François Mathieu



Digital photograph

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253, rue Lindsay, Drummondville

Description of the work

Délamination was initially intended to be part of a theater set. The production never saw the light of day, and so the work remained dormant for several years. One day, François Mathieu decided to rededicate the theatrical device as a new object, like a temporary sculpture framed through his lens.

A vacant lot. A machine at a standstill in the middle of nowhere. Why? Tools in improbable postures. An abandoned construction site. At first glance, the image intrigues and seems to want to reveal what is hiding under the grass mat.

By attempting to create an alternative space in which the machine can continue to express itself, the artist plays with interpretations of space, object and photography, just as he does for the stage. The sculpture becomes an unlikely figure in the landscape and raises questions about why it’s there.

François Mathieu

About the artist

François Mathieu grew up in Beauce, near Québec. When he took in his very first exhibition in his 20s, he instantly felt a sense of belonging and wanted to become an artist. Preferring rural life, he lives and works in Saint-Sylvestre de Lotbinière.

He earned bachelor’s degrees in visual arts and philosophy from Université Laval and holds a master’s in Québec studies from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. In addition to his artistic practice, François Mathieu worked as a public art facilitator for the continuing education programs led by the Conseil de la culture des régions de Québec et de Chaudière-Appalaches and Conseil de la culture des Laurentides. As a technician, he has supported the work of many artists in the city of Québec.

François Mathieu has created public art on exhibition across the province. Very active since the 1990s, he has been part of solo and group exhibitions in Québec and Canada, as well as in Belgium and Mexico. His works have been showcased at events and exhibitions including L’oeil de poisson gallery and the Musée régional de Rimouski, Richmond Art Gallery in Vancouver, Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul and Manif d’art de Québec at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Artistic approach

Enigmatic constructions

As a sculptor and photographer, François Mathieu dreams up myriad machines and impossible sites whose very functions defy any questions about their merits. In his artistic approach, he is especially focused on the process leading to the work. Indeed, a range of successive creative stages is often perceptible in the finished work. In light of this, photography could simply constitute a documentary tool in the artist’s practice. While it can offer evidence of a step in the creative process, by providing a perspective on an intermediate state, it is rather used to spark a new work by imparting a more mysterious aspect.

Through his lens, François Mathieu shapes the frame to guide the viewer’s gaze into the direction of his choosing. The photos thus become fully-fledged pictorial perspectives. Some of his photographic works fall within the realm of experimentation by involving sculptural and non-sculptural material elements to create fictional events. The result is a jolt of peculiarity, as in his work Délamination.

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