Canada’s National Gallery | Geneviève Cadiux shines in Ottawa

Barcelona, a massive work in nine portraits by plastic artist Geneviève Cadiux, has just opened on the frontage of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) in Ottawa. Journalism I interviewed a Montreal photographer about this installation that evokes themes that align with our personal and collective experiences, especially in times of pandemic.

Eric Kleiman

Eric Kleiman

Barcelona It is the first photographic installation in a series of three works that NGC will feature as part of its Women in Mind programme, which celebrates the monumental work of some of Canada’s greatest artists.

Soon after her selection, Genevieve Codeo mirrored with project curator and chief curator of contemporary art at the museum, José Druen Presbyoa, to determine which of her works would fit the large glass facade (south side) of the museum, which is currently closed due to the effects of the pandemic in Ontario.

“The place often dictates the work,” Genevieve Kedio says. The museum was interested in something intimate or related to the body. Not for a landscape because we are already in a landscape. I immediately thought of Barcelona. She realized that she had public artwork potential. Because it is complicated to make photography exist abroad. ”

Photo provided by NGC

Barcelona, 2003 – 2021, Genevieve as a duet, installation at the National Gallery of Canada, 2021. Inkjet prints on vinyl.

A declaration of humility by an artist whose multiple works are perfectly integrated into urban architecture. just to label Milky Way (1992), on the roof of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, his little sister mosaic milky sound, installed in the Saint-Lazare station of the Paris metro, or work squirting / Flots, commissioned by Rideau Light Rail Station in Ottawa.

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“Yes, but this is the first time I have done an installation of this size with nine large photos!” she says. 79.25 m (260 ft) long, Barcelona It is the largest photographic work on display in the history of the National Gallery of Canada. Each canvas is 4.17m high and 5.08m wide. Two teams of technicians installed the paintings with a crane on the facade of the museum.

work installation

  • Photographic plates placed near the facade

    Photo provided by the artist

    Photographic plates placed near the facade

  • Technicians prepare photo montages.

    Photo provided by the artist

    Technicians prepare photo montages.

  • A montage of one of the nine photos

    Photo provided by the artist

    A montage of one of the nine photos

  • Installation view is under modification

    Photo provided by the artist

    Installation view is under modification

  • Barcelona facility in place.

    Photo provided by the artist

    installation Barcelona in the place.

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When Geneviève Cadieux created it in 2003, Barcelona It consists of a series of 11 images taken with three cameras with different lenses. She retained nine for the NGC frieze. The images, a little outdated, show suns taken in Montreal, with the effects of the James Bay wildfires in 2002, which gave off a strange twilight light; actress sister Anne-Marie Cadio; and restaurateur Hubert Marsolais (Hunting and Fishing Club, Le Serpent, Le Filet).

contemporary photos

  • Actress Anne-Marie Kadio


    Actress Anne-Marie Kadio

  • Restaurant owner Hubert Marsolais


    Restaurant owner Hubert Marsolais

  • Actress Anne-Marie Kadio


    Actress Anne-Marie Kadio

  • The veiled sun in Montreal in 2003


    The veiled sun in Montreal in 2003

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for installation BarcelonaGeneviève Cadiux repeated the color tests because they found the originals to be a little too gray. She also reprinted this series on paper which was originally shown to her gallery owner René Bleuin, in more modest dimensions, i.e. 11 x 12″.

These images celebrate the passage of time of two people in motion, the passage of a natural event in the sky over a city and the path of a solar star in orbit around the galactic center. Everything appears frozen to the human eye, but everything is in motion.


Geneviève Cadiux conducted several color tests in its own workshop for the new version of Barcelona.

“The passage of time is part of that business,” Genevieve Kedio says. It is strange that the forest that was destroyed at that time is the taiga [ou forêt boréale]. The work is located in Ottawa in front of a taiga park created by landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander! strange isn’t it? ”

Barcelona – whose title plays on the audiotape-Just– lonely and pars-Alone – It is also a lack of encounter between two beings, their lack of communication despite desire, a relationship we imagine a complex and separate in the couple, if they are one.

Finally, action can evoke the conditions of an epidemic. Not being able to meet was also for Geneviève Cadieux and the commissioner an experience common to all Quebecers, the inability to meet family and friends.

When we look at pictures Barcelona In May 2020, during our musings about the choice of work, this was a bit of how we felt on the inside. This distance, this lack of communication with another human being.

Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Principal Curator for Contemporary Art at NGC

The work will run through Spring 2022 across seasons. “I am very happy, because the coming winter will also be very beautiful, from near and far, especially when the trees lose their leaves,” says Genevieve Kedio.

This NGC tribute to the Montreal artist is the sweetest she has had since she lived in Ottawa and her father opened a cinema gallery there. So there is in this new version of Barcelona A connection to his family history. In addition, the photographic sequence inscribed on the facade of the museum looks like parts of a movie…so close to Illiterateby the great Louise Bourgeois.

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