2018_Soulevements_ChenChieh-Jen Chen, The Route, 2006, still from the 35 mm film transferred onto DVD, color and black and white, silent, 16 min 45 s. Courtesy of Galerie Lily Robert, Paris © Chieh-Jen Chen


What makes us rise up? It is forces: mental, physical, and social forces. Through these forces we transform immobility into movement, burden into energy, submission into revolt, renunciation into expansive joy. Uprisings occur as gestures: arms rise up, hearts beat more strongly, bodies unfold, mouths are unbound. Uprisings are never without thoughts, which often become sentences: we think, express ourselves, discuss, sing, scribble a message, create a poster, distribute a tract, or write a work of resistance.

It is also forms: forms through which all of this will be able to appear and become visible in the public space. Images, therefore; images to which this exhibition is devoted. Images of all times, from Goya to today, and of all kinds: paintings, drawings, sculptures, films, photographs, videos, installations, documents, etc. They interact in dialogue beyond the differences of their times. They are presented according to a narrative in which there will appear, in succession, unleashed elements, when the energy of the refusal makes an entire space rise up; intense gestures, when bodies can say “No!”; exclaimed words, when speech rebels and files a complaint with the court of history; flared-up conflicts, when barricades are erected and when violence becomes inevitable; and indestructible desires, when the power of uprisings manages to survive beyond their repression or their disappearance.

In any case, whenever a wall is erected, there will always be “people arisen” to “jump the wall,” that is, to cross over borders. If only by imagining. As though inventing images contributed—a little here, powerfully there—to reinventing our political hopes.

Georges Didi-Huberman, curator

View this text in Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) on Vimeo



Uprisings in five sections


Sections I, II and III are presented at Galerie de l’UQAM, and sections IV and V at Cinémathèque québécoise


I. With elements (unleashed)


2018_Soulevements_KatoTsubasa Kato, Break it Before it’s Broken, 2015, still from the video, color, sound, 4 min 49 s © Tsubasa Kato / Camera: Taro Aoishi


To rise up, as when we say “a storm is rising.” To reverse the weight that nailed us to the ground. So, it is the laws of the atmosphere itself that will be contradicted. Surfaces—sheets, draperies, flags—fly in the wind. Lights that explode into fireworks. Dust that rises up from nooks and crannies. Time that falls out of joint. The world upside down. From Victor Hugo to Eisenstein and beyond, uprisings are often compared to hurricanes or to great, surging waves. Because then the elements (of history) become unleashed.

We rise up first of all by exercising our imagination, albeit through our “caprichos” (whims or fantasies) or “disparates” (follies) as Goya said. The imagination makes mountains rise up. And when we rise up from a real “disaster,” it means that we meet what oppresses us, and those who seek to make it impossible for us to move, with the resistance of forces that are desires and imaginations first of all, that is to say psychical forces of unleashing and of reopening possibilities.


With Dennis Adams, Rebecca Belmore, William Hogarth, Victor Hugo, Mario Jean, Tsubasa Kato, Eustachy Kossakowski, Maria Kourkouta, Jasmina Metwaly, Tina Modotti, Robert Morris, Roman Signer, Michael Snow, Françoise Sullivan, Gabor Szilasi, Jean Veber, anonymous

View this text in Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) on Vimeo


2. With gestures (intense)


2018_Soulevements_lakeSuzy Lake, Pre-Resolution: Using the Ordinances at Hand #11, 1983, chromogenic print, oil, paint, wood. Shanita Kachan and Gerald Sheff Collection © Suzy Lake


Rising up is a gesture. Before even attempting to carry out a voluntary and shared “action,” we rise up with a simple gesture that suddenly overturns the burden that submission had, until then, placed on us (be it through cowardice, cynicism, or despair). To rise up means to throw off the burden weighing down on our shoulders, keeping us from moving. It is to break a certain present—be it with hammer blows as Friedrich Nietzsche and Antonin Artaud sought to do—and to raise your arms towards the future that is opening up. It is a sign of hope and of resistance.

It is a gesture and it is an emotion. The Spanish Republicans—whose visual culture was shaped by Goya and Picasso, but also by all the photographers on the field who collected the gestures of freed prisoners, of voluntary combatants, of children and of the famous La Pasionaria, Dolores Ibárruri—fully assumed this. In the gesture of rising up, each body protests with all of its limbs, each mouth opens and exclaims its no-refusal and its yes-desire.


With Paulo Abreu, Art & Language, Dominique Blain, Désiré-Magloire Bourneville, Shary Boyle, Gilles Caron, Claude Cattelain, Agusti Centelles, Alain Chagnon, CHIM, Pascal Convert, Michel Foucault, Leonard Freed, Marcel Gautherot, Agnès Geoffray, Jochen Gerz, Jack Goldstein, Alvaro Hoppe, Alberto Korda, Germaine Krull, Hiroji Kubota, Suzy Lake, Tina Modotti, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edouard Plante-Fréchette, Willy Romer, Willy Ronis, Blaire Russel, Graciela Sacco, Peter Sibbald, Lorna Simpson, Paul-Henri Talbot, Wolf Vostell, Joyce Wieland, anonymous

View this text in Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) on Vimeo


3. With words (exclaimed)


2018_Soulevements_TTardifÉtienne Tremblay-Tardif, Éphéméride : l’occupation étudiante de l’École des beaux-arts de Montréal (detail), 2018. Courtesy of the artist © Étienne Tremblay-Tardif


Arms have been raised, mouths have exclaimed. Now, what are needed are words, sentences to say, sing, think, discuss, print, transmit. That is why poets place themselves “at the forefront” of the action itself, as Rimbaud said at the time of the Paris Commune. Upstream the Romantics, downstream the Dadaists, Surrealists, Lettrists, Situationists, etc., all undertook poetic insurrections.

“Poetic” does not mean “far from history,” quite the contrary. There is a poetry of tracts, from the protest leaflet written by Georg Büchner in 1834 to the digital resistance of today, through René Char in 1943 and the “ciné-tracts,” from 1968. There is a poetry particular to the use of newspapers and social networks. There is a particular intelligence—attentive to the form—inherent in the books of resistance or of uprising. Until the walls themselves begin to speak and occupy the public space, the sensible space in its entirety.


With Henri Alleg, Magdeleine Arbour, Antonin Artaud, Ever Astudillo Delgado, Ismaïl Bahri, Marcel Barbeau, Artur Barrio, Georges Bataille, Charles Baudelaire, Paul-Émile Borduas, André Breton, Marcel Broodthaers, Cornelius Castoriadis, Champfleury, Bruno Cormier, Gustave Courbet, Armand Dayot, Guy Debord, École de la montagne rouge, Carl Einstein, Marcelle Ferron-Hamelin, Giselle Freund, Claude Gauvreau, Pierre Gauvreau, Muriel Guilbault, Raymond Hains, Raoul Haussmann, Bernard Heidsieck, Victor Hugo, Richard Igbhy & Marilou Lemmens, Asger Jorn, Natasha Kanapé Fontaine, Michèle Lalonde, Fernand Leduc, Thérèse Leduc, Claude Lefort, Jérôme Lindon, Germán Marin, Henri Michaux, Tina Modotti, Jean-Paul Mousseau, Jacques Nadeau, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Maurice Perron, Jacques Rancière, Man Ray, Louise Renaud, Françoise Riopelle, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Armando Salgado, Álvaro Sarmiento, Philippe Soupault, Françoise Sullivan, Charles Toubin, Étienne Tremblay-Tardif, Félix Vallotton, Dziga Vertov, Gil Joseph Wolman, anonymous

View this text in Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) on Vimeo


4. With conflicts (flared up)


2018_Soulevements_VaughanAndrew Vaughan, Untitled [Africville Protest, Eddie Carvery’s trailers], 2015. Courtesy of The Canadian Press © Andrew Vaughan


And so everything flares up. Some see only pure chaos. Others witness the sudden appearance of the forms of a desire to be free. During strikes, ways of living together are invented. To say that we “demonstrate” is to affirm—albeit to be surprised by it or even not to understand it—that something appeared that was decisive. But this demanded a conflict. Conflict: an important motif of modern historical painting (from Manet to Polke), and of the visual arts in general (photography, cinema, video, digital arts).

It happens that uprisings produce merely the image of broken images: vandalism, those kinds of celebrations in negative format. But on these ruins will be built the temporary architecture of uprisings: paradoxical, moving, makeshift things that are barricades. Then, the police suppress the demonstration, when those who rise up had only the potency of their desire (potency: not power). And this is why there are so many people in history who have died from having risen up.


With Ruth Berlau, Dominique Blain, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Augustin Victor Casasola, Augusti Centelles, Chieh-Jen Chen, Honoré Daumier, Armand Dayot, Pascal Dumont, Pedro G. Romero, Stéphane Gilot, Arpad Hazafi, Hugo Aveta, Herbert Kirchhorff, Héctor López, Ernesto Molina, Jean-Luc Moulene, Voula Papaioannou, Hans Richter, Willy Romer, Jésus Ruiz Durand, Armando Salgado, Allan Sekula, Andrew Vaughan, Jean Verber, Malcolm Wilde Browne, anonymous

View this text in Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) on Vimeo


5. With desires (indestructible)


2018_Soulevements_RamirezEnrique Ramírez, Cruzar un muro, 2013, still from the HD video, color, sound, 5 min 15 s. Courtesy of the artist and Michel Rein Gallery, Paris/Brussels © Enrique Ramírez


But potency outlives power. Freud said that desire was indestructible. Even those who know they are condemned—in the camps, in the prisons—seek every means to transmit a testimony or call out. As Joan Miró evoked in a series of works titled The Hope of a Condemned Man, in homage to the anarchist student Salvador Puig i Antich, executed by Franco’s regime in 1974.

An uprising can end with mothers’ tears over the bodies of their dead children. But these tears are merely a burden: they can still provide the potencies of uprising, like in the “resistance marches” of mothers and grandmothers in Buenos Aires. It is our own children who rise up: Zero for Conduct! Was Antigone not almost a child herself? Whether in the Chiapas forests or on the Greece—Macedonia border, somewhere in China, in Egypt, in Gaza, or in the jungle of computerized networks considered as a vox populi, there will always be children to jump the wall.


With Taysir Batniji, Rebecca Belmore, Francisca Benitez, Ruth Berleau, Bruno Boudjelal, Augustin Victor Casasola, Augusti Centelles, Edouardo Gil, Ken Hamblin, Jeronimo Hernandez, Maria Kourkouta, Jacob Mat, Pedro Motta, Voula Papaioannou, Estefanía Peñafiel Loaiza, Enrique Ramírez, anonymous

View this text in Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) on Vimeo



About Georges Didi-Huberman




Born in 1953, Georges Didi-Huberman is a philosopher, art historian and Directeur d'études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. In 2015, the Theodore W. Adorno Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions in the fields of philosophy, music, theater and film, was awarded to him. Starting 1982, Georges Didi-Huberman has authored fifty books and essays mixing philosophy and art history, such as L’Œil de l’histoire, composed of 6 volumes published between 2009 and 2016. Since the exhibitions Atlas. Comment porter le monde sur son dos?, successively presented in Madrid, Karlsruhe and Hamburg in 2011, and L’empreinte, organized at Centre Georges-Pompidou in 1997, Georges Didi-Huberman has been the co-curator, with Arno Gisinger, of the exhibition Nouvelles histoires de fantômes at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, in 2014.


Curriculum vitae (excerpts)


Exhibition curation

Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2016-2017; Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2017; MUNTREF – Museo de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires, 2017; SESC São Paulo, 2017-2018; MUAC – Museo Universitario Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico, 2018; Galerie de l’UQAM and Cinémathèque québécoise, 2018

Nouvelles histoires de fantômes, with Arno Gisinger
Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2014

Histoires de fantômes pour grandes personnes, with Arno Gisinger
Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing, 2012

Atlas. Comment porter le monde sur son dos?
Museo Nacional Centro de arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2011; ZMK | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, 2011; Sammlung Falckenberg, Hambourg, 2011

Fables du lieu
Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains, Tourcoing, 2001

Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1997


Aperçues, Minuit, 2018
Passer quoi qu’il en coûte, with Nikki Giannari, Minuit, 2017
Uprisings, publication editor, texts by Nicole Brenez, Judith Butler, Marie-Josée Mondzain, Antonio Negri and Jacques Rancière, Jeu de Paume and Gallimard, 2016
Sortir du noir, Minuit, 2015
Ninfa fluida. Essai sur le drapé-désir, Gallimard, Art et artistes collection, 2015
Essayer voir, Minuit, 2014
Sentir le grisou, Minuit, 2014 
Phalènes. Essais sur l'apparition 2, Minuit, 2013
Blancs soucis, Minuit, 2013
Sur le fil, Minuit, 2013
L'album de l'art à l'époque du « Musée imaginaire », Éditions Hazan, 2013
Quelle émotion! Quelle émotion?, Bayard, 2013
Écorces, Minuit, 2011
L’expérience des images, with Umberto Eco and Marc Augé, Institut National de l’audiovisuel, 2011
L’œil de l'histoire 
Volume 1: Quand les images prennent position, Minuit, 2009
Volume 2: Remontages du temps subi, Minuit, 2010 
Volume 3: Atlas ou le gai savoir inquiet, Minuit, 2011
Volume 4: Peuples exposés, peuples figurants, Minuit, 2012
Volume 5: Passés cités par JLG, Minuit, 2015 
Volume 6: Peuples en larmes, peuples en armes, Minuit, 2016
Survivance des lucioles, Minuit, 2009
La ressemblance par contact. Archéologie, anachronisme et modernité de l’empreinte, Minuit, 2008
L'image ouverte. Motifs de l'incarnation dans les arts visuels, Gallimard, 2007
Le danseur des solitudes, Minuit, 2006
Ex-voto. Image, organe, temps, Bayard, 2006
Gestes d’air et de pierre. Corps, parole, souffle, image, Minuit, 2005
Images malgré tout, Minuit, 2004
Mouvements de l’air. Étienne-Jules Marey, photographe des fluides, with Laurent Mannoni, Gallimard and Réunion des musées nationaux, 2004
Ninfa moderna. Essai sur le drapé tombé, Gallimard, 2002
L’image survivante. Histoire de l’art et temps des fantômes selon Aby Warburg, Minuit, 2002
Génie du non-lieu. Air, poussière, empreinte, hantise, Minuit, 2001
L’homme qui marchait dans la couleur, Minuit, 2001
Être crâne. Lieu, contact, pensée, sculpture, Minuit, 2000
Devant le temps. Histoire de l’art et anachronisme des images, Minuit, 2000
Ouvrir Vénus. Nudité, rêve, cruauté, Gallimard, 1999
La demeure, la souche. Apparentements de l’artiste, Minuit, 1999
L’étoilement. Conversation avec Hantaï, Minuit, 1998
Phasmes. Essais sur l'apparition, Minuit 1998
La ressemblance informe, ou Le gai savoir visuel selon Georges Bataille, Macula, 1995
L'empreinte du ciel, presentation of Caprices de la foudre, Éditions Antigone, 1994
Le cube et le visage. Autour d’une sculpture d’Alberto Giacometti, Macula, 1992
Ce que nous voyons, ce qui nous regarde, Minuit, 1992
Devant l’image. Questions posées aux fins d'une histoire de l'art, Minuit, 1990
Fra Angelico. Dissemblance et figuration, Flammarion, 1990
La peinture incarnée followed by Chef-d'œuvre inconnu by Balzac, Minuit, 1985
Mémorandum de la peste. Le fléau d’imaginer, Christian Bourgois, 1983
Invention de l’hystérie. Charcot et l’iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière, Macula, 1982




Canada Council for the Arts Canada Council for the Arts


Université du Québec à Montréal
1400, Rue Berri, Pavillon Judith-Jasmin, Local J-R 120
Montréal, Québec
Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.
Free admission