Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Lustrer (moodboard), 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

pour ce qui brille, minutie / for that which shines, minutiae

Nadège Grebmeier Forget


Exhibition resulting from the program Autorésidences

Autorésidences is a remote residency program created by the AXENÉO7 artist-run centre in the exceptional context of the COVID-19 pandemic to continue to support research and development of current art practices.

In her individual exhibition pour ce qui brille, minutie / for that which shines, minutiae, presented at AXENÉO7, Nadège Grebmeier Forget displays the materialization of her performative gestures that led to a colossal image production. This resulted in photographic reproductions the size of advertisement posters that are placed directly on the floor. The images become surfaces of execution and exhibition for other realizations using the logic of accumulation and detour. The set-ups are supported by piles of magazines and overhung with familiar elements in the artist's iconography. This horizontal mounting reduces the physical distance between viewers and the works, and thereby underscores the desire to come closer.

The Jean-Pierre Latour space is permeated with the Nadège Grebmeier Forget's absence, between reality and appearance. The room's vast windowed walls are partially covered with a pink semi-opaque film and bedecked with makeup. Bearing an accumulation of fingerprints, this shimmering façade becomes a screen revealing a tension between interiority and exteriority. This visual build-up refers to ulterior performances that the artist carried out in front of mirrors. As viewers, we look at ourselves through the embodiment of her gestures, in a simulated porosity that recalls the artist's body. The metaphorical language of the fabricated or performed — choreographies — , the disproportion of the applied or explosive actions, and finally the evocation of closeness are expressed in each of the works.

Carried out from 2020 to 2022 during the Autorésidences program, an AXENÉO7 pandemic response initiative, Grebmeier Forget's most recent productions trigger various shockwaves. These primarily pictorial propositions inspired by her previous projects transgress commonplace notions of canonical feminine beauty, fundamental to her performative practice — and of self-representation. They foreground the detrimental imbalances of the exploitative objectification and overrepresentation of women in the media as well as the prejudices they give rise to. The pages of fashion magazines, which the artist accumulates in an almost obsessional manner, serve as her canvas. The faces of the photographed models become paintings to be (re)painted to be made up (again).  After selecting images, she manipulates or scans then prints them. These are considered by the artist as ready-made: pixelated, unprocessed and uncropped. The artist excessively defaces the chosen and reproduced models by erasing their features with solvent. Next, she smears layers of make-up by applying it impetuously with her fingers on the degraded faces, thereby turning them into deformed anatomies resembling bits of bizarre motley flesh. The models become paintings to be (re)painted — to be (re)made up. This results in a persistent imagery of overlapping shapes superimposed into simultaneously alarming and attractive corporalities. The interventions embodied by way of visual referents impart the images with tensions and sensations. Evocations of her own body. The shimmering bodily presence of the artist is fully sensed in the material body of work.

For over ten years, Nadège Grebmeier Forget has been proposing a performative (in)occupation by way of her (in)direct presence resulting from an over-presentation and overconsumption of her image, without any economy of attention turned towards herself. Her body, shown in fragments made accessible during performative (in)actions, is put into circulation in a controlled manner through specific contexts such as on the Internet (notably by way of social media) via live streams. Her material, her fragmentary body, clashes with images lifted from fashion magazines, from photographs of iconic celebrities or camgirl style self-portraits taken from her personal archives. During these live interventions drawing on choreography and accompanying burlesquotechno sounds, the artist out-re-plays the perception of her own image in an exaggerated manner. At once an unruly teen and self-assured woman, she rouses our interest through the intensity of her actions both in the immediacy of her public performances and in the inaccessibility of her camera and thus transports us into another reality of unexpected brutality. She intentionally stages herself — in the nude — before viewers or Internet users. Public intimacy. A screened private life. She shines in front of us. She beguiles us through the interface of her personality, moves us through the impulsivity of her gestures. Our attention turns towards her. The nonchalant artist metamorphoses before our eyes — live or in pre-recorded mode. Our gaze is captivated in the instantaneity of her striking corporality. Grebmeier Forget reveals herself in a multitude of inspirations, between homage and outrage. 

Nadège Grebmeier Forget's practice covers a range of genuine concerns, notably ones related to the initial rise of Body Art and Feminist Art in the late 1960s, in which  women's bodies were the vector of protest gestures. Characterized by a self-assured femininity and taking various stands — i.e. liberation, demands, subversion, seduction and temptation — against the sexist oppression inherent in a patriarchy, Grebmeier Forget mobilizes the principles of feminist resistance. Her incisive and provocative actions point the finger at the idealization discourses that contribute to the contempt and degradation of women. She thus uses the power of her body and expands its boundaries. The historical and temporal dimensions are interwoven to denounce coercive systems, beauty archetypes and stereotypes, and sexualized generalizations. 

pour ce qui brille, minutie / for that which shines, minutiae awakens persistent sensations that animate and stimulate the gaze and our sensitivity. Through this proposition in which the feminine body is (re)signified into new canons, Nadège Grebmeier Forget leaves us with the sensible marks of a captivating consciousness of a history of women, of her own history. 

— Jean-Michel Quirion

Nadège Grebmeier Forget is engaged in the arts milieu as an interdisciplinary artist, project coordinator, creative consultant and artistic director. Primarily known for her durational, live, streamed, and private performances, over the course of her projects, she has mobilized a critical reflection on this medium by questioning its presentation devices, issues pertaining to its documentation, and its dissemination potential. Her work draws on the vocabulary of various feminisms, while her own body and personal psyche acts as observation, research and transformation mediums. She has participated in many arts events, festivals, talks and residencies in Canada as well as in Europe and the US. Her most recent works were presented at Bradley Ertaskiran, Projet Casa and Fonderie Darling, Montréal (2020), Critical Distance, Toronto (2018), Astérides — la Friche la Belle of Mai, Marseille, France (2016), She Works Flexible — Flex Space, Houston (2016), VU PHOTO/Mois Multi, Quebec City (2016). Texts about her work have been published in the proceedings of the colloquium La performance: Un espace de visibilité pour les femmes artistes ? by AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions (Paris), the scientific journal Recherches féministes, the MOMUS online publication and the magazines Vie des arts, Spirale, esse arts + opinions and ELLE Québec. She is the first performance artist to receive the Prix Pierre-Ayot de la Ville de Montréal (2019), awarded in partnership with the Association des galeries d'art contemporain (AGAC).



Roxanne Arsenault
Natacha Chamko
Julie Cusson
Emili Dufour
Marlène Ferrari
Michelle Lacombe
Charles Martel
Caroline Savaria
Michel Séguin
Douglas Scholes
Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre

Adam Basanta
Lucile Godet
Catherine Lescarbeau
M.A. Marleau
David Paquin
Jean-Michel Quirion

Atelier CLARK
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
Gauvin Henman Inc.
L’imprimerie, centre d’artistes
Atelier M Séguin