I sometimes meet him in the corridors of museums or universities, most often in the hubbub of a vernissage or a tavern. Whether he is (or think he is) rich and famous or tortured by wine and bohemia matters little: he is the man-artist, a mysterious, marginal, or eccentric being, a mythical representation of creative genius. It is this public image that these portraits of Montreal male artists are about: a traditional and romantic image, perpetuated by the media and the art market, and visible today in a small local art circle. The use of a large-format camera to take the shots refers to this tradition of portraiture: with unity of composition, distance, pose, and staging, the ritual is preserved.
On the other hand, since this is about talking – with humour – about men, art, and myth, I wanted to juxtapose the public image with my own perception (in my relationship with them, whether as men, artists, or models) and, more broadly, with the perception of other women. Thus, in their final presentation, some fifteen portraits of men in gilded frames are surrounded by photographs of a few groups of women artists. I thus attempt to establish a dialogue between these different focal points.
Michel Lefebvre’s text Potins d’artistes, which accompanies this exhibition of photographs, was composed from the complete transcription of the remarks recorded during a dinner party titled “All in the superlative,” at which the guests, active in the Montreal cultural scene, were invited to gossip about art and artists. “So then, about 98 percent of the lines in this poetic deceit were said by the guests. My work was limited to the transcription, correction, and orchestration of the ‘quotations.’” – Michel Lefebvre
25 silver prints, 40 x 50 cm and 50 x 60 cm
Poetic texts – 20 pages
• School of Design, National Institute of Fine Arts (Mexico), 1990
• Espace Global, presentation Hors-les-murs, Skol contemporary arts centre, Montreal, 1990
LEFEBVRE, Michel, QUINTAS, Eva (1995). Portraits/Potins d’artistes montréalais-ses, Montreal, Agence TOPO, French and Spanish booklet.
• LEMAY, Daniel. (1990). «Portraits/Potins d’artistes». La Presse, P. C, 17-08-1990
• PELLETIER, Sonia. (1990). «L’art de l’implicite et de l’implication». Inter, no. 49, pp. 12-13