Contemporary Art Gallery presents Toronto-based artist Jérôme Havre’s first presentation in Vancouver. Originally from France, Havre’s work considers representation, circulation, transmission, and translation of black identities, interrogating racialized stereotypes and ideologies projected onto bodies.
Havre’s Untitled (2010) is a blunt gesture. The found image depicts a family posed against a vintage car in a tropical landscape, its warm hues of analogue colour giving entry to a past generation. Havre disrupts the scene, scrawling doodles of mask-like forms in white-out directly onto each family member’s face, erasing identity and subjectivity, reforming these physical bodies as alien figures.
Masks are objects held in high esteem in Western culture. Through centuries of colonial violence and capitalist extraction, these specific objects have come to sit in private and museum collections around the world, detached from the action, ritual, communities, and physical bodies they were made for. Disembodied heads without voice, these masked bodies are “stilled,” recontextualized as stand-ins to represent otherness, here a reflection on Western perceptions of blackness.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Gallery in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program — intransitBC. Capture gratefully acknowledges the support of the British Columbia Arts Council.