Emmanuelle Léonard. Deployment

Edited by: Louise Déry

Authors: Louise Déry, Stefanie Hessler

Artist: Emmanuelle Léonard

Publishing date: September 17, 2020
Category: exhibition catalogue
21 x 27 cm, hard cover
184 p., colour illustrations
French and English texts
Graphic design: Marc-André Roy
Price: $35
ISBN 978-2-920325-79-1

This catalogue accompanies the Emmanuelle Léonard. Le déploiement / Deployment exhibition, produced by Galerie de l’UQAM. Shown between November 1, 2019, and January 25, 2020, Deployment presents a body of work undertaken by Emmanuelle Léonard in 2018 during a research residency in the Canadian Far North sponsored by the Canadian Forces Artists Program. A continuation of the artist’s photographic and videographic projects from the past fifteen years, which focused on the hierarchies that form within social, judiciary, military and religious systems, this group of works pursues her interest in the function of authority and the mechanisms by which it is circumvented or undermined.

Observing the exercises conducted to assert Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, Léonard discovered a diverse set of realities: strategic military deployment in a region of the world where the national, political and economic stakes have been raised by global warming; young adults committed to the collective values of the army while remaining intent upon their own personal quest; the Inuit Rangers, without whose contribution it would be useless to attempt to learn how to survive in such cold; the innocence of the soldiers’ awe before the grandeur of the northern landscape.

Despite conditions that make filming extremely difficult, Léonard captured the activities of soldiers shielded against the cold by clothing, face masks and goggles that make them appear sometimes spectral and anonymous, sometimes very real and individual. Turning her attention to training exercises that level identity as well as to the participants themselves – their perception of the world independent of the military model – the artist witnessed the waiting and the relative passivity of soldiers confronted with motors that refuse to start in the northern night that is so disquietingly slow to fall, if not entirely eclipsed, where nothing momentous is said, done or claimed.

The catalogue also presents works produced by the artist over that past fifteen years.

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