Tuesday, February 08, 2022


Nicolas Party, Portrait with Mushrooms, 2019. Private collection. ©Nicolas Party. Photo Adam Reich

Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party, known for his meticulously composed pastels, painted sculptures and colorful installations, is having his first exhibition in Canada. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) has given the 41-year-old artist carte blanche in creating a dialogue between his works and a selection from the Museum's wind ranging collection. The exhibition runs February 12 - October 16, 2022. 

Through more than 100 of his works and a series of murals realized in situ, Party presents a dreamlike experience on the theme of nature. The Museum's galleries provide the canvas onto which the visual artist and muralist -- cum curator and exhibition designer -- expresses the full measure of his art. 

Partial view of the exhibition Nicolas Party : L’heure mauve, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

©Nicolas Party. Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière

Nicolas Party, Sunrise, 2018. Private collection, courtesy of Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. ©Nicolas Party.  
Photo Isabelle Arthuis.

The exhibition, named after the iconic painting L'Heure mauve (Mauve Twilight) by Canadian symbolist Ozias Leduc, found in the MMFA's collection, brings together watercolors, pastels and sculptures by Party -- including about 20 works that have yet to be exhibited. The landscapes, portraits and still lifes illustrate the complex and often inextricable ties that bind humans to nature. 
Partial view of the exhibition Nicolas Party : L’heure mauve, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. ©Nicolas Party.
Photo MMFA, Jean-François Brière

Party's creations combine figurative and Surrealist genres that are set against some 50 works from the MMFA's extensive collection that spans four centuries. Selected by Party, they range from paintings by such artists as Gustave Courbet, Otto Dix and Lawren S. Harris to chairs by Wendell Castle and Shiro Kuramata. 

Throughout the galleries in the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion, Nicolas Party explores the many-faceted relationships that humans have had with nature through the ages: original sin, conquest, ruined landscape, sublime space and as a place of desire, chaos, death and metamorphosis.

"At turns poetic and provocative, Nicolas Party's exhibition is an invitation to dream and to re-imagine the terms of our relationship to nature," says Mary-Dailey Desmarais, Chief Curator of the MMFA. "Setting masterpieces of the MMFA collection in conversation with his singularly fantastical creations, Party shows us that the past is deeply relevant to our present moment and that works of art have infinite stories to tell."
Nicolas Party. Photo Richmond Lam.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Michael and Renata Hornstern Pavilion
February 12 - October 16, 2022

An exhibition set to song by Pierre Lapointe

At the Museum’s invitation, Quebec singer-songwriter-composer Pierre Lapointe created a soundtrack comprised of 14 songs that add a musical dimension to this major immersive exhibition. 

Structured in seven themes, the album contains original creations and revisits works by masters of song from Quebec and abroad – from Félix Leclerc to Kurt Weill, as well as Charles Aznavour, Claude Léveillé and Pete Seeger. Produced by Lapointe and arranged by Philippe Brault, its sounds combine piano, guitars, percussion and voice. Some of the titles – in which the Molinari Quartet notably participated – integrate beguiling arrangements composed of choral music, strings and wind instruments. 

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