The Life of Things

MOMENTA | Biennale de l'image

Artists: Laura Aguilar, Kader Attia, Patricia Domínguez, Chun Hua Catherine Dong, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Gauri Gill, Jérôme Havre, Keyezua, Rafael Ortega, Victoria Sin, Cauleen Smith, Camille Turner

Curator: María Wills Londoño, in collaboration with Audrey Genois and Maude Johnson

September 5, 2019 - October 13, 2019

Opening: September 4, 2019, 5:00 pm

Headquarters: Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine

Special MOMENTA schedule:
Tuesday – Friday, noon – 6 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

At Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine, from September 5 to October 13, 2019, MOMENTA presents The Life of Things, a thematic exhibition in two parts at two locations. The 2019 edition of the biennale proposes a piercing look at the life of things, bringing into dialogue their consumerist and symbolic dimensions. The exhibited works testify to the different ways in which objects are experienced and what they tell us about how we think and live.

Generating a conversation fueled by the works of twenty-two artists, the thematic exhibition meshes four components: at Galerie de l’UQAM, the components “Cultural Objects and Material Culture” and “Thingified Beings or Humanized Objects” are explored; at VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine, the components “The Absurd as Counter-Narrative of the Object” and “Still Life in an Age of Environmental Crisis” are explored.

The artists

Galerie de l’UQAM: Laura Aguilar (United States), Kader Attia (Algeria/France), Patricia Domínguez (Chile), Chun Hua Catherine Dong (China/Canada), Jeneen Frei Njootli (Canada), Gauri Gill (India), Jérôme Havre (France/Canada), Keyezua (Angola), Rafael Ortega (Mexico), Victoria Sin (Canada/United Kingdom), Cauleen Smith (United States), Camille Turner (Canada)

VOX: Elisabeth Belliveau (Canada), Maeve Brennan (United Kingdom), Peter Fischli et David Weiss (Switzerland), Felicity Hammond (United Kingdom), Anouk Kruithof (The Netherlands), Taus Makhacheva (Russia), Bridget Moser (Canada), Meagan Musseau (Canada), Juan Ortiz-Apuy (Costa Rica/Canada)

The exhibition

With respect to the issues of consumption that characterize the contemporary world, thingified objects are given dizzying visibility even as, ironically, they are rendered invisible by boundless accumulation. For its 2019 edition, the biennale brings out universes that are constructed between individuals and their environment, highlighting transferences that take place between subject and object.

MOMENTA transcends the polarization between the symbolic and the functional in the economies of the object. To this end, the biennale’s four thematic components offer different ways of imagining the relationships between human beings and objects. Encompassing a variety of ideas tied to questions of consumption, these components intersect in various ways to shed light on the works shown. They allow us to envisage the complexity of the connotations and resonances of things in contemporary societies.

Components presented at Galerie de l’UQAM

Cultural Objects and Material Culture
Material culture is founded on the relationship that societies have with the objects that surround them, whose complex legacy is revealed in their roles within religious and spiritual belief systems, but also, more broadly, in the belief in consumer products.

Thingified Beings or Humanized Objects
Many elements in the world of objects serve as extensions of the human body. Following this logic, the body becomes object and the object becomes body: we are witnessing the commercialization of anatomical properties—and of people—as well as the vitalization of the material.


MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, formerly Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, is an international contemporary art biennale devoted to the image. Based in Montréal, the biennale has taken place every two years since 1989. Its activities include exhibitions, public events, educational programs, artistic and social collaborations, and more. Over the last eight editions, the biennale has presented more than 450 artists and attendance has totalled 2 million. There were 171,854 exhibition visits during the 2017 edition of MOMENTA.

The curator

María Wills Londoño is an art researcher and curator. Her major exhibition projects offer reflections on the unstable condition of the contemporary image and alternative views of urban themes in Latin America. Among the exhibitions she has organized are Urbes Mutantes: Latin American Photography 1944–2013; Latin Fire: Otras fotographías de un continente; and Fernell Franco-Cali Clair-obscur, presented at the International Center of Photography in New York, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid (PHotoESPAÑA), Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, Museo la Tertulia in Cali, and the Museo de Arte del Banco de la República in Bogota; she was the temporary exhibition curator at the last institution from 2009 to 2014. In 2018 she developed a research project to recontextualize the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá to question the concept of modernity, concluding with the exhibition The Art of Disobedience. She founded the Visionarios program of the Instituto de Visión, to highlight important figures in Colombian conceptual art, and was director until 2018.

The publication

MOMENTA 2019 would not be complete without its catalogue, offered in French and English, co-published with the prestigious German publishing house Kerber Verlag. Providing a substantial complement to the exhibitions, this publication promotes the artists and helps to give a deeper look at the theme by offering multiple paths for reflection. It includes previously unpublished essays by Amanda de la Garza (Mexico), Anne-Marie Dubois (Canada), Maude Johnson (Canada), Dominique Quessada (France), and María Wills Londoño (Colombia). In addition, Kapwani Kiwanga (Canada/France) and Maryse Larivière (Canada) each present an exclusive artwork in its pages. The catalogue will be launched at the official opening of the biennale on September 4, 2019.
$46, 168 pages, available in French and English

MOMENTA Creative – Activities relating to artists exhibited at Galerie de l’UQAM

The full program of MOMENTA 2019 brings together 39 artists from 20 countries in 13 exhibitions. It includes the MOMENTA Creative program, which offers a host of educational activities, creative workshops, and guided visits, developed in relation to the biennale’s theme, for groups, families, and individuals. You will find below the activities involving practices presented at the Galerie de l’UQAM.

Guided tours of the exhibition for groups
Available any time. Can be combined with a visit of the part of the central exhibition presented at VOX.
Reservations required with Philippe Dumaine, Cultural Mediation and Communications Coordinator
514 987-3000, ext. 1424, or

Performance by artist Maryse Larivière
During the biennale’s inauguration
Wednesday, September 4, 5:30 p.m.
Galerie de l’UQAM
Free admission

Objects as Reflections of Self
An introduction to philosophical notions for young people, encouraging children to speak out and develop their thinking in relation to the concepts of identity, self-representation, and sense of belonging.
Saturday, September 21, 10:30 a.m. – noon
Sunday, September 29, 10:30 a.m. – noon
Galerie de l’UQAM
Free admission
Reservations required

Decolonizing Gender Histories & Dismantling the Gender Binary
Take part in a conversation on gender histories through a decolonial lens with artist and educator Kama La Mackerel. The dialogue will draw upon works by queer, trans, non-binary, or self-identifying women artists who are Indigenous or racialized.
Wednesday, September 25, 12:45 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, October 1, 5:30 – 6:45 p.m.
Galerie de l’UQAM
Free admission

Launch of the publication Le soulèvement infini
Le soulèvement infini marks the end of the international tour of Uprisings, an exhibition organized by Georges Didi-Huberman and produced by Jeu de Paume in Paris, presenting the Montréal adaptation of this vast transdisciplinary project.
Wednesday, October 2, 5 p.m.
Galerie de l’UQAM
Free admission
$40, 317 pages, French text

MOMENTA Time: guided tours
Thursday, October 3, 5 – 6 p.m., in French
Saturday, October 12, 2 – 3 p.m., in English
Free admission

Talk by artist Jérôme Havre
In collaboration with UQAM’s Programme Intervenants Culturels Internationaux (ICI)
Thursday, October 10, time to be confirmed
Université du Québec à Montréal, room to be confirmed
Free admission

More information on the educational program and registration
Julia Roberge Van Der Donckt, Education Programs and Audience Development Coordinator, MOMENTA,
Philippe Dumaine, Cultural Mediation and Communications Coordinator, Galerie de l’UQAM,

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