Cheryl Sim on the work of Manuel Mathieu
Haiti-born artist Manuel Mathieu describes his process during painting as surrendering to the spell. He explores historical violence, erasure, as well as Haitian visual cultures of physicality, nature, and religious symbolism. There is no hard distinction between abstraction and figuration; instead, they are intricately linked. To enter into these works is to enter into a reckoning with traumas and the scars they leave behind. But they also lead us onto paths and ladders of reflection and possibility swallowed up by moving masses of colour.
About Manuel Mathieu
Manuel Mathieu was born in 1986, the same year that marked the end of the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. In 2016, he completed his Masters in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since then, his work has been exhibited in museums and institutions such as National Museum of America, Washington; Musée de la civilisation, Quebec City; Grand Palais, Paris; ICA, London; and has found homes worldwide in the collections of the Rubell Family in Miami, JP Morgan in New York, Pamela Joyner in San Francisco and closer to us, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Hydro Québec, and the National Museum of Fine arts of Quebec. Mathieu is the first black Haitian-Canadian artist to be acquired by the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, to which Manuel’s instinctive reaction was to create an acquisition fund for underrepresented artists in Quebec. In 2018, he published two catalogues and a collection of drawings. His gallery shows include Truth to Power, Tiwani Contemporary, London (2017), and in 2018 he presented a Solo Booth at the Armory Show in New York, Nobody’s Watching, Kavi Gupta, Chicago; and The Spell on You, Maruani Mercier, Brussels. He had his first Canadian museum solo show at the Museum of Fine art of Montreal in 2020.
Interview with Manual Mathieu