Hear Me with Your Eyes
Hear Me with Your Eyes, by Geneviève Cadieux, 1989
Geneviève Cadieux's work is well known to Montréalers because of the installation titled La Voie lactée that is perched on the roof of the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art. She is equally well known internationally. She has, among others, represented Canada in four major international exhibitions: the Montreal Biennial (2000), the Venice Biennial (1990), the Sydney Biennial in Australia (1988, 1990) and at the Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil (1987).
Geneviève Cadieux was born in Montréal in 1955. Ever since her university studies in Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa, she has known what she wanted to do in life. Although she has devoted some time to teaching first at Concordia University from 1991 to 1993, then as guest professor at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, in 1994 and, finally, at the École nationale des beaux-arts in Grenoble, in 1996 she has never dedicated herself to it more than occasionally. "L'enseignement, c'est quelque chose de temporaire. Ça m'enlève trop de temps. C'est très exigeant. Mon travail se trouve ralenti par ces cours." (Teaching is something temporary. It takes too much of my time. It is very demanding. My work slows down because of these courses.) [Translation] (Karine Charbonneau, "Geneviève Cadieux ou comment vivre pour l'art").
Since 1985, Cadieux's work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally: at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art in Canada; at the Musée départemental d'art contemporain, in Rochechouart, France; at the Museum Van Hadendaagse Kunst, in Antwerp, Belgium; at the Tate Gallery in London, Great Britain; and at the Pittsburg Center for the Arts in Pittsburg, United States. In 1993, she was the subject of a major retrospective at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
The art of Geneviève Cadieux is fascinating in many ways. Using a photographic logic, she pairs the physical location of an installation with the concept of the work. Through the years, she has added elements to her artistic approach, working with video images and sound. Exploiting the capacity for stimulation offered by these media, she pulls viewers into the work, where they are confronted by the artist's words, as well as their own emotional and sensory reactions. This is the magic of Cadieux's approach. The viewers do not remain passive before the work, contemplating an object solely for its aesthetic values; rather, they are transported into the artist's personal universe, as well as their own, where only they can understand their reactions.
Cadieux's work often exploits an iconography of the body that expresses a questioning of identity, the difficulties of interpersonal communication, desire, loss, and anguish. Her work is also frequently influenced by artistic references, such as the piece La Voie lactée, inspired by À l'heure de l'observatoire Les Amoureux by Man Ray, and literary references such as La Blessure d'une cicatrice ou Les Anges, in which one finds a drawing of Saint-Exupéry's The Little Prince, or Broken Memory, inspired by a 17th-century poem by Sister Juana Ines de la Cruz.
In the last few years, Cadieux's work has moved away from representations of the human body and has integrated more and more images of landscapes. In Juillet 94, a piece produced in 1995 and, subsequently, in Portrait, and Pour un oui pour un non, the artist has reflected on the ties that exist between the image and the space that it occupies, and the meaning of these ties.
If you want to know more about the work of Geneviève Cadieux, you can visit the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, which has eight of her works, or the Galerie René Blouin in Montréal.
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Campeau, Sylvain. "Là ou l'expérience du dessaisissement : Geneviève Cadieux". Chambres obscures. Photographie et installation. Laval : Éditions Trois, 1995. P. 223-263
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Godmer, Gilles. Geneviève Cadieux. Montréal : Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, 1993. 84 p.
Janus, Elizabeth. "Geneviève Cadieux". Parachute. Vol. 64 (octobre-novembre-décembre 1991). P. 60-62
Pontbriand, Chantal. "Geneviève Cadieux". The Canadian encyclopedia [online]. Historica, 2000. [Cited April 30, 2002]. Also available in French Access: www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm