June 20, 2019 to February 16, 2020
QUÉBEC CITY, June 19, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), in collaboration with RBC, its financial partner, is proud to present Raccord, the exhibition of artist Numa Amun, recipient of the third MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award. From June 20, 2019 to February 16, 2020, this new exhibition produced through an outstanding partnership between the MNBAQ and the Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides (MAC LAU) will enable visitors to discover the artist's work of magnetic precision stemming from a skilful blending of abstraction, representation and optical illusions. The rendering of his works results from extraordinary meticulousness. It inspires contemplative, sensitive meditation of the physical body or even of the recognition of the soul emanating from the beyond.
Curated by Jonathan Demers, Director General and Chief Conservator at the MAC LAU, this first major solo exhibition assembles works of amazing force that will be accompanied by an original publication available in mid-July.
Numa Amun's work is fascinating since his artistic quest encompasses the spiritual and expresses itself through such powerful themes are life, death, love, suffering and solitude. Visitors will be captivated by such refinement and meticulousness and will appreciate this unique, indeed, spiritual, artistic approach that focuses on the distinct spirit of experience. They can admire frescoes that reflect human life and engage in an unforgettable sensory experience.
Since its inception, the MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award has been granted every two years to a Québec artist whose career spans more than 10 years. Previous award winners were Diane Morin in 2015 and Carl Trahan in 2017. The biennial award, granted with financial support from RBC, includes a $ 2 000 cash award for the five finalists, an exhibition organized for Numa Amun, the third recipient, the acquisition by the MNBAQ for its collection of $50 000 worth of the artist's works, and a publication highlighting his work.
Text by Jonathan Demers
Raccord by Numa Amun invites contemplation (from the Latin contemplor, to gaze at). The eight works present eight bodies painted freehand on free canvases religiously integrated by the artist into the walls of the MNBAQ. They make up a symbolic fresco from which emanates the trajectory of a spiritual life. Numa Amun's painting is salutary. It proposes a succession of material and immaterial states and promises through its liturgy (the exhibition) a soothing outcome from the suffering inherent in existence.
Close scrutiny of the paintings reveals a geometric organization stemming from painstaking work that confines the gesture of painting to considerable self-restraint. Through quasi-abstinence, Numa Amun subjects himself to slow production that stretches time. It took nearly a year to produce each of the paintings exhibited. The complex mechanism that allows the images to emerge forms an arrangement marked by the opposition of complementary colours. In this way, the painter refers by inversion to the photographic negative, making appear in near transparency subjects bathed in light.
Beyond time and space, the works that make up Raccord result from a singular approach that is at once pictorial and metaphysical, stemming from a lengthy tradition of representation. The network of images that Numa Amun creates is as familiar as it is unsettling: it evokes a visual reminiscence, indeed the recollection of a distant figurative story of which we seem to still bear the scar
The genesis of Raccord
A genuine ode to the life cycle, the exhibition assembles eight paintings created between 2009 and 2016. The works gravitate towards the incarnation of an invisible order that seemingly unfolds the cosmic states of a multifaceted life. The works form a whole since each painting draws inspiration from the others and each work echoes the others. The artist explains the genesis of the project.
"The starting point was the ribbon woman as an icon of the Virgin. After that, I wanted to produce a second painting. What is happening in front of the virgin? People are kneeling. I thus made a kneeling man. Since I was subsequently in a slightly blacker zone, I wanted to produce a painting that speaks of death. It was only when I had produced four or five paintings that I realized that I was in the process of speaking of life and death. The project shows that we live in a physical cathedral but it also shows that we vanish."
All of the paintings are hand-made. They are produced by laying down a grid in which the pale or dark lines and the creation of colours lie within the scope of a stylistic relationship that displays absolute rigour. The paintings have been incorporated into the MNBAQ's walls. This undoubtedly reflects the artist's quest for refinement and his desire to achieve a 3D effect but also to integrate the works into the very history of the MNBAQ.
"It is like a tribute to walls and architecture. The paintings are embedded in the MNBAQ's architecture. There is something poetic that I found attractive. This is an exhibition of contemporary art but, at the same time, it is somewhat timeless. I hope that individuals who do not get off on contemporary art have as much pleasure as those who do. There is no mannerism and there are no boundaries. If visitors start on the third floor of the Gérard Morisset Pavilion to reach the exhibition, I believe that they will not feel disoriented as my work has a very liturgical side. For those who start here and go to the exhibition rooms of 350 Years of Artistic Practices in Québec, there is no discrepancy."
Numa Amun, in a nutshell
Numa Amun was born in 1974 in Montréal, where he is now living and working. He graduated from the UQAM (bachelor's degree) in 1998 and from Concordia University (MFA) in 2004. He participated in the Biennale de Montréal (2007) and the Triennale québécoise (2011). He has presented solo shows throughout Québec, Canada and in Northern Ireland. In particular, in 2004 and 2018, he produced in situ works in churches in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in Montréal. His works are present in the public collections of the MNBAQ (Art Loan Collection) and the Canadian Art Foundation. In 2018, Numa Amun received the third MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award, presented in collaboration with RBC. Raccord is the artist's first major exhibition in a museum. He will teach at Concordia University starting in the fall of 2019.
A video portrait of Numa Amun
To reveal to the general public Numa Amun's profoundly spiritual approach, the MNBAQ is proposing a video brief based on an interview with the artist in the Église du Très-Saint-Nom-de-Jésus in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. This news report broadcast on the MNBAQ's social networks when his award was announced highlights his painting technique, sources of inspiration and works.
To watch: https://youtu.be/xeRrZDJYzLk
A limited edition box
A special catalogue will present the work of Numa Amun, the third recipient of the MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award.
The box, a unique item produced by graphic designer Raphaël Daudelin of Le Studio Feed inc., will comprise an essay in French and in English, written by Jonathan Demers.
The art object will be available in mid-July in a limited, numbered, signed edition. The publication Raccord is the ideal way to enter Numa Amun's universe. Distributed by Dimedia, Raccord will be pre-sale at the opening of the exhibition, on June 19, for $39.95. During the summer, it will be available at the MNBAQ bookstore-boutique and in bookstores for $49.95.
This exhibition, presented until February 16, 2020, is organized by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and designed by guest curator Jonathan Demers, in collaboration with the Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides. It highlights the granting in 2018 to Numa Amun of the MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award, with the financial participation of RBC.
Direction of the project
Director of Collections and Exhibitions
Coordination of the project
Project Manager, MNBAQ
Guest curator, director and chief curator,
Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides
Lead Designer, MNBAQ
The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a government corporation which receives funding from the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec.
Raccord by Numa Amun
Winner of the third MNBAQ Contemporary Art Award
Gérard Morisset Pavilion at the MNBAQ
From June 20, 2019 to February 16, 2020
SOURCE Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
For further information: 418 643-2150 ou 1 866 220-2150