The Power Plant

Manuel Mathieu


Courtesy Manuel Mathieu

Manuel Mathieu is a multidisciplinary artist based in Montreal. He is best known for his vibrant, colourful paintings, which deftly merge abstraction and figuration. His paintings materialise the instability of forms, perpetual movement and a sense of pareidolia – our urge to see patterns where none exist. Mathieu suggests that global dynamics can manifest in a single place, with Haiti as the site of his own inquiries.He highlights the shared links and struggles that unite us despite national borders. Where he approaches political themes, he does so from a personal perspective, through reflections on solitude, death, survival and desire.

His work explores our intertwined lives, in which the lines between past and present, personal and political, are often blurred. While he shares memories of his own life experiences, such as a convalescence following a serious accident, Mathieu also blends into his canvases a reckoning with the complex history of his homeland. He confronts questions that remain as urgent today as they have been throughout Haiti’s long history, unearthing the traumas of state violence. His work offers a space of reflection on Haiti’s history while inviting us to imagine its possible futures. Mathieu’s concern for spatial organization, evident in his exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and The Power Plant, has now become the work itself, allowing the artist to explore Haitian culture and the major themes of his artistic investigation in all their physicality.

Manuel Mathieu (b. 1986 in Port-au-Prince, lives and works in Montreal). He received his BFA from Université du Québec à Montréal and his MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London. Mathieu was an artist in residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2019-20), and the Pamela Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida residency program, Sonoma CA (2019). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2020); HDM Gallery, Beijing (2019); The Armory Show, New York (2018); Tiwani Contemporary, London (2017); and Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2015). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions held in Canada, the United States, and Europe, including Fondation Phi, Montreal (2020); Pérez Art Museum Miami (2019); Frieze London (2018); Art Basel (2017); and Grand Palais, Paris (2014). Mathieu was one of the artists recognized by the 2020 Sobey Art Award.