The Disorderliness of Things

Curators: Marie-Ève Charron, Thérèse St-Gelais

Artists: Edith Brunette, Michel de Broin, Arkadi Lavoie Lachapelle, Mathieu Lefevre, Emmanuelle Léonard, Christine Major, Maria Marshall, Catherine Opie, Melanie Smith, Rafael Ortega, Pilvi Takala, Rosemarie Trockel

January 9, 2015 - February 21, 2015

Opening: January 8, 2015, 5:30 pm

Curated by Marie-Ève Charron and Thérèse St-Gelais, The Disorderliness of Things features works exploring democratic dimensions of disobedience and disorder that defy authority and convention. Visitors will discover works by Edith Brunette, Michel de Broin, Arkadi Lavoie Lachapelle, Mathieu Lefèvre, Emmanuelle Léonard, Christine Major, Maria Marshall, Catherine Opie, Melanie Smith and Rafael Ortega, Pilvi Takala, and Rosemarie Trockel. The curators and several of the artists will attend the opening.

The exhibition

The works in The Disorderliness of Things give voice to the positive aspects of disobedience.

How can art express insubordination in liberal democracies? In this context where our freedoms are relative, how does contemporary art serve as a critic without assuming a militant stance?

Defying authority and convention, all these works create zones of counter-cultural resistance. They unmask what seems, under the inoffensive guise of normalcy, devoid of meaning and offer a political critique of banality. They shake up our predefined realities, often diverting them with humour.

Unconventional scenarios and objects are subjected to the restrictions of customary rules in an urban space. Through simple actions, characters reveal their ability to act and their refusal to be bound by norms or canons. The works defy artistic traditions and imagery. Standard artistic venues are occupied by intrusion. Division within debate takes precedence over the management of the social order by consensus. Some of the works contain blatantly improper figures while others coolly unmask the regulated environments of closed communities. Thus the selected works reveal various forms of conditioning while questioning their authority.

In The Disorderliness of Things, dissent is not an evil to be eradicated, but rather the exercise of critical vigilance where vitality is the ultimate value.



Le désordre des choses. L’art et l’épreuve du politique is a collective work published by Les éditions Esse and includes, among other things, a review of the exhibition The Disorderliness of Things presented at the Galerie de l’UQAM. The publication comprises critical essays in which art – its practices, its institutions, its networks, and the people that partake in it – provides an ideal space to analyze artworks that distance themselves from norms and rules.

Direction : Marie-Ève Charron, Thérèse St-Gelais

Authors: Joséphine Bacon, Agnès Berthelot-Raffard, Katrie Chagnon, Marie-Ève Charron et Thérèse St-Gelais, Ariane De Blois, Annie Gérin, Véronique Leblanc, Steve Lyons, Stéphane Martelly, Caroline Monnet, Chantal Mouffe, Eduardo Ralickas


The curators

Art critic for Le Devoir, Marie-Ève Charron also writes regularly for the magazine esse arts + opinions of which she was a member of the editorial board. As a catalogue author, her most recent publications have focused on the work of Anthony Burnham, Michael Merrill and Les Fermières Obsédées. She was curator of the group exhibition Au travail (Musée régional de Rimouski, 2010) and, with Marie-Josée Lafortune and Thérèse St-Gelais, co-organized Archi-féministes!, a group exhibition presented at Optica (2011-2012). Since 2004, she has taught art history at UQAM and at the Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe.

Thérèse St-Gelais is a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) where she teaches the history of contemporary art and the contribution of women to the visual arts. Curator of the exhibitions Ghada Amer (Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 2012) and Loin des yeux près du corps (Galerie de L’UQAM, 2012), she also has directed colloquia (and their proceedings) on État de la recherche « Femmes : théorie et création » dans la francophonie (2010) and The Undecidable: Gaps and Displacements of Contemporary Art (2008). She co-organized the exhitbition Archi-feministes! (Optica, 2011-2012), with Marie-Ève Charron and Marie-Josée Lafortune.


Canada Council for the Arts
Faculté des arts de l’UQAM
Département d’histoire de l’art de l’UQAM
Institut de recherches et d’études féministes de l’UQAM