The Power Plant

World Discovered Under Other Skies

Manuel Mathieu

Past Exhibition

Sep 26 – Jan 03 2021

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Henry Chan.


FALL 2020 PRESENTING SPONSOR

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LEAD DONORS

Steven & Lynda Latner

MAJOR DONORS

Fonds Hamelys Pamela J. Joyner Jay Smith & Laura Rapp

SUPPORT DONORS

Bita Doagoo & Mazyar Mortazavi André Dufour & Fanny Rodrigue Linda Frum & Howard Sokolowski Jad & Roula Shimaly

ARTS PARTNER

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SUPPORTED BY

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Kavi Gupta


CURATOR

AMIN ALSADEN, NANCY MCCAIN AND BILL MORNEAU CURATORIAL FELLOW

Manuel Mathieu is known for vibrant, colourful paintings that seamlessly merge abstraction with figuration. His work reflects on our intertwined lives, in which the boundaries between the past and present or the personal and political are often blurred. Sharing recollections that depict everyday scenes, Mathieu also blends into his canvases an interrogation of the complex history of his familial homeland, Haiti. By unearthing the traumas of state violence, he addresses issues that remain as urgent today as they have been throughout Haitian history.

Mathieu’s first solo exhibition in Toronto features a collection of new and past works—including paintings, drawings, and ceramics—shedding light on Haiti’s relationship to the world. Positioned at the fault lines of modern political and environmental crises, Haiti epitomizes a global longing for liberation, and grassroots resistance to imperialist and capitalist exploits. At the centre of this exhibition is an examination of the long-lasting repercussions of Haiti’s pioneering revolt (launched in 1791, challenging slavery and colonialism) and its quest for self-determination, which have led in more recent decades to embroiling the nation in the intrigues of the Cold War. In Zapruder/313 (2016), Mathieu borrows from footage capturing the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy to raise questions about American support of Haiti’s ruthless dictatorships in pursuit of neo-colonial interests.

Other paintings delve into memories of the Duvalier dictatorships (1957-86), to bring harrowing incidents back into contemporary consciousness. Fort Dimanche 2 (2017) hints at the atrocities committed at the infamous prison where countless political opponents vanished. Mathieu’s work is a reminder that commemorating the tragedies of the past does not fall solely on the shoulders of a nation’s local or diasporic communities. Instead, it is part of our collective responsibility. His works suggest a distinct understanding of Haiti’s history—a history defined by global currents, which occasionally collide to erupt in frenzied episodes of mass violence. Mathieu, therefore, proposes that the dynamics of the world might manifest themselves in one place, like Haiti. Underlining common links and struggles that unite us despite national borders, he invites us to enter a world discovered under other skies.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

 Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu, Resilience - a Landscape of Desire, 2020. Fabric, ink, and dust on canvas, 80 x 110 in. Courtesy the artist. Installation view: World Discovered Under Other Skies, The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Manuel Mathieu: World Discovered Under Other Skies. Installation view: The Power Plant, Toronto, 2020. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

TOUR THE EXHIBITION

LEARN MORE

Watch Manuel Mathieu's interview with The Power Plant here.

FALL 2020 PROGRAM GUIDE

Click here to read more about The Power Plant's Fall 2020 exhibitions and programming for the season!

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EXPANDING ACCESS

Listen to Manuel Mathieu's exhibition wall text narrated by World Discovered Under Other Skies curator, Amin Alsaden here:

READING ROOM

Our reading list helps expand on ideas and themes of The Power Plant's exhibitions. Click here to view Manuel Mathieu’s selection.

Flash of the Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson

Les Damnées de la terre - The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon

Brother I am dying by Edwidge Danticat

Location of Culture by Homi K. Bhabha

About the Artist


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.

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