Gift of a major work by Dominique Blain to the City of Nice: Canada shines at the MAMAC

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Dominique Blain, Monuments II, collection MAMAC, Nice, © droits réservés

On Monday, June 28, 2021, Robert Roux, Deputy Mayor of Nice in Charge of Culture, and Christiane Amiel, Deputy Mayor of Nice in Charge of International Relations and Twinning, and Hélène Guenin, Director of the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain in Nice, welcomed the Ambassador of Canada to France and Monaco, Her Excellency Isabelle Hudon, and the Honorary Consul of Canada in Nice, Ms. Louise Chalifour, on the occasion of the gift of a major monumental work by Canadian artist Dominique Blain to the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de Nice (MAMAC).

This generous gift by the artist to the museum highlights the importance of the cultural ties between the City of Nice and Canada, particularly in the field of visual arts. It is the result of a unique collaboration between the museum staff, art centres and highly symbolic cultural sites, and officials convinced of the significant diplomatic value of the work. The artist wanted the installation, which pays tribute to France, to remain in France. The MAMAC in Nice, so close to Italy, is the ideal choice for a work that brings together Venice and Paris, Italy and France, and the two world wars. The gift is also part of continuing relations between the MAMAC and the Canadian Cultural Centre, which joined forces in 2018 for an exhibition dedicated to Canadian artist Liz Magor.

The artwork, Monuments II, is an installation comprising a monumental sculpture and photographic mural, and a group of ten large-format photographs. It pays tribute to the role of citizens in protecting the cultural heritage of humanity. The installation has a direct relationship to France as it depicts the safeguarding of artworks from the Louvre during the Second World War and the commitment of the French people to protecting their cultural heritage. An entirely revisited reconstruction of the original Monuments – an installation created in 1998 for an exhibition curated by Louise Déry and now in the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (MNBAQ) – Monuments II raises issues that are still relevant and reminds us how important the duty of memory is to the future of humanity.

Produced by the Canadian Cultural Centre in 2019 to take centre stage at Displacements, a solo exhibition of Blain’s work curated by Ami Barak and Catherine Bédard, Monuments II was later exhibited at the Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré and will be on display at the Château de Chambord, which was a refuge for artworks between 1939 and 1945, from November 2021. Following that emblematic exhibition, in March 2022, the installation will become part of the permanent collection of the MAMAC in Nice.

Dominique Blain lives and works in Montreal. Her work has been shown in several North American and European cities, as well as in Australia (Biennale of Sydney 1992). There have been three retrospectives of her work: at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal in 2004 (the exhibition travelled to the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina and the Nickle Galleries in Calgary); at the Musée National des Beaux-Arts de Québec in 1998 (the exhibition travelled to the Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco, and Sala 1, Rome); in 1997–98, the Arnofini International Centre for Contemporary Arts in Bristol organized exhibitions of her work at five other UK institutions in Belfast, London, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Cambridge. The artist has taken part in several exhibitions in Quebec (Les Cents Jours d’Art Contemporain, Galerie de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, Galerie de l’Université de Sherbrooke, Musée Régional de Rimouski, Musée d’Art de Joliette), public commissions and two shows at the Canadian Cultural Centre (1984 and 2019), and her work has been shown in several museums outside Canada: Portland Museum of Art; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, near Copenhagen; Musée de l’Europe, Brussels; and Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.

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