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Index of artists, authors and curators

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OPTICA Fonds (Concordia University Archives)

Guidebooks to help in consulting the archives

Electronic Reproduction Fees

Jaana Kokko, Haven (Sadam), 2015.
Image tirée d'une vidéo haute définition avec son, 29 min. | Still frame from a HD video with sound, 29 min.
Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Jaana Kokko
From January 23rd 2016 to March 19th 2016
Days and Ideals

Jaana Kokko draws on philosophy to examine the political potential of representation and its performative power, which she explores in videos that merge the experimental and the didactic.

Mingling history and political philosophy in diological games to form often Brechtian narratives, Kokko articulates her video work around thematic investigations based on such paradigms as the meaning of life, memory, freedom, humanity, the environment, architecture, and social space. The artist edits and assembles sequences to construct contemporary fables that have a paradoxical resemblance to social documentary. Formally, the presentational device of the image echoes the arbitrary objectivity of historiography, highlighting the intrinsically political nature of the representation, while the parallel narratives deployed in each video are often at odds with one another, language in Kokko’s work also being a catalyst for memory, both individual and collective.

In Sadam (2013) and The Reading Circle (2010), the artist devotes her attention to setting up an intergenerational community of women whose divergent discourses and political visions nonetheless support each other in constructing the experience of a kind of sisterhood. She uses interviews to weave a mosaic of intimate portraits that pose the dual question of political and gender identity. Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s thought, the artist employs a phenomenological approach to broach the often conflictual or antagonistic relationship between modernity and tradition, the individual and society.

In the video installation The Forest is Young and Full of Life (2012), humanity is examined through its romanticized and speciest relationship with the environment and animals, conjuring the age-old nature vs culture argument. Like a contemporary vanitas, the work metaphorizes our alienation before a now precarious nature, under constant threat of being consumed by unbridled capitalism—a social ill that eats away at our own humanity.

Author: Anne-Marie Dubois
Anne-Marie Dubois is an author and art critic.


HORNE, Stephen (2016)."Jaana Kokko: Days and Ideals", ETC Media, no. 108, pp. 95-96.

Originally from Finland, Jaana Kokko is pursuing doctoral studies at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki and holds masters degrees in both visual arts and economics from Helsinki’s Aalto University. Her video practice has been presented in many video festivals in Finland, Russia, and Europe, including solo exhibitions in Finland, Germany, Japan, and Sweden. OPTICA presented her work in 2010, in the exhibition Life Must Be Alive.

Philippe Caron Lefebvre, Cétacé fantôme, 2015.
Polyuréthane, polystyrène, peinture, 130 x 200 x 75 cm | Polyurethane, polystyrene, paint.
Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.
Photo : Guy L’Heureux

Philippe Caron Lefebvre
From January 23rd 2016 to March 19th 2016
La position de l'apex

The evolutionary adaptions of living organisms reveal a prolific capacity to ensure survival by fashioning vital forms from inert materials. With his sculptures and graphic creations, Philippe Caron Lefebvre has devised a vocabulary to transpose elements of these vital mechanisms. Exhibiting traits of bizarre and unspecifiable organic entities, the works evoke strange, unlocatable, albeit natural, environments. These outlandish creatures appear to inhabit a world that simultaneously points to a primeval origin and a far-off future. An ambiguity that is further conveyed in certain sculptures, which exert a fascinating attraction through their well-crafted textures, shapes and surfaces, while their sharp protrusions or globular orifices trigger a sense of impending threat. In crafting strange entities by drawing features from nature, the artist conjures up a world in which the familiar and unknown, the recognizable and unfathomable are juxtaposed eliciting both wonderment and disquiet. More specifically, in harnessing the remarkable inventiveness of biological adaption this approach draws on the mimicry strategies deployed by various organisms to maximize survival.

This concept of mimicry, though present throughout Caron Lefebvre’s work, is foregrounded in the current exhibition. Biological mimicry designates the operations whereby certain animals or plants use aesthetic and formal means to alter their appearance, behaviour or even scent in order to be perceived as something other than they are. In the exhibited works, mimicry is operative in a twofold manner. At first, through a transposition of visual, textural and behavioural characteristics derived through observations of plant and animal organisms; and second by mobilizing mimicry directly in the works through a crafty manipulation of materials aimed at producing an illusion of shared traits, mirrored appearances and reciprocal behaviours. It is thus not so much an imitating of nature, but a mimicking of nature’s mimicry that is at play here. In thus blurring the borders between natural dupery and anthropic artifice these singular works suggest more inventive ways to shape our role within the natural web, where things are not always quite what they seem to be.

Author: Bernard Schutze
Bernard Schutze is a Montréal-based independent critic and curator.



DELGADO, Jérôme (2016). "Entre mer et monde (de l’art)", Le Devoir, Saturday February 13. Web, "http://www.ledevoir.com/culture/arts-visuels/462774/entre-mer-et-monde-de-l-art". (Accessed February 13, 2016).

School Workshop
This winter, Philippe Caron Lefebvre will be mentoring fifth- and sixth-grade students at the Saint-Enfant-Jésus elementary school. During the creative workshop he will be giving, schoolchildren will come to familiarize themselves with the artist’s work, while works created by the students during the workshop will be put on display in March, in the centre’s AGORA space.

Schoolchildren Opening
The students will exhibit their masterpieces at centre OPTICA's new AGORA space from March 12th to the 19th. There will be an opening on March 8th from 6 PM to 7 PM.

For more information on OPTICA's educational program, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille à mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal (as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal), and the Caisse Desjardins du Mont-Royal, Caisse Desjardins de l'Est du Plateau, and Caisse Desjardins des Versants du mont Royal.

Entente sur le développement

Philippe Caron Lefebvre holds an MFA from Concordia University and a BFA from UQAM. His works has been exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions in Québec, Mexico and Japan. He recently undertook residencies in Japan and in Mexico. He lives and works in Montréal.

Jaana Kokko, The Reading Circle, 2010. Image tirée d'une vidéo haute définition avec son, 32 min. | Still frame from a HD video with sound, 32 min. Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Jaana Kokko
January 23rd 2016
Présentation d'artiste

Artist Talk in English
2 PM

As part of her artist talk, Jaana Kokko will address two videos, Haven (Sadam, 2015) and The Reading Circle(2010), while focusing on the construction of female characters in her work.

Jaana Kokko is fascinated by the expressive and historical potential of artworks, yet also by the possible political impact of a finished work and its public exhibition. Her video practice captures the complexity of individuals through an array of reflexive accounts dealing with social and political issues, both historical and current. Kokko dwells on the opinions of women, of different generations, and on the status of women in Estonia during the communist period, exploring what the “political” means for them today. The artist also examines humanity’s now transformed relationship with animals, nature, and the built environment.

Keywords: capitalism, socialism, women, architecture, utopia, private space, public space.

Exemple d'origami. | Origami Sample
Photo : Marie-Laure Robitaille

Les samedis famille | Family Saturdays
January 30th 2016
Visite interactive et atelier d'origami

January 30th and March 19, 2016
Interactive tour of the Philippe Caron Lefebre exhibition and an origami workshop inspired by the artist’s creations.

Why not get to know this centuries-old art form with a contemporary feel? Creative can even make up their own paper sculpture models!

You can start the activity when you want and make the artist's book at your pace.

From 1 pm to 4 pm
For children aged 6 and older.

For more information, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille: mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.

Entente sur le développement

Atelier à l'école Saint-Enfant-Jésus, 2016. Photo : Marie-Laure Robitaille

Exposition des élèves de 5e et de 6e année de l'école Saint-Enfant-Jésus (Mile End) sur une proposition de Philippe Caron Lefebvre
From March 12th 2016 to March 19th 2016
Programme Artiste à l'école

OPENING, Tuesday March 8, 2016 from 6PM to 7PM

As part of the program Artists at School developed by OPTICA in 2014, Nicolas Lachance has worked with fifth- and sixth-grade school children from elementary school Saint-Enfant-Jésus (Mile End). They visited the exhibition of the artist at OPTICA in his company and took part in a creative workshop led by the artist at their school. The artworks created by the students under the supervision of Caron Lefebvre are exhibited at OPTICA in the AGORA space from March 12 to the 19th.

For more information on OPTICA's educational program, please contact Marie-Laure Robitaille - mediation@optica.ca

The educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.

Entente sur le développement

Raymonde April, Intérieur, Pékin, 2008.
Impression Chromira | Chromira print, 76 x 56 cm.
Édition 1/5
3 500$ (encadré / framed)

Raymonde April & Emily Jan
March 31st 2016
Soirée-bénéfice - En conversation avec Raymonde April et Emily Jan

Cocktail + Artist Presentations + Draw Raymonde April + Door Prizes
R.S.V.P. at OPTICA by March 24, 2016

Thursday March 31, 2016
6-8 pm

OPTICA, a contemporary art centre, is launching its annual fundraiser In Conversation with Raymonde April and Emily Jan. Our objective is to raise $10,000, which will serve to develop our educational program and set up our documentation centre.

Join us on March 31, to meet the artists and get a chance to win Raymonde April’s Intérieur, Pékin (2008) as well as several door prizes. A cocktail, refreshments, and a selection of wines and beers will also be served.

During the evening, we will be highlighting April’s career as a photographer. She was the recipient of the 2003 Paul-Émile-Borduas award in visual arts and was given the Order of Canada in 2010 for her exceptional contribution as an artist and teacher. Also, Emily Jan’s installation, After the Hunt (2014-2016), will be specially presented for this event. Both artists will be on hand to comment on the exhibited works and on their practice.

The purchase of a ticket automatically gives you one year’s membership at OPTICA and a draw for the prize. We invite you to discover the full range of advantages of membership.

The centre is registered with the programme Mécénat Placements Culture, which matches every dollar and raises it by three!

We are truly grateful for your support and are looking forward to celebrating with you.

Serge Murphy - Chairman of Board of Directors 
Marie-Josée Lafortune - Director


Engin Raymonde April, Intérieur, Pékin, 2008.
Chromira Print
76 x 56 cm
1/5 Edition
3 500$ (framed)


Engin Emily Jan, After the Hunt, 2014-2016.
Installation, mixed media
Variable dimensions
Photo: Eric Tschaeppeler

Where : OPTICA, centre contemporain
5445, de Gaspé avenue, #106, Montréal
Date : Thursday, March 31, 2016
Time : 6-8 pm
For informations or reservations, please contact Julie Alary Lavallée : communications@optica.ca | 514-874-1666 


$100 (cost base)
Evening Fundraiser =
Cocktail + one draw ticket + door prizes

$50 (per single additional draw ticket + door prizes)*
* The purchase of a $100 ticket is required

Every $100 ticket comes with a deductible tax receipt for $70 and every additional ticket is wholly deductible at $50.

R.S.V.P. by March 24, 2016

- Print the form (pdf)
- Send us the reply coupon by March 24 by mail or digitally by email: communications@optica.ca

- Cheque (payable to OPTICA)
- Carte VISA (call us: 514-874-1666)
- Online (PayPal)

OPTICA Evening Fundraiser

You can make a donation at any time and enjoy the benefits of membership!

The eligible amount corresponds to the total value of the donation.

OPTICA would like to thank Raymonde April, Emily Jan, Galerie Donald Browne, Galerie Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Centre canadien d'architecture, Musée d'art de Joliette, Musée régional de Rimouski, Musée des mâtres et artisans du Québec, Musée Stewart, le Centre commémoratif de l'Holocauste à Montréal, Salle Bourgie du Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Cinémathèque québécoise, the magazines Ciel Variable, esse arts + opinions, Espace art actuel, artist-run centres Dazibao and VU PHOTO, OPTICA'S board members, the staff and the volunteers.

OPTICA thanks Rézin, the microbrewery Alchimiste, Maison du Rôti, Fabrique Arhoma for their contribution to culture and our fundraiser.

Conseil des arts du Canada Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec Relations internationales Québec Conseil des arts de Montréal
placementsculture donaldbrowne binaellen cca
Joliette Rimouski artisans artisans
commémoratif bourgie cinémathèque cv
esse espace dazibao Vuphoto  
Rézin Alchimiste Maison du Rôti Arhoma

Raymonde April lives and works in Montréal where she teaches photography at Concordia University. Known since the 1970s for a practice and images inspired by her everyday private life, she has influenced generations of artists in Québec and in Canada. The recipient of the Paul-Émile-Borduas award (2003) and the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography (2005), she was made an officer of the Order of Canada (2010) for her contributions to photography. April has exhibited both in Canada and internationally.

Emily Jan is a Montréal-based artist and writer. Originally hailing from Northern California, Jan has travelled to 33 countries and lived in South Africa and Mexico. Her biophilic sculptures and installations combine everyday found objects with meticulously worked raw materials to evoke the faraway and the fantastical. As a wanderer, naturalist, and collector of objects and experiences, she is guided in her work by the spirit of exploration, kinship, and curiosity.

Julien Discrit, Brighter than a thousand suns (détail), 2007.
Avec l'aimable autorisation de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist

Julien Discrit
Claire Hannicq
Anouk Kruithof
Jacinthe Lessard-L.
Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo)
Alana Riley

Commissaire | Curator : Claire Moeder

From April 16th 2016 to June 11th 2016
Loin des yeux

Saturday, April 16

2 PM - Discussion with Julien Discrit and Anouk Kruithof - Moderated by Claire Moeder

3 PM to 6 PM - Opening

Loin des yeux engages the viewer in an exploration of the invisible. The exhibition encompasses a selection of photographic and video works in which the images—partial, ambivalent, subterranean—shy away from the gaze. It brings together artists Julien Discrit (France), Claire Hannicq (France), Anouk Kruithof (United States/Netherlands), Jacinthe Lessard-L. (Québec), Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo, Finland/France), and Alana Riley (Québec).

These artists experiment with visual blurrings that testify to the many layers of visibility. They shift our perception, leading (or losing) it, as hidden images oscillate between disappearance and revelation. Infiltrating the various existential possibilities, the exhibition explores peculiar strategies of dissimulation and resistance that have an immediate impact on our reading of the works.

The total or partial disappearance of the subject, access to it made nearly impossible by an intentional and parasitic blurring, is a recurring strategy. It calls for experiencing works of vacillating perception and in a constant state of tension, placing the viewer in a physically and reflexively ambiguous position. The exhibition thus introduces new relationships between the spectator and the works, which are removed or partially obscured. These variations spawn a latent frustration that forces viewers to apprehend the image differently, whether it be fixed or moving.

Anouk Kruithof is producing a series based on found photo-negatives on which she applies the luminous impression of a flash. The glare from the iPhone, like an act of erasing or wiping memory, nonetheless produces hybrid, residual images. Jacinthe Lessard-L.'s work, for its part, suggests the use of a silver halide camera. She produces the elliptical and reversed image of a lens, drawing on the non-visual aspect of photography in order to examine its very nature. Of photography, Julien Discrit only preserves its luminous source. Using a spectrometer to isolate the light taken at a specific point in time and place, he creates an installation where the captured real now becomes an imageless image that refers solely to colour filtre.

In her video work, Alana Riley turns the digital camera back toward the luminous source in order to produce a liminal image at the limits of abstraction. And like Riley, Claire Hannicq generates intentionally dazzling effects that interrogate the act of photography. Both artists exploit the luminous potential of a filmed sequence or of a photograph arranged in the installation space to momentarily blur one’s sight and to instill doubt regarding the terms of the image’s existence. With a series of photographs that are available online for one time only, Hannicq also underscores the paradox of the image’s unique status and its reproducibility. Pétrel | Roumagnac's book-object places the spectator in front of an absent image. The duo proposes a textual transcription of photographs and of image transformations produced in museum conservation facilities. The writing borrows its form from theatre, restoring images through stage directions and blocking without coming into view. On the whole, the exhibition brings contradictory images into play, images meant to dissolve at the moment of their appearance, while affirming the persistance of the photographic medium despite their fleeting nature: whether through disappearances or omissions, concealment or abstraction, the materiality and fragility of the image are never far way.

Through simple manipulations, sometimes combined with new technologies, the processes at work can suggest luminous explorations of the beginnings of photography and cinema. The artists here brought together fashion sensitive, variously tenuous or more self-assured connections with these experimentations in order to return to an accidental, spontaneous, or compound use of light as primary creative material. Loin des yeux does not propose a nostalgic rapport with the medium so much as a critical though playful deflection that enables us to redefine our relationship with images and their current modes of appearance. It invites us to reinvent a contemplation before unstable and defiant images and to begin a reflection on their mass production and proliferation in today’s visual culture.

Claire Moeder wishes to thank the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its financial support.

Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec





FISET, Daniel. «Loin des yeux», published in Ciel variable, no.105, « Montréalités », Montréal, 2017, p. 89.

DELGADO, Jérôme. « L’expérience du (in)visible », Le Devoir, 30 avril 2016.

Saturday Avril 16- 2PM (before the opening)
Julien Discrit & Anouk Kruithof
Moderated by Claire Moeder

French / English

The artists will discuss their practice as it relates to photography and their participation in artist residencies.

Julien Discrit was born in Épernay, France, in 1978. He lives and works in Paris.

Julien Discrit is a graduate of the École supérieure d’art et design, in Reims (2004). His work has been shown in both solo exhibitions (Ensapc Ygrec, Paris, 2015; Institut français de Roumanie, Bucarest, 2006; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2005) and group shows (Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2016; Galerie Thomas Henry Ross, Montréal, 2014; Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, 2012; La Biennale de Lyon, 2011). He took part in several collaborative projects in Europe between 2009 and 2013. Discrit was among the finalists of the 10th Fondation d’entreprise Ricard Prize (Paris, 2008).

Claire Hannicq was born in Auxerre, France, in 1984. She lives and works in Besançon.

Claire Hannicq graduated from La Haute École des Arts du Rhin de Strasbourg (2010). Her work has been shown in France in both solo exhibitions (Toshiba House, Besançon, 2015; My monkey, Nancy, 2014) and group shows (Musée du temps, Besançon, 2015; Musée de l’imprimerie, Lyon, 2012). She also took part in the cross-border event Regionale (France, Switzerland, Germany, 2013 to 2015) and in several international residencies (Darling Foundry, Montréal, 2014; Ergastule, Nancy, 2014; Strasbourg/Dresde Grafikwerkstatt, Dresden, 2012).

Jacinthe Lessard-L. was born in Québec City. She lives and works in Montréal.

Jacinthe Lessard-L. holds an MFA from Concordia University, Montréal. Her work has been presented in solo exhibitions in Québec (Dazibao, Montréal, 2014; VU Photo, Québec City, 2011; OPTICA, Montréal, 2009) and in Canada (Truck, Calgary, 2014). She has also taken part in group shows in Europe (Museum im Kulturspeicher, Wurzbourg, 2015; Musée de L’Élysée, Lausanne, touring from 2010 to 2015; Galerie Genscher, Hambourg, 2012; Biennale de l’image, Nancy, 2008) and in Russia (Festival of Photography in Arkhangelsk, 2015; the State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre Rosphoto, Saint-Petersburg, 2013). She has published artist books La Pataphysique de l’espace, 2015, Le Décalogue, après dieu et KieÅ›lowski, 2013) and teaches visual arts at Collège Montmorency (Laval).

Anouk Kruithof was born in Dordrecht, the Netherlands, in 1981. She lives and works in New York and Brussels.

Anouk Kruithof is a graduate of the Academy of Art and Design St. Joost in Breda (2003). She had several solo exhibitions (BoetzelaerINispen, Amsterdam, 2015; Festival Images, Vevey, 2014; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2009). Her work has also been part of group shows in the United States, in Europe, and in Asia (MoMA, New York, 2015; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 2014; Daegu Photo Biennale, South Korea, 2012; Festival international de mode et de photographie, Hyères, 2010; Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain, Liège, 2008). Kruithof won the Infinity Award, given by the International Center of Photography (New York, 2012) and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds’ Charlotte Köhler Prize (Amsterdam, 2014). She has published several artist books that are catalogued on her publishing platform www.stresspress.biz.

Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo)
Aurélie Pétrel was born in 1980. She lives and works in Paris and Geneva.
Vincent Roumagnac was born in 1973. He lives and works in Helsinki.

Since 2012, Aurélie Pétrel and Vincent Roumagnac have combined their respective background in photography and theatre. Their collaboration takes the form of installations and actions that have been presented in galleries (Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro, Galerie Michel Journiac, Paris, 2015), exhibition centres (Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2014; Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France and Cinéma Apollo, Pontault-Combault, 2014), and theatres (Théâtre de Vénissieux, 2015; Zodiak-Center for New Dance, Helsinki, 2013; Théâtre de l’Élysée, Lyon, 2012). They took part in a residency together at the Darling Foundry (Montréal, 2014). Pétrel currently teaches and heads the Photography Pool at the Geneva University of Art and Design. Roumagnac is pursuing a doctorate at University of the Arts, Helsinki.

Alana Riley lives and works in Montréal.

Alana Riley holds a Masters from the University of Southern California. She presented several exhibitions in Québec (Musée régional de Rimouski, 2010; Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-St-Paul, 2008; Joyce Yahouda Gallery, Montréal, 2007, 2009, and 2010) and abroad (Division of Labour, London, 2016; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, 2011; Shanghai World Fair – Art Contemporain de Montréal, 2010; The National Sculpture Factory, Cork, 2009). She has participated in several residencies (Opekta, Cologne, 2012; The National Sculpture Factory, Cork, 2009). In 2010, Riley received the City of Montréal’s Pierre-Ayot Prize and was among the finalists for the Flash Forward award at the Magenta Foundation (Toronto).

Claire Moeder was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1984. She lives and works in Montréal.

Claire Moeder is a writer and a curator. She is a frequent contributor to esse art + opinions and Ciel variable magazines. She is a columnist for ratsdeville and CIBL radio station, and has contributed to two publications devoted to photography, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (2009) and Christian Marclay: SNAP! (2010). Having taken part in curatorial residencies in the United States (International Studio & Curatorial Program, 2013) and Québec (Est-Nord-Est and La Chambre Blanche, 2015), Moeder has recently organized solo exhibitions for artists Sayeh Sarfaraz (Maison des arts de Laval, The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn, 2014) and Jacinthe Lessard-L. (Maison des arts de Laval, 2016). Her research into current uses of the image is guided by an attentive examination of invisible forms, in which contemplation of that which eschews the gaze allows her to reinvent a moving relationship with the world.

Claire Hannicq, Image-fumée/Ashes (détail), 2014.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Claire Hannicq, Jacinthe Lessard-L. et Alana Riley
April 19th 2016
Discussion animée par Claire Moeder

As part of the exhibition Loin des yeux

OPTICA, centre d'art contemporain and the Darling Foundry invite you to take part in a public discussion with artists Claire Hannicq, Jacinthe Lessard-L., and Alana Riley and curator Claire Moeder. The artists will discuss their practice as it relates to photography and their participation in artist residencies.

6 PM to 8 PM
French / English

Fonderie Darling
745 Ottawa St, Montréal
Square Victoria Metro station

Fonderie Darling

Claire Moeder thanks the Darling Foundry for hosting and collaborating on this event.

Photo : Paul Litherland

Samedis famille
From April 23rd 2016 to June 11th 2016
Visite interactive et atelier créatif

April 23 and June 11, 2016

1 PM to 4 PM

Interactive visits of the exhibitionLoin des yeux and creative workshop offered continuously to familles from 1 pm to 6 pm.

Discover six artists who use photography and video to explore light. After visiting the exhibition Loin des yeux, curated by Claire Moeder, visitors of all ages will be invited to take digital snapshots using a flashlight and other luminous objects.

Jacinthe Lessard-L. Sans titre (tiré de la série Des Objectifs) (détail), 2014.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Alana Riley, Jacinthe Lessard-L. et Claire Moeder
From April 30th 2016 to May 21st 2016
Visites commentées de l'exposition Loin des yeux

April 30, May 14 and 21, 2016
3 PM

Guided tours of the exhibition Loin des yeux provide a forum for discussion among the artists, the curator, and the public. They help lend perspective to the spectator’s experience of works that call on us to reconfigure our gaze.

Claire Moeder will be present on April 30, May 14 and 21, 2016

Alana Riley will be present on April 30, 2016

Jacinthe Lessard-L. will be present on May 14, 2016

Photo : Claire Moeder

Claire Moeder
From May 7th 2016 to June 10th 2016
Atelier d'écriture collectif - Loin des yeux, de l’image au texte

Group Writing Workshop
Hosted by Claire Moeder

The writing workshop invites participants to revisit their viewers’ experience of the exhibition through creative writing related to the works on display.

Saturday, May 7
2 pm - 4 pm

Friday, June 10th
5 pm - 7 pm

Maximum 10 participants
Reservation required: communications@optica.ca
Activité gratuite


Edith Brunette et Gaëlle Choisne
May 19th 2016
Résidence de recherche jeune création OPTICA + art3 (Valence-France)
Edith Brunette [Ce qui est séparé] & Gaëlle Choisne [Grangou]

Book Launch
May 19, 2016
6pm to 8 pm
Librairie Le Port de tête
262 Mont-Royal avenue East, Montréal
Mont-Royal Metro

This co-publication presents research projects conducted in 2014 by Gaëlle Choisne in Montréal and Edith Brunette in Valence, both taking part in a joint program of research residencies initiated by the partner organizations, OPTICA and art3.

Choisne is interested in Montréal’s Haitian diaspora. As Montréal is known to house the largest number of Haitians abroad, Choisne thought it the best place to conduct a series of interviews with members of the community while carrying out extensive work in the archives of the Centre International de Documentation et d’Information Haïtienne, Caribéenne et Afro-canadienne (CIDIHCA). The artist presents a book of typical Haitian recipes that she augments with material gleaned from the country’s history.

Edith Brunette, for her part, focuses on the luxury goods industry, the Louis Vuitton and S.T. Dupont corporations in particular, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Examining the image of itself this industry nurtures in the media and its evolution in the era of outsourced labour and increasingly scarce craftsmanship, the artist establishes some parallels with the contemporary art world and art fairs and shows how the luxury milieu remains “separate” and generally inaccessible. 

48 p, ill. col. 20 x 20,9 cm
Texts: Edith Brunette, Gaëlle Choisne
Graphic Design: Tamzyn Berman - Atelier pastille rose
500 copies
ISBN 978-2-922085-14-3 [$20]

Consulat Général de France Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes art3

The publication receives support from the ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie du Gouvernement du Québec, the région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Consulat général de France à Québec as part of the 64th Commission permanente de coopération franco-québécoise.

Photo : Claire Moeder

Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo)
From June 3rd 2016 to June 11th 2016
Actions en galerie

Reactivation of Réserves #2 by Vincent Roumagnac

Stranded and doubtful, Réserves #2 is a piece that is either late and as yet unpacked or already taken down and repacked. During the exhibition, the curator regularly and rather fitfully moves the work from one room to another in the exhibition. Artist Roumagnac will appear on behalf of the duo in the last week of the exhibition to act upon the work.

June 2 and 11, 2016
Variable schedule during the gallery’s opening hours

Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo), Réserves #2, 2016
Avec l’aimable permission des artistes et de la Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro | Courtesy of the artists and Galerie Escougnou-Cetraro

Pétrel | Roumagnac (duo)
June 11th 2016
Conférence - Finissage

OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art invites you to take part in a open discussion between curator Claire Moeder and the artist duo made up of Aurélie Pétrel and Vincent Roumagnac. The artists will exchange ideas on their work together since 2012 and on the specific productions Répétitions (La Réserve) #2 and Réserves #2, a piece that follows a “reactivation protocol” that is transformed, manipulated, and reactivated during the time of the exhibition, first by the curator and then by the artist Roumagnac.

4:30 pm
With Vincent Roumagnac and Aurélie Pétrel
Moderated by Claire Moeder

Julien Discrit, Animation (détail), 2016.
Image tirée de la vidéo, vidéo 4k, couleur, son. | Video still, 4k video, color, sound.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste et de la Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou|
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou

Julien Discrit
From September 1st 2016 to October 8th 2016
Nature. Culture.

Borrowing by turns from installation, performance, photography, and video, Julien Discrit’s work draws on the potential for dialogue between the humanities and the natural sciences and proposes art as a topos by which the two fields may interact. His art practice examines the gap between the actual experience of a territory and its visual or material representation, going on to investigate the divisions between ideas and practices, between concepts and percepts.

For his work presented at OPTICA, Discrit focuses on the Möbius strip (or band), a paradigmatic object in topology. Flourishing in the nineteenth century, the science of topology was concerned with the possibility for continuous transformation of space. The strip featured in this work bears the name of German mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius, who submitted the discovery as his own to the French Academy of Sciences in 1858. While the strip remained an object of fascination for mathematicians throughout the 19th century, it was quickly taken up by some very influential thinkers in the human and social sciences. Lacanian psychoanalysis, for instance, uses the Möbius strip as a spatialization model for the work of the unconscious. 1 As for formal dimensions of Discrit’s video, they refer to a series of drawings and woodcuts produced by M.C. Escher in the early 1960s depicting nine red ants crawling along a Möbius strip, usually placed vertically.

Following a precise contortion, the Möbius strip—which becomes a felt space in the video— reveals the cyclical relationship between the physical elaboration of a mathematical concept, its reuse in the social sciences, its potential artistic representations, and the experience it can afford as a physical phenomenon. Conjuring these various contexts simultaneously, Discrit’s proposition highlights the connections between mathematical abstraction and organic realism, the artist stating that “any conception emanating from the psyche must be based on its grounding in the body, by the sensory perception of a concrete and external object.” 2

1. See, among others, Jacques LACAN (2001 [1972]), “L’étourdit”, Autres écrits. Paris: Seuil, pp. 449-495.
2. Our translation. Fernande SAINT-MARTIN (2010), L’immersion dans l’art. Comment donner sens aux œuvres de sept artistes. Québec: Presses de l’Université de Québec, p. 4.

Author: Daniel Fiset
Daniel Fiset is an art historian and educator. He lives and works in Montreal.

Translator: Ron Ross


Julien Discrit was born in 1978 in Épernay, France. A graduate from the École supérieure d’art et design de Reims (2004), he lives and works in Paris. His works have been the subject of solo exhibitions (Ensapc Ygrec, Paris, 2015; Institut français de Roumanie, Bucarest, 2006; Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2005) and group shows (Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2016; Galerie Thomas Henry Ross, Montreal, 2014; Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, 2012; La Biennale de Lyon, 2011).

Julien Discrit, Animation (détail), 2016 Image tirée de la vidéo, vidéo 4K, couleur, son.| Video still, 4k video, color, sound. Avec l'aimable permission de la Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou | Courtesy of the Galerie Anne-Sarah Bénichou

Simon Belleau, Film Still (détail), 2016
Impression jet d'encre, 43 x 36 cm| Inkjet print, 43 x 36 cm.
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste | Courtesy of the artist.

Simon Belleau
From September 1st 2016 to October 8th 2016

The Royal moth has no mouth.
Royal Saturniid caterpillars will eat until surrender. Melting and rearranging themselves with the raw materials of their adolescence, they reappear, fuzzy and fat, with a silent face and no digestive tract. Insatiable, burdened with an impossible itinerary, they make slow triangles and moon eyes, executing the gesture of their singular potential.

And they will fuck until they die, still thirsty.

Mars lost his war and his atmosphere fled, drying up promises of a dazzling garden and leaving behind dire warnings in a red oxide dust.

The amount of available moisture in an enclosed room is recorded on every surface, and every surface is recorded in the whole of the eye. Seeing requires attention, recognition, interpretation. It also requires an image, even one not there, and at least one orifice.

At its center, Simon Belleau’s work travels in two separate but simultaneous directions; pulling focus both inward and outward. Inward, towards the core of desire, past hunger and sex, towards death; and outward, through narrative, language and the production of the image. It is here, in his careful negotiation between the image and the act of production, that Belleau’s installations become an act of transmutation: a mushroom erupts from a tactical dry bag and time becomes material; your eye travels swiftly over the steely surface of an unreflective mirror, drinking in humidity and time, turning obligatory sips of water into corrosion; the stone foot of Michelangelo’s David is suspended in motion, set in a singular film still.

In Antonioni and Wender’s film, Beyond the Clouds, the narrator, a director himself, muses, “[W]e know that behind every image revealed, there is another image more faithful to reality, and in the back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one, and so on, up to the true image of the absolute mysterious reality that no-one will ever see.”

Our desire for that last true image ruptures any stillness and shatters the blank mirror on the floor. It is quite the gift, to leave your gaze resting on the floor like that, with no obligation to harbor it when it labors back.

Author: Elena Ailes
Elena Ailes is interested in both that which makes her a better person and a worse person, especially in theory. In reality, she is an artist and writer living and working in Chicago.


Conseil des arts du Canada

Simon Belleau has exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. He is the recipient of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust Scholar Award, a Project Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Contest jeune tête d’affiche from Dazibao. Currently based in Chicago, he is the co-founder of the curatorial project Jeux d’été.

From September 3rd 2016 to September 5th 2016
Fermeture samedi le 3 septembre - Fête du travail

Please note that OPTICA will be closed on Saturday September 3, 2016 due to Labour Day.

Regular opening hours will resume on Tuesday September 6, 2016.

Thank you for your understanding.


From September 8th 2016 to September 8th 2016
Rentrez! de Gaspé - La rentrée culturelle - 17h à minuit

On September 8, come celebrate and kick off the new cultural season with Atelier Circulaire, Centre CLARK, Dazibao, Diagonale, Occurrence, OPTICA, Perte de signal and TOPO.

Openings, outstanding exhibitions, video mapping, an overflowing bar and a DJ, food, friends, mingling, a party and maybe even a little bit of dancing!

Join us for this festive evening!

See you Thursday, September 8 from 5 pm at 5445-5455 de Gaspé Avenue (Ground floor).



Dj TELEMARK from 8 pm

Live video mapping with userZero and Danny Perreault

Rolande Pelletier et Mathieu Matthew Conway – Formes primes

Jen Aitken – 2 volumes + Michelle Lacombe – Of All The Watery Bodies, I Only Know My Own

Ali-El Darsa + Gabriela Golder + Roberto Santguida + Sandra Volny

We Make Carpets – BEND AND STRETCH

Michel Archambault – Stigma + Jérôme Nadeau – Still Statues

Simon Belleau – SOIF + Julien Discrit – Nature. Culture.

Yannick Jaquet et Frédéric Penelle – Mécaniques discursives

Julien-Robert Legault-Salvail – Fit in the crowd

Photo : Daniel Fiset

Les samedis famille + Journées de la culture
From September 10th 2016 to October 8th 2016
Visite et création en famille chez OPTICA

Explore living movement during a workshop tour of the exhibitions of Simon Belleau and Julien Discrit. With the centre’s mediator in attendance, you will see elements transform before your eyes, from proliferating mushrooms that take strange shapes to colossal ants going on a stroll. In a friendly, playful environment, you’ll then take part in the creation of a collaborative installation inspired by the Moebius Strip and the connections between art and the natural sciences.  

Let your creativity take over OPTICA—we’re counting on it! The workshop is open to the whole family and will run continually. Feel free to join in at any time. 

September 10 – 1 pm to 4 pm
October – 1 :30 pm to 3 pm – Journées de la culture
October 8 -1 pm to 4 pm  

For children aged 4 and older.

For more information, please contact Daniel Fiset: mediation@optica.ca


OPTICA's educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, and the Caisse Desjardins du Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Entente sur le développement art3

© Knut Åsdam, Egress (détail), 2013
Film numérique 5K à 2K, couleur, 5.1. audio, 41:00 minutes
Produit par Knut Åsdam, co-produit par Vitakuben Film
Avec l'aimable permission de l'artiste

Cette oeuvre est protégée par le droit d'auteur et il est strictement interdit de la reproduire.

© Knut Åsdam, Egress (detail), 2013
5K to 2K digital film, colour, 5.1 audio, 41:00 minutes
Produced by Knut Åsdam, co-produced by Vitakuben Film
Courtesy of the artist

Copyright laws protect this art work and it is strictly forbidden to copy or reproduce this image.

Knut Åsdam
From October 20th 2016 to January 14th 2017
Biennale de Montréal - Le Grand Balcon

The Biennale de Montréal and OPTICA present Knut Åsdam as part of BNLMTL 2016, Le Grand Balcon.

Curator: Philippe Pirotte

Knut Åsdam is a filmmaker, installation artist, sculptor and photographer. The central focus of his work tracks the psychological and material effects of everyday life in contemporary society. Åsdam investigates, through diverse forms, the usage and perception of public urban spaces, including their structure of political power and authority. For this occasion his films Egress (2013) and Tripoli (2010) are presented.

Egress follows the life of a young woman whose job at a gas station on the outskirts of Oslo makes her both witness and subject to consumerism, social hierarchies, the repetition and alienation of daily life, violence, and the insecurity belying the sanitized appearance of the location. Consisting of documentary material, this experimental film focuses at once on a place and on the characters to approach the experience of work in today’s society, but also the highly hierarchical oil industry and its locus of power.

For its part, Tripoli unfolds in the city of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, more precisely on the site of a major architectural project associated with the famous Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, and interrupted in 1975 due to the civil war. Combining documentary language on architecture and a meeting of narrative fragments, the film metaphorically brings to life the charged past of this place, which was used as a weapons depot during the war and whose political echoes and violence reverberate in today’s society.


Biennale de Montréal Office for Contemporary art Norway

Born in Trondheim (Norway) in 1968, Knut Åsdam lives and works in Oslo. His work has been shown widely, in solo exhibitions including as part of the project Oslo Pilot, Oslo (2016); at Å iuolaikinio meno centras kino (Lithuania, 2013); Galerija Vartai (Lituania, 2012); Tate Modern (England, 2011); Bergen Kunsthall (Norway, 2010); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Netherlands, 2007); Objectif Exhibitions (Belgium, 2006); Fonds régional d’art contemporain de Bourgogne (France, 2006); Kunsthalle Bern (Switzerland, 2005); Museet For Samtidskunst (Norway, 2001); Tate Britain (England, 2000); Nordic Pavilion as part of the 48th Venice Biennale (Italia, 1999); and at the Norwegian Pavilion as part of Melbourne International Biennial (Australia, 1999). Åsdam’s work has also been featured in Manifesta 7 (Italia, 2007) and in group exhibitions at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (Italia, 2007); MoMA PS1 (United States, 2006); Istanbul Biennial (Turkey, 2003); Moderna Museet (Sweden, 1998-1999); and Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (France, 1998).


Photo : Julie Alary Lavallée

From October 29th 2016 to January 14th 2017
Samedis famille - Atelier de fabrication d'un scénarimage collectif

The places in our everyday lives are possessed of stories that yearn to be told. Accompanied by the gallery’s educator, young participants will be introduced to the art of directing and take part in the conception of a 3D, collaborative storyboard. A modular mock-up will be installed at the centre, which youth will be invited to transform or to embellish as they invent characters and weave their tall tales.

Come tell us your stories!

The workshop is open to the whole family and will run continually.

Every Saturday from October 29, 2016 to January 14, 2017
Closed on December 24 and 31, 2016

From 1 pm to 4 pm
Feel free to join in at any time.  

For children aged 4 and older.

For more information, please contact Daniel Fiset: mediation@optica.ca


OPTICA's educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, and the Caisse Desjardins du Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Entente sur le développement art3

Photo : Daniel Fiset, 2016

Exposition des élèves de 5e et de 6e année de l'école Saint-Enfant-Jésus (Mile End) sur une proposition d'Étienne Tremblay-Tardif
From December 2nd 2016 to December 17th 2016
Artiste à l'école

Opening, Tuesday December 2, 2016 from 5pm to 6pm

This fall, some 60 young people in grades 5 and 6 from École Saint-Enfant-Jésus will participate in a creative project designed by Étienne Tremblay-Tardif as part of the Artist at School program.

The project is inspired by the artworks of the artist who uses various processes in the art of printing and installation to reflect on the entanglement of history and political and cultural events in certain public spaces. As part of the program, youth will first take part in architectural observation activities to view their school and neighborhood from a new angle. They will then design stencils and make assemblages inspired by their discoveries, testifying to the architectural and social realities of their immediate environment.

The students' artworks will be presented to the public during a vernissage which will take place on December 2, 2016, from 5 pm to 6 pm and will be exhibited at the center until December 17, 2016.

OPTICA would like to thank the staff and students of École Saint-Enfant-Jésus, and in particular Nadine Legendre, a visual arts teacher with whom we have been collaborating since 2014.

For more information, please contact Daniel Fiset: mediation@optica.ca


FISET, Daniel. « La médiation culturelle, un outil critique à l’aube du tournant éducatif (pdf)», Vie des arts, no 253, winter 2019, p. 41-43.

Entente sur le développement art3

OPTICA's educational program is supported by the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the City of Montreal as part of the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal, and the Caisse Desjardins du Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Horaire du Temps des fêtes | Holiday Season Schedule
From December 18th 2016 to January 2nd 2017

Please note that OPTICA will be closed from Sunday December 18 to Monday January 2nd. Until then, we wish a great holiday season!