Dominique Blain

(Quebec, Canada)

Dominique Blain


Parisian Laundry
September 10 to October 11, 2015

Long before the advent of the digital, Dominique Blain was prowling the pathways of the post-photographic: the accessibility of images; the ease of producing and reproducing them; the sacrificing of quality for the political capital of the document. She did this in the service of memory’s defiant challenge of amnesia, in an attempt to let the images that have survived evoke what has vanished.

Disturbed by the traumas that knotted together the history of the second half of the 20th century, Blain has constructed her recent projects out of archival film found on the Internet – footage that makes visible social and political tensions, such as those that have gripped South Africa, Chile, Iran, Palestine, China, Paris, and Prague. Although the audio-visual texture of these pieces is imbued with the past, the artist is committed to wringing from their content all that can be extrapolated to the present.

Emergence (2015) is a video installation conceived specifically for Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal. The title is drawn from a quote by Michel de Montaigne: “Emergence is a matter of bringing to consciousness.” What emerges to consciousness is not the illusion of trompe-l’oeil but, as Louise Déry has suggested, a trompe-temps: a double temporal plane represented by two parallel screens. The eclipsed action of the background is glimpsed through fractured fervently agitated crowds. The slow-motion treatment simultaneously expands time, dislocating our perceptions. “Memory is built on injury, on the disjointed, on the heterogeneous,” Derrida exclaims, in Tourner les mots. Emergence reminds us that a placid memory is doomed to fall asleep.


Dominique Blain was born in 1957; she lives and works in Montreal. She graduated from Concordia University in 1979 and from the New York Film Academy in 1996. Her works have been presented in prestigious North American and European institutions, such as the Bentley Gallery in Phoenix (2015), The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2012), the Musée de l’Europe in Wroclaw (2009), the Musée de l’Europe in Brussels (2008), and the Galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal (2004). Her works are in important collections, including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Scotsdale Contemporary Art Museum in Arizona, the Los Angeles County Museum in California, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. She received the Paul-Émile Borduas Award in 2014 and Les Elles de l’Art award, given by Pratt & Whitney, in association with the Conseil des arts de Montréal, in 2009. She is represented by galerie antoine ertaskiran in Montreal.

Portrait: © Ministère de la Culture et des Communications and La Cavalerie

Emergence, 2015

Emergence, 2015