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image
© Noémi McComber, Prise d'assaut, 2011. Image tirée d'une vidéo | Video still. 8 min 50 sec. Avec l'aimable permission de l’artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Noémi McComber
From March 16th 2013 to April 20th 2013
Mise en échec

If the works Noémi McComber last presented in Quebec seemed to indicate a marked interest in public space (La peau du bronze, Maison des arts de Laval; Nouveaux drapeaux pour vieux monuments, Dare Dare; Déploiement en règle, Viva! Art Action 2011), the recent videos making up Mise en échec reconnect with the artist’s prior performative practice, reading no less political themes into the private sphere.

True to her feminist approach, the performance videos in which McComber stages herself raise questions about women’s confinement in a private and undeniably codified space, a highly symbolic space that she ineluctably defies and transgresses by exacerbating the material and fictional constraints. She thus returns to a methodology that recalls her public interventions, where subversion becomes an inherent condition of an approach that unfolds in a universe of risk, and we are led onto the moving and unpredictable sands of an exploration of society’s prescribed limits.

In high-strung playfulness, the series presented at Optica expresses a mood of resistance, which the artist renders through acts of aggression, whether sustained or committed. As veritable fictions of a power struggle, these actions induce a form of narrative that assumes a constant rivalry between the artist and an unknown Other. Dissenting and manifestly exasperated, McComber leads the spectator-witness into an uncomfortable voyeurism, as she seeks to create a sense of catharsis by way of repressed and suppressed emotional experiences.

Mise en échec, polysemous though it is, certainly prompts a reflection on the role of women and, more broadly, of any individual in the social sphere. The aesthetic strategies employed, however, with their emphasis on negation and violence, lead us to consider the power relationships the artist engages as a negotiation with the materials. It is all conceived from the prospect of a breach that spurs the subject toward emancipation: a kind of defiance exploited for its liberating quality, a fundamental resistance.

Alexandre Poulin

The artist thanks Helena Martin Franco, Stéphanie Chabot, Stéphanie Bertrand, Josh Worman and le Centre des arts actuels Skol.

Skol

On Saturday, April 20th, Noémi McComber will be at OPTICA at 2pm. Come and meet her!

Noémi McComber's "Mise en échec" is the focus of a short article by Maude Lefebvre, Mise en échec de Noémi McComber à OPTICA (The Belgo Report, March 2013). It is also discussed in an interview Noémi McComber gave to Bettina Forget for the radio show No More Radio, aired April 14th, 2013.

Artwork on sale at OPTICA, until April 20th
Noémi McComber, Prise d'assaut, 2011 (1/3)
Inkjet print
Hahnemühle Photo Rag :matte finish, 100% cotton, acid-free, thickness 308 gsm.
43 x 56 cm. (paper), 45 x 58 cm. (framed)
Signed on the back
1 070$ / 1 200$ (framed)

Having obtained an MFA at Chelsea College of Art (London), Noémi McComber has presented her work in Canada, in Columbia, and in Europe (Finland, Greece, Russia, among others). She also engages in a curatorial practice with the Araignée collective and has been an active member of the feminist art centre La Centrale (Montreal) since 2007.