If you live in Montreal, in the riding of Papineau, you may have already seen the artist Kim Waldron. On a sign, at least. Since she was a candidate in the federal elections in 2015.
If you go to the Expression art center, you will see it. Everywhere.
Kim Waldron is an artist who puts herself on display in her work. This is the heart of his approach: living the experience to be able to bear witness to it. Go to China, Japan or political news to better understand the issues that sometimes escape us when we only read the headlines.
There is a story around all my projects. And that animates my thinking.
What we see in his work, and in this exhibition, is the result of all these experiences, in photos.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, since Kim Waldron’s autofictional representations are the result of a very thoughtful and planned approach that is not revealed by simple contemplation.
“Kim Waldron is an artist who has worked very seriously for around twenty years, questioning roles and functions,” explains Louise Déry, one of the retrospective’s curators.
In this exhibition, Kim Waldron’s bodies of work are deconstructed a little. The oldest photos are at the top, the most recent are at the bottom. In doing so, we leave a lot of space between the works and it also gives the visitor some breathing space. We are not at all in an anxiety-provoking atmosphere.
It’s quite the opposite. And it completely changes the way we receive images. The artist herself admitted during the press visit that she was impressed by the scale, even the amplitude, of the final result.
Among the sobering coincidences, the fact that one of Kim Waldron’s projects focuses on meat production and that the exhibition is presented in an art center which is located on the second floor of the public market of the town, where butchers have their stalls. Art (very) often brings us back to concrete questions.
Kim in China
For his project Made in Quebec, the artist went… to China, to give working time back to this society, we who consume a crazy quantity of objects made there. As things are sometimes complicated in this country, rather than working in factories, she spent time there and performed in these places.
For the Quebec portion of its project No Hero, she participated in cleaning the banks and bottom of a lake to show that, when it comes to the fight against climate change, there is no hero who will arrive to save us. We must all do our part.
If we see the artist performing, inevitably, we also see her, the real Kim, since she is sometimes pregnant in her projects, as on her electoral sign – she ultimately collected 163 votes in Papineau. Justin Trudeau won the election.
There is a play between fiction and reality. She takes roles. She personifies professions, functions, work situations.
Louise Déry, one of the curators of the exhibition
Fiction is, however, absent from this hyper-personal work which bears witness to her medical journey as she took photos during her cancer treatments. The result echoes this work by American artist Martha Wilson made up of nine images of women’s breasts.
The commissioners made this decision not to put indications on the walls, but to provide the information at the entrance and in a visitor guide.
Doesn’t this complicate the lives of visitors who are already in front of conceptual works?
“We cannot do without a little effort,” replies Louise Déry, who reminds us that there is no art without a concept. “The artist,” she said, “always has an intention. »
“Artists and their works reach out to people,” continues the curator. They express something. »
This is very clear with Kim Waldron, to whom we want to extend our hand in return.
Kim Waldron Ltd.: civil societyat Expression, Saint-Hyacinthe exhibition center, until April 21
Who is Kim Waldron?
- She began her professional artistic practice in 2003.
- In 2013, she was a recipient of the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman scholarship in contemporary art and winner of the Pierre-Ayot prize.
- In 2015, she was an independent candidate in the federal elections in Papineau – as part of an artistic project.
- She is a professor at the School of Visual and Media Arts at UQAM.
- His works have been part of exhibitions at the Momenta-Biennale de l’image, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, at the Galerie de l’UQAM and as part of the Orange Biennale in Saint-Hyacinthe.