Caroline Monnet In the Name of Progress
Works in the exhibition
Galerie Division is pleased to present for the first time the work of Montreal-based artist, Caroline Monnet.
In the Name of Progress revisits motifs passed down through Monnet’s family by generations of matriarchs. Employing rigid lines and elemental materials, the artist underscores the endurance of her culture’s visual language, a language only now being welcomed into the art historical canon. If her homage grants indigenous visual identity its historical due, it does so in a way that splits with the traditions to which she is paying tribute. By tracing her roots to her own contemporaneity, Monnet describes a dynamic and ever-evolving history.
The notion of progress is manifested in the dialogue surrounding Monnet’s work, as well as in its subject. In her series of pyrographies, she examines the indelible marks left on her ancestral land in the name of progress. Burned into white cedar, an indigenous wood, the lines and patterns passed down by her ancestors become a metaphorical map and a testament to the distances traveled by indigenous communities over the centuries. These displacements assumed particular significance with the introduction of reserves, as the Algonquin Anishinabeg nation was displaced from Oka to Maniwaki, its territory converted into seigneuries, and its forests assarted. Sourced from Maniwaki, her carved wood panels suggest the land divisions imposed by seigneurial rule. We also detect in their burned patterns a resemblance to microchips, a fitting contemporary analogue to the deep stores of historical information transmitted through the ages by the artist's ancestors.
Caroline Monnet is a multidisciplinary artist from Outaouais, Quebec, whose work first garnered wide-scale attention at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival for her film Ikwé. Since, Monnet's work has been part of many exhibitions, notably at the National Art Gallery (Ottawa), the Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff) and at Axenéo7 (Gatineau), and has participated in numerous prestigious exhibitions and festivals, including screenings at Sundance, Aesthetica (UK), Smithsonian Institute (NYC), at the Rencontres Internationales (Paris, Berlin, Madrid), at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, at Arsenal Contemporary (NY), and the Cannes Film Festival, where she received Cannes "Most Promising Project" Award in 2017.