LA CONQUÊTE DU BÉLUGA (CONQUEST OF THE BELUGA) is a hybrid book that spans 150 years
and travels across Canada to explore the history of the emblematic beluga. Maryse
Goudreau uses official transcripts from the House of Commons to create a biting
and heated stageplay where actors meet images of nursing belugas discreetly
inserted into envelopes. Political theatre here takes the form of a book that
leads to a beluga breeding area, an aquarium, and a margarine business, opening
a window for readers/viewers to a North that might be unknown to them.
Through the appearance
of women’s voices in the debates and the maternal behaviour of the belugas, a
shift occurs from image to image, and we are compelled to change our
relationship to the living world. Here, the conquest of the beluga is also the
conquest of narrative, bringing to life fragments of history in a struggle
against oblivion and disappearance.
SOCIALE DU BÉLUGA
Les Éditions Escuminac | 2016
As a hybrid artist’s book, Histoire
sociale du béluga (A
Social History of the Beluga) brings together the photo book genre and
theatre, exploring the history of the beluga in Québec via excerpts from members’
debates at the Legislative Assembly between 1929 and 2015. Judiciously chosen
texts showcase the evolution of how the beluga is perceived as it voyages through
time and infiltrates the political sphere. Each appearance of the emblematic
sea mammal is taken from transcripts that in some sense define their era,
recounting the catastrophic saga of the threatened beluga, itself becoming a
symbol of biodiversity in decline. An immersion into politicized language, Histoire sociale du béluga transforms debates
and speeches into narrative, with the goal of saving the beluga from oblivion,
and bringing it into shared history.
The monographic book L’Appel (The Call) brings together participatory artworks produced around several
wharves in Eastern Canada between 2011 and 2012. Here, Maryse Goudreau uses
various photographic and installation techniques in order to create works that
carry on the memory of these gathering places doomed to oblivion as a result of
overused sea and woodland resources. L’Appel marks a turning point in Goudreau’s practice, a new approach focused on social
issues and a dialogue with identity and tradition.
limited-edition artist’s book, Memory is
a Weapon transforms a selection of postcards chosen by Goudreau. She draws
from her father’s maritime-themed collection, printing and erasing the central
part of the image from each card, leaving behind only the margins. While these frames
indeed reaffirm a folksy fetishization of local culture, they also evoke a
tangible emptiness that disrupts our relationship to photography and publishing,
inciting us to seek out that which lies behind the image.