2018_Refuscontraire_gNoémi McComber, Prise d’assaut, 2011, video, color, sound, 8 min 50 s. Photo: Helena Martin Franco. Courtesy of the artist.

Refus contraire

Curators - visual arts: Doriane Biot, Camille Richard
Curator - live arts: Véronique Hudon

With the participation of Oana Avasilichioaei, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Alix Dufresne, Sarah Chouinard-Poirier, Daria Colonna, Cool Cunts, Pascale Drevillon, Sophie Dubois, toino dumas, Ray Ellenwood, Ellen Furey, Émilie Graton, Mathieu Grenier, Leticia Hamaoui, Hanako Hoshimi-Caines, Benoit Jutras, Alanna Kraaijeveld, Fanny Latreille, Soleil Launière, Niki Little, Anna Lupien, Kamissa Ma Koïta, Noémi McComber, Dana Michel, Chloé Ouellet-Payeur, Dominique Pétrin, Simon Portigal, Marie-Pier Proulx, Marie-Ève Quilicot, Dave St-Pierre, Patricia Smart, Andrew Tay, Becca Taylor, France Théoret, Stephen Thompson, Marilou Verschelden

May 16 – June 16, 2018
Opening: Tuesday, May 15, 5:30 p.m.

At the opening, Galerie de l'UQAM and Éditions les petits carnets will launch their new book, Le petit pot de roses, by artist and author Nicole Jolicoeur.

[More information]

Starting May 16, Galerie de l’UQAM presents the group exhibition Refus contraire. Conceived in the context of the 70th anniversary of the publication of Refus global, Refus contraire seeks to reactivate the principles of commitment, interdisciplinarity and community that animated the signatories of this striking manifesto. Constantly changing, Refus contraire places great emphasis on performative, collective and political practices. Through an abundant events program, the exhibition is thought of as a space for exchanges, collaborations and dissent, questioning both the boundaries between disciplines and the rules and limits imposed by the gallery space.

The exhibition

In the public imagination, Refus global is associated with revolutions, upheaval, and challenging the status quo. Just as it did 70 years ago, art today must continue to reimagine Québec’s societal stage, even though the set has changed. Cultural oppression has taken on more complex forms, but the reasons to oppose it are ever more pressing. This is why our reimagining of Refus global contains multiple refusals. Refus contraire [Contrary Refusal] is a double negative that invites the public to reconnect with the manifesto’s productive radicalism. Now more than ever, the power of refusal can serve the potential for resistance.

This exhibition shows contemporary artists redefining cultural, identity, and gender representation in various performative, poetic and visual modes. It is a place to take the temperature of our artistic and intellectual communities. Whereas the official story on Refus global has emphasized the Automatistes’ pictorial work, this exhibition will provide a space to converse, occupy, and act in ways closer to the original artists’ intentions. Refus contraire reveals the unseen story of the manifesto: histories of women too often dismissed by critics, and examples of interdisciplinary practices that hold up in the light of an appreciative contemporary rereading.

The works assembled here embody the energy and the struggle for freedom that are at the core of Refus global. The exhibition space will be in a state of flux, echoing an original hope of the manifesto signatories, that the transformative power of art could be activated for collective “better life.” Now, artists are reclaiming this legacy in order to express their own refusal of the status quo, in which our future can be embraced or despaired, but the responsibility for it still shared.

The curators

Doriane Biot is an M.A. candidate in Museology as part of Université du Québec à Montréal and Université de Montréal’s joint program. She holds an M.A. in Visual Culture from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and a B.A. in Visual Arts and Animation from École de recherche graphique (Belgium). Straddling theory and practice – animated film, drawing, and documentary –, her interests lie in cultural and gender representations through various mediums, as well as in practices that combine art and politics. Meanwhile, Biot also accumulates various international experiences in festival coordination, animation, and video editing.

Camille Richard is an M.A. candidate in Art History at Université du Québec à Montréal. Throughout her research, she has developed an interest in conceptual, feminist and queer practices that redefine traditional notions in regards to exhibition spaces. Her masters deals with relationships of mutual influence between contemporary artistic practices, museum architecture and institutional functions. Moreover, she is the co-coordinator for Hypothèses, a series of lectures, and will act as coordinator for the 2018 edition of the Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul – L’art et le politique –, directed by Sylvie Lacerte.

Véronique Hudon is a PhD student in Études et pratiques des arts at Université du Québec à Montréal. Her research deals with curating live arts. She is the co-director of Curating Live Arts, a collective publication to be released in fall 2018 (Berghahn Books). Writer-in-residence at Centre de creation O Vertigo (CCOV, 2018), she is involved in the fields of dance and theatre. She is also the co-founder of aparté | arts vivants magazine (UQAM) of which she directed the first three issues, and has regularly been published in various magazines in the arts field.


Refus contraire is the inaugural exhibition of RADAR, a new initiative of Galerie de l’UQAM for emerging curators. It allows a group of students from UQAM's graduate programs in Art History, Museology as well as Visual and Media Arts, selected by a jury, to contribute to the definition, development and organization of an exhibition presented as part of Galerie de l’UQAM’s annual program.

Coordination: Philippe Dumaine
Consulting Committee: Jennifer Carter, Barbara Clausen, Marie-Fei Deguire, Louise Déry, Jean Dubois, Sophie Jodoin

Educational offer

Guided tours of the exhibition for groups
Available anytime, in French and English, free of charge.
Reservations required with Philippe Dumaine
514 987-3000, ext 3280, or dumaine_allard.philippe@uqam.ca

Public activities – Descriptions (see calendar below)

All events are free of charge. No reservations required.
Unless otherwise specified, the events will take place at Galerie de l’UQAM.

Upheld Memory: Commented Readings of the Manifesto
Guest speakers: Sophie Dubois, Ray Ellenwood
Moderators: Doriane Biot, Véronique Hudon, Camille Richard

Thursday, May 17, 2018, 4 – 6 p.m.

French Literature researcher Sophie Dubois will study the often ignored writings that accompany Bordua’s famous text, in order to renew our understanding of the Refus global manifesto. Art Historian Ray Ellenwood will look back at the interdisciplinary group known as the Automatists, based on their artistic engagement and collectivity. Throughout these different explorations of the manifesto, the collective history of the group that lead to the publication will be broached, as well as the actual materiality of the Refus global manifesto and its critical reception.

Banana Peels (Trying Hard) series
Performative interventions with Ellen Furey, Hanako Hoshimi-Caines, Dana Michel, Simon Portigal, Andrew Tay, Stephen Thompson

Interventions schedule:
Friday, May 18, 2018, 3 – 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 19, 2018, 3 – 5 p.m.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 3 – 5 p.m.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 3 – 5 p.m.

These intermittent interventions in the gallery space will comprise of a work cycle, based on the identity and corporal history of each performer. The sessions will function as a social dance, in which the performer acknowledges their colonized body while engaging in moments of abstraction in order to escape from preconceived codes.

Native Presence and Resistance
Guest speakers: Niki Little and Becca Taylor, curators of 4th Contemporary Native Art Biennale, and the curators of Refus Contraire.
Moderator: Doriane Biot

Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 12 – 2 p.m.

This discussion intends to open up a space of dialogue on curatorial perspectives pertaining to Indigenous contemporary art in Québec and Canada. The decolonization of the exhibition space, the role of women artists and curators, and the possible forms of resistance within artistic and curatorial practices are all themes that will guide this sharing of past experiences and knowledge. The event is organized in resonance with this year’s Contemporary Native Art Biennale, níchiwamiskwém | nimidet | ma sœur | my sister, taking place in Montreal from May 3 to June 22, 2018.

Blank Cunts / Quatuor en Solos series
Performances with Pascale Drevillon, Alix Dufresne, Émilie Graton, Leticia Hamaoui, Alanna Kraaijeveld, Chloé Ouellet-Payeur, Marie-Pier Proulx, Marie-Ève Quilicot, Dave St-Pierre, Marilou Verschelden

Performances schedule:
Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 12 – 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 24, 2018, 12 – 6:30 p.m.
Friday, May 25, 2018, 12 – 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 31, 2018, 12 – 4 p.m.
Friday, June 1, 2018, 12 – 6 p.m.

The Blank Cunts / Quatuor en Solos series brings together four in situ apparatuses meant to be activated by Cool Cunts, a feminist collective. By the use of a raw aesthetic and strong images, the performers expose their physical resistance to the imaginary and social roles given to women.

Ne faites pas honte à votre siècle
Reading by Daria Colonna and performance by Cool Cunts

Thursday, May 24, 2018, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

A reading by Daria Colonna and a performance art piece by Cool Cunts will take place in the gallery space. Colonna’s collection of poems, Ne faites pas honte à votre siècle (2017), rightly examines social sedation and the ravages of our neo-liberal world. Cool Cunts will, in turn, show striking images in resonance with Daria Colonna’s poetry in their long-duration performance.

Nous serons universel.le.s
Performance by Kamissa Ma Koïta
Presented in collaboration with OFFTA

Saturday, May 26, 2018, 1 p.m.

Followed by a discussion with the performers
Moderator: Camille Richard

The artist will show an experimental performance piece, fueled by feminist approaches, queer and anti-globalization movements, and pop culture. Nous serons universel.le.s is a series of short, contextual and collaborative actions that looks to generate empathy from the public. Throughout this immersive experience, visitors are led to reflect upon notions such as social privilege and the under-representation of the black community.

Collective Body Series

Corporeality and Feminist Materiality
With the collective Cool Cunts
Moderator: Véronique Hudon

Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 12:45 p.m.

Decolonizing Dance, Between Identity and Liberty
Guests: Andrew Tay, Stephen Thompson and other artists from Make Banana Cry
Moderator: Véronique Hudon

Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 12:45 p.m.

Part conference, experimentation and discussion, these exchanges are based on the live art works presented in the gallery space by feminist collective Cool Cunts (May 30) and by the various collaborators of Make Banana Cry and the Banana Peels (Trying Hard) series (June 6).

Counter Histories of Women Artists: from the Manifesto to Today
Guests: Patricia Smart, Anna Lupien
Moderator: Camille Richard

Thursday, May 31, 2018, 4 – 6 p.m.

A conversation between Art Historian Patricia Smart regarding her book entitled Les femmes du Refus global (1998) and artist and sociologist Anna Lupien concerning her publication De la cuisine au studio (2012). Together, the guest lecturers will discuss their research on women’s artistic practices within Québec’s arts system during the modern period. In keeping with the exhibition, this talk will tackle the status of contemporary women artists.

Sylvan and Survivors
Readings by toino dumas

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 3:30 p.m.

The writings of toino dumas explore themes such as ecology, gender identity and survival of capitalism by reimagining and being attentive to the many radical changes our world faces. They will be reading various excerpts from their books Au monde, inventaire (2015) and animalumière (2016).

Make Banana Cry, Part I
Show with Ellen Furey, Hanako Hoshimi-Caines, Dana Michel, Simon Portigal, Andrew Tay, Stephen Thompson

Saturday, June 2, 2018, 4 p.m.

Make Banana Cry is a show at the crossroads of contemporary dance, performance art and visual arts. Inspired by Asian pop culture, it aims to criticize cultural appropriation. In the form of a long-duration catwalk, the show exorcizes non-western cultural stereotypes.

Guided tour of Refus contraire
With curators Doriane Biot, Véronique Hudon and Camille Richard

Saturday, June 9, 2018, 2 p.m.

Long table: Les Oranges Sont Vertes
With the exhibition’s artists
Moderators: Doriane Biot, Véronique Hudon and Camille Richard

Friday, June 15, 2018, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

A long table, chairs, paper tablecloth and pens to write comments, draw or scribble ideas. A list of rules of engagement create the basis of this discussion, structured by its participative aspect without however being limited in its content or access. In a spirit of congeniality, the curators invite the artists and the public to share thoughts regarding the exhibition, in a spontaneous manner.

If Refusal Had a Form
Speech, poetry and performances followed by an open mic
Guests: Oana Avasilichioaei, Sarah Chouinard-Poirier, Benoit Jutras, Soleil Launière, France Théoret

Friday, June 15, 2018, 5 p.m.

At Ginkgo café & bar, 308 Ste-Catherine East Street

Within the spirit of the manifesto, an evening during which speech, poetry and performance art will bring about multiple forms of refusal will take place. Poets France Théoret, Benoit Jutras and Oana Avasilichioaei, multidisciplinary artist Soleil Launière and performer Sarah Chouinard-Poirier will be offering thought-provoking texts and actions to start the night. At the beginning of the exhibition, a call for contributions to the open mic will be disseminated, inviting local artists and intellectuals to renew with forms of negation. In opposition to the atmosphere of general agreement of our times, this event will offer resistance to global consensus.

Public activities – Calendar (click for larger view)


The educational booklet

An educational booklet is offered to guide the public through the exhibition, free of charge.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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2018_LaferteCoutu_gAlexia Laferté-Coutu, Ancienne minoterie : les angles adoucis des encadrements moulures, 2018, cast glass, pigments, anthemis

Alexia Laferté-Coutu. Leurs ombres centenaires

Graduating master’s student in visual and media arts (MFA), UQAM

May 16 – June 16, 2018
Opening: Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 5:30 p.m.

[More information]

Galerie de l’UQAM presents the exhibition Alexia Laferté-Coutu. Leurs ombres centenaires. A graduating student from UQAM’s MFA program in Visual and Media Arts, the artist offers a complex reflection on our relationship to architecture and history. Through the gesture of applying soft clay on the exterior surface of buildings, Alexia Laferté-Coutu seeks to generate an active relationship to sculpture.

The exhibition

The enigmatic forms of Alexia Laferté-Coutu’s sculptures are rooted in a process of material addition and subtraction from the surfaces of historic architectural structures. Moulded shapes harden, carrying within them the mark of liquid glass and the mould’s lacework, or that of the architecture’s forms and the gesture of moulding itself. These characteristics remind us of the base material’s former liquid state, a state that it may indeed someday reclaim. Evoking as they do the reversibility of matter and its forms, casting techniques are associated with a way viewing the world that is always shifting, a way of imagining its transformative potential as being sculptural in and of itself.

Casting is much like the poultice, that medical technique of yore where one would apply a mixture of clay and plant matter to an affected area of the body, to absorb toxins and stimulate blood flow. The poultice — casting’s cousin — here becomes a sensory and tangible mode of recording by which energy capable of penetrating stone, clay and glass is stored and transferred. The resulting sculptures act as bridges for the movement of an imperceptible relationship between fluid and hardened substance, between gesture and architecture, between history and the sculptural object.

As the fragmentation of elements multiplies ways of being born into the visible, so sculpture presents itself here as an act of fragmentation of reality, an act that opens up new associative possibilities and initiates outward movement. A fluid and pluralistic relationship is thus created, a relationship to architecture and history—structures that are perhaps not as rigid and linear as they seem.

The artist

Alexia Laferté-Coutu was born in 1990 in Montréal (Canada), where she also currently lives and works. Following musical training, she studied sculpture at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, and completed a BFA at Concordia University in 2013. Laferté-Coutu’s installations, sculptures and performances have been presented in numerous group shows in Canada and Germany.

Public activities

Artists Talk: Alexia Laferté-Coutu
Part of the L’art observe event series
Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 12:45 p.m.
Galerie de l’UQAM
In French
Free admission

Guided tours of the exhibition for groups
Available anytime, in French and English, free of charge.
Reservations required with Philippe Dumaine
514 987-3000, ext 3280, or dumaine_allard.philippe@uqam.ca

Support provided by

CCFA_BW_black_96_e      Calq_noir

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