty. Beckett calls this the “danger zone”.

The rules of the game
The general curator invited four others to each develop one of the project’s four acts, as well as involve four artists. This initiative aims to bring about new curatorial approaches involving artists from Québec, with existing, transformed or new works created for virtual screens. These exhibitions will be displayed successively with the help of a specifically designed microsite, reflecting the principals of Quad’s script. They will ultimately be reunited in a fifth presentation, considered a global conversation that will present the work of four curators and 16 artists. In addition to the works, each exhibition will be accompanied by texts written by the curators as well as online educational public activities (videoconferences, chat sessions, social media initiatives, etc.).

The aim
Up until now, Galerie de l’UQAM has produced several major virtual exhibitions: La science dans l’art (2007-2012), The Painting Project (2014-2018) and Canadian Art as Historical Act (2018-2023) as part of the Virtual Museum of Canada. The gallery has also adapted projects initially thought for its exhibition spaces for online platforms, such as ce qui du monde se prélève permet à l’œil de s’ouvrir (2020). With QUADrature, designed specifically for the virtual world, the desire to adapt the project as soon as possible to the gallery’s physical spaces remains, seeking to give the works their full material and experiential existence for the public’s benefit.

About the curators

20200611 diane gistal 1

Diane Gistal is a researcher, independent curator and founder of Nigra Iuventa. A graduate in History from Université Paris VIII, she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Literature at Université du Québec à Montréal. Her research interests focus on the “lieu de mémoire” in Haitian literature, and her curatorial approach is characterized by the creation of dialogue between visual arts, literature and humanities. Subalternes (CDEx, 2019) and je sais pourquoi l’oiseau chante en cage (Fonderie Darling, Centre culturel Georges-Vanier and CDEx, 2020) are among her most recent curatorial projects.

20200611 ariane de blois

Ariane De Blois holds a PhD in Art History from McGill University and has been working as an author, researcher and curator in the contemporary art scene for the past fifteen years. Presently the artistic director at Plein sud, centre d’exposition en art actuel (Longueuil), she was on esse arts+opinions magazine’s editorial board from 2014 to 2018. Her various curatorial projects were shown at the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec, the Havana Biennial, Stadtgalerie in Bern and the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City.

20200611 maad i 1

The Musée d’art actuel / Département des invisibles (MAAD-I) reveals interdisciplinary and intercultural artistic practices in contemporary art from Québec and Canada, including the plural ethnic make-up of society. A place of belonging, it aspires to celebrate Montréal, Québec and Canada’s creative diversity, and seeks to bring about encounters with immigrant and First Nations artists. It aims to contribute to the sharing of power in art institutions to democratize their authority and decolonize art’s historic narratives, notably with its collection. Artist Stanley Février is the Director and Chief Curator of MAAD-I and art historian Nuria Carton de Grammont its Assistant to the Director and Curator.

20200611 bénédicte ramade 1

Bénédicte Ramade is an art historian and lecturer at Université du Québec à Montréal and Université de Montréal. A critic and independant curator, she has developed an expertise in environmental and ecological issues as well as the anthropocenisation of knowledge. She is currently working on publishing her doctoral thesis in Art Sciences, Vers un art anthropocène : L’art écologique américain pour prototype, with Presses du réel (2020). Her most recent exhibition project, Apparaître-Disparaître, took place in fall 2019 at the Grantham Foundation for the Arts and the Environment.

A video clip
Samuel Beckett, Quad I+II, 1981, Betacam SP, PAL, colour, sound, Centre Georges Pompidou Collection, France

This is the first televised iteration of Quad, directed by Beckett and broadcasted by Süddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany on October 8, 1981, in two different screenplays. A 100,000-year intermission was to take place between the two according to a comment by the author during rehearsals.

The book
Samuel Beckett, Quad et autres pièces pour la télévision, followed by L’Épuisé by Gilles Deleuze, Paris, Éditions de Minuit, 1992, 106 p.

Support provided by

20200611 logos QUADrature galerie

Galerie de l’UQAM
Judith-Jasmin Pavilion, Room J-R120
1400 Berri, corner of Sainte-Catherine East, Montréal
Berri-UQAM Metro
Free admission

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Source : Julie Meunier, Press Relations Officer
Press Relations and Special Events Division
UQAM Communications Service
Phone: 514 895-0134

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