Isabelle Hayeur


1st & Victoria > AFTER DARK

Isabelle Hayeur is Montreal based artist recognized for her large-sized photographic montages, videos, and site-specific installations in which she highlights urban blights and sprawl, among a number of industrial society’s pitfalls.

Hayeur’s works have been widely shown. She participated in many major public shows, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in Berlin, the Tampa Museum of Art and Akbank Sanat in Istanbul. She also did many artist residencies. In 2006, a first retrospective exhibition was devoted to Hayeur by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Oakville Galleries. Featuring a monograph, this exhibition has been shown in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Alberta. That same year, she took part in the Arles Rencontres internationales de la photographie in the context of its Découverte prize.

Her works are to be found in some twenty collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Fonds national d’art contemporain in Paris, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.

In 2008, Isabelle Hayeur started exploring waterways. She travels through North America to document submerged environments of all kinds, especially in altered sites. She made several shooting trips through the United States and Canada. She works in particular in a Staten Island boat cemetery, in the Everglades and in the Louisiana bayous. She creates numerous photographs and videos from the views she captures in these different ecosystems. In 2009, she returned to video, exploring the possibilities offered by then still recent High Definition technology. She created Losing Ground, a video filmed around Quartier Dix30 in Brossard (Quebec), Canada’s biggest “lifestyle center”. She then made one or two videos a year and this medium regained its importance in her practice.


Uprooted, 2012
HD Video
10 minutes 45 seconds

Recent technological changes have transformed natural and rural environments, to the point of producing uniform, ever-more polluted environments in their stead. Uprooted probes these territories fashioned by man, deciphering in them his relationship to his environment, thereby questioning his ways of being. Critical of environmental and urban developments, this video explores the peripheries of some North American cities, strangely alike from one to the next, in that none of them feels like somewhere. Their excessively wide spaces, standardized and shapeless, generate a sense of uneasiness. Urban upheavals can turn the most familiar locale into an unrecognizable, anonymous, even forbidding place. On this blank slate, local memory is forever erased.

Losing Ground, 2009
HD Video
13 minutes

Losing Ground is a critique of urban sprawl and the resulting erosion and homogenization of the countryside across the world. With its negation of city history, of geographic particularities, and thus of cultural memory, this standardized urbanization imposes its amnesia, individualistic lifestyle, and jarring presence in nature. Filmed in Quartier DIX30 in Brossard, the biggest lifestyle center in Canada, the video sounds out recently man-made territories so as to decipher humanity’s relationships with the environment. It confronts us with the dizzying spectacle of our diminishing local references, as they give way to cultural stereotypes, now become universal through globalization.


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