September 11 – October 12, 2019

Être convaincant

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Vernissage: Wednesday, September 11, 6 p.m. 

The exhibition Être convaincant showcases the painting of Mathieu Lefèvre, who died, much too young, in 2011. With the support of the artist’s parents, Erika and Alain Lefèvre, Galerie Simon Blais has now stepped in to bring his work to the attention of the public, collectors and museums. An artist with an unconventional approach to his discipline, Lefèvre took issue with its boundaries. The some fifteen works on display will challenge viewers in multiple ways. Phatic in function, and often based on popular iconography, they pose direct questions, or require a shift in perspective on the part of those looking at them. Titles, materials, even gallery labels also form part of Mathieu Lefèvre’s playground. 

We therefore find ourselves before painting-sculptures that are sometimes placed right on the floor, a stretched canvas revealing a trash can filled with empty paint tubes, and even a trap for collectors using a reproduction of Mona Lisa as bait. “Beyond Lefèvre’s subversive humour, his work also indicated a real preoccupation with the nature of art,” wrote art critic Nicolas Mavrikakis in May 2016, on the occasion of the major retrospective of his work held at Centre Clark.

Being convincing was one of the recurring themes of Mathieu Lefèvre’s Guide pratique pour artistes [A Handbook for Artists], in which the young conceptual artist questioned the system for creating art objects, and wondered how to make a life in it. Looking at his 2005 work Prévision de la valeur future de Mathieu Lefèvre [Forecast of Mathieu Lefèvre’s Future Value] now, we can’t help but smile at his rebel ways and visionary, yet also extremely clear-headed, perspective on the position of the artist in contemporary society. 

Born in Edmonton in 1981, Mathieu Lefèvre settled in Québec, where he obtained a B.A. in Visual Arts from the Université du Québec à Montréal. He moved to New York City in 2010. His artistic practice comprised sculpture, installation, painting and photography. Lefèvre used humour and mockery to challenge the conventions and systems governing society in general and the art world in particular. His work has been shown in over twenty solo exhibitions in Montréal, Toronto, Moncton and Calgary, as well as in the United States and Europe. Representing Canada at the 2011 Prague Biennale, that same year Mathieu Lefèvre died in an accident in Brooklyn.