Montreal Artist Marie-Sègolène's First Solo Exhibit Aphrodite/Venus Is A Must
For her first solo exhibit entitled Aphrodite/Venus, Montreal-born artist Marie Ségolène attempts to deconstruct the archetype of Aphrodite. Through photography, video and live performance, Aphrodite/Venus is an exploration of desire, identity and mythology. The exhibit is happening as of this Thursday August 11th in Montreal at the POPOPGallery from 5-8pm.
Focusing primarily on the deconstruction of historical narratives, my practice is directed towards the transformation and archiving of diverse found materials, collected through performance and video explorations. Found objects, drawings, poetry and wooden sculptures, are combined with ritualistic performance and re-contextualized into multi-media installations investigating female voices in history and commemorating their strength and resilience.
This intimate exhibit is a culmination of four months of collaboration namely with videographer John Londono, photographers Olivier Gariépy, Charles Halsey (NYC) and Stacy Lee, designer and stylist Courtney Pedersen, and jeweler Garrett Johnson (blessedpoppy). Aphrodite is exposed as a projection of desires and fantasies rooted in misconceptions of women identities. Throughout the series, Aphrodite becomes a metaphor for women, for the idea of “the artist” as well as for the an unquenchable thirst for perfection.
We were very intrigued by all of this, so we decided to ask her a few questions through e-mail and she delivered.
How would you describe yourself as an artist in under 140 characters?
Feminist interdisciplinary performance artist
What inspired you to put together this solo exhibit?
This exhibit is the culmination of several months of research and experimentation around the symbol of Aphrodite.
I was initially drawn to the persona of the goddess as a symbol of desire and sexuality as well feminine power. Only to discover, as I unraveled the various mythological narratives in which she appears, that her morphing character is mostly an accumulation of projections. Aphrodite is either: pure and clothed – and unattainable, or angry and jealous – vengefully instigating discord, or she is a temptress. All these contradictions seem to always be kept separate, in representations of her.
Through the research, Aphrodite became a metaphor for an unattainable quest for perfection, for the myth behind “the artist”, as well as for the misunderstood female identity.
I have been compiling video and photographic documentations of performances done in Fort Tilden (NYC) to portraits taken in collaboration with Olivier Gariépy and Stacy Lee in the Easter Townships and in Mauricie. These works are combined to writing and an archival of elements collected in the spaces I perform in to produce my most recent book Aphrodite, published by Anteism.
This solo exhibit is an intimate and minimal presentation of my process.
Is collaboration an important part of the process for you when it comes to making art?
Collaboration is crucial to my process. Research/exploration grows into very unexpected ways when problem-solving with others. Working in collaboration allows for perspectives to widen and creates a sense of community and solidarity.
In 2016, I really believe it is important that we deconstruct the myth of the artist as a solo creator and be more transparent about the nature of the creative process – the collaboration and commissioned works that are part of a series of work.
I am really exited for my future collaboration with all the artist I have started to work with through this project.
This is your second back to back exhibit, how would you compare this one to the one that is currently running at Never Apart in Montreal?
The work that is currently shown at Never Apart is the introduction to the work lam presenting at POPOP Gallery.
The Never Apart exhibit was a very large scale project, POPOP is an opportunity for me to perform within a more intimate space and try to reach a meditative state with my audience.
I think I will only fully understand the differences between both experiences after my performance on Thursday night.
Would you say that your work is heavily inspired by Feminism? or is it something that you feel is important to showcase within your work?
I definitely identify as a Feminist Artist. Most of my research in the past year has been about unearthing narratives of violence within history and commemorating the women that have survived.
I really believe that to a certain extend women experience a subconscious collective trauma. I hope to find more ways to deconstruct history and expose the symbols and myths anchored in violence against women, that make up western culture..
What do you hope people get out of this solo exhibit?
A meditative moment of reflection on intimacy, nature and female strength, and for those who will attend my performance I suppose I hope for a moment of vulnerability and intimacy.
Any prospective plans for the near future?
I will be performing in NYC at the end of the month, and starting a series of artist talks by women entitled W16 that is projected to begin in the Fall.
I am also working on a catalogue with Julie R. C and Tess Roby for our Water exhibit. We will be giving an artist talk in mid September at Never Apart, to accompany the launch of the book.