Maude Arsenault in Percé
(Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park)


Fabric of self: folded and folded again, 2021

Maude Arsenault, Montreal (Québec) |

Fabric of self: folded and folded again, 2021

“As an artist, mother and feminist, I am constantly asking myself how women can give themselves a value of individuality in the private and public space, one that is free of models imposed by the dominant structures, a space where one can connect to oneself, one’s body, one’s true nature.

“Questions relative to power structures and performance that govern the representations of women have marked my professional journey. The photographic work, as Susan Sontag says (On Photography, 1977), through its authoritarian posture imposes a form of domination on its subjects. The camera inspires something similar to desire, something of possessing, of consuming, of stopping time, of breaking the mutability of all things. Nowadays we absorb and experience images at an accelerated pace, and like Balzac, who suspected the camera of stripping off layers of the body, images in a certain way consume reality. I therefore asked myself whether the photographic experience was image or thing.

“The installation work presented here in the space of the Gaspé region is intended, as a result, to be a dialogue between the image and the image-objet as well as between private space and public space. In the context of a pandemic and of our lives that have been transformed, that have confined us to our homes while keeping us connected to the outside world and in offering a look at our privacy, the work is offered as a reappropriation of one’s own space, like a conversation involving the bubble, the body and the persona. The work of the image and of the printed material (textile) superimposes itself, folds away, becomes creased. Like our lives and our skins that magnify, ignite and steep themselves in passing time, the fabric thus transposed to the territory’s space first comes off as captivating but will wear out despite itself thanks to the wind and bad weather: it will reveal itself finally for what it is, that being movement, fluidity and experience.” – Maude Arsenault

Exhibition at Rencontres

Fabric of self: folded and folded again, 2021

Maude Arsenault’s artistic practice unfolds like a relaxation of her relationship to the photographic, meaning a deconstruction of the representation of women in photography. Her reflections derive from a subjective look at female body-spaces and space-bodies. Her work surrounds the themes of feminine representation, private space, domesticity and intimacy based on the prism of the camera and a practice that vacillates between abstract compositions, textuality, portraits and documentary images.

In 2020, Maude Arsenault launched her first photo monograph, called Entangled, with the publisher Deadbeat Club Press (Los Angeles). The publication has been presented at a number of exhibits in 2020 and 2021, including Rencontres de la photographie de la Gaspésie and PUI (Nantes, France), and was a finalist for photobook of the year at the Singapore Photography Festival (2020). In September 2020 the photographer was Grand Prize winner of the Hariban Award in Japan, and was selected for exhibition by Lucy Gallun (MoMA), Emma Bowkett (FT Magazine, United Kingdom), Felix Hoffman (C/O Berlin, Germany) and Ma Quan (professor, China). In September 2021 she will be presenting a solo exhibit in Kyoto on the occasion of the Kyotographie International Photography Festival.

Maude Arsenault is currently pursuing a master’s degree in visual and media arts at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and is the happy recipient of the Bourse du Centre des Femmes de l’UQAM (2020) and the 2021 Yvonne L. Bombardier Visual Arts Scholarship.