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Evergon Theatres of the Intimate

October 20, 2022 to April 23, 2023

The MNBAQ is proud to present a retrospective of the seminal Canadian photographer Evergon that assembles for the first time more than 230 works. Enter the comical, carnal universe of the artist who, in a career spanning 50 years, has humorously revisited genres such as portraits, landscapes, or nudes, producing a bold, moving, occasionally irreverent imagery. Visitors be warned: certain images may not shock you.  

 

A career shaped by boldness

 

Evergon is regarded as a genuine cultural icon in Canada. He is an artistic and social pioneer who focuses on contemporary questions concerning cultural and body diversity and diversity of identity. For nearly 50 years, the artist’s career has centred on bold photographic, technological, and aesthetic research. His always moving and occasionally irreverent striking imagery is often an extension of classical painting.

 

Enter the burlesque, fleshly universe of Evergon

 

Evergon is an immense creative force: identity, body diversity, love, desire, and ageing are at the root of his work. He celebrates, often humorously, all facets of life. Evergon grafts on to life notions of autobiographical fiction and extimity, a revelation of the intimate in the public sphere that is common today but that he explored early in his career.

The simultaneously political and sensualistic nature of his work raises questions on sexual orientation. He revisits with rare vitality genres such as portraits, landscapes, or nudes. Through collages, the art of photocopy and an entire array of exploratory photographic approaches, including the Polaroid, Evergon deepens the terms of queer masculine and feminine identity, thereby shaking up fixed ideas.

Numerous striking works underpin Evergon’s career, in particular the immense colour Polaroids from the 1980s, for which he is internationally recognized. Critics and several artistic institutions in the world have also paid tribute to his award-winning work in holography. His series devoted to his mother Margaret renews the representation of the ageing body as few artists have done and has received widespread recognition.

 

 

 

Discover more than 230 enjoyable, provocative, and moving photographs.

 

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Louis Hébert, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ © Evergon

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    Photo : Louis Hébert, MNBAQ © Evergon

 

Evergon’s concerns encompass social and artistic issues that go beyond the body’s socially constructed limitations. He thus abandons clichés by representing atypical bodies and goes beyond the canons of standardized beauty while relying on the seductive powers of photography, capable of inventing fictional worlds or theatres as is true of another major series in his career, in which he imagines the life of an entire community, that of the characters the Ramboys.

Evergon continues to be in perfect synchronicity with the emancipatory challenges of photography: he has forcefully called into question the notion of the author by creating various alter egos. He disrupts the foundations of the photographic image through an astonishing baroque aesthetic and brushes aside the conventional canons of beauty by representing atypical bodies that he invests with panache.

 


Evergon, Ron with Magpies, from the Caucasians in Birdland Series, 1982. © Evergon2


Evergon, The Clown, 1988. © Evergon Photo: MNBAQ, Jean-Guy Kérouac3

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Visitors be warned: some of these images might not offend you…

 

 

Catalogue

Under the direction of Bernard Lamarche, Head of Collection Development and Curator of Contemporary Art (2000 to the present) at the MNBAQ and exhibition curator, the catalogue covers 50 years of photographic practice by one of the most prolific artists in recent decades.

It focuses on the 10 sections in the exhibition and retraces Evergon’s career from his first works as a student up to his most recent works. The images are interspersed with essays that reveal his role as a mentor, creative vivacity, links with cinema, the avowedly queer nature of his work, and the importance of the maternal figure in his work.

The catalogue is available at the MNBAQ Librairie-Boutique and online under the "Publications du Musée, catalogues d'exposition et monographies" section.

Buy now

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Around the exhibition

 

Audio guide


AT ALL TIMES

The dual alternately fictionalized and informative narration in the audio guide invites visitors to enter the artist Evergon’s fantastic universe. A Ramboy, a half-man, half-ram character invented by the artist in the 1990s, will accompany visitors in the exhibition’s sections and key themes.

LISTEN

 

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Credits

Evergon, Captain 1, from the Ramboys : A Bookless Novel. Works by Egon Brut and Celluloso Evergonni Series (detail), 1991. Selenium toned black and white fiber-based prints from Instant dye print negative (Polaroid 655),163,3 x 136,8 cm National Gallery of Cannada (EX-95-164) © Evergon

Evergon, Ron with Magpies, from the Caucasians in Birdland Series, 1982. Instant dye print (Polaroid) with photo collage 20.3 x 25.4 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Evergon

Evergon, The Clown, 1988. Instant dye print (Polaroid), 240 x 224 cm (ensemble). Purchased for the collection Prêt d'œuvres d'art en 1990, transferred to the MNBAQ Permanent Collection. (2005.2724) © Evergon Photo: MNBAQ, Jean-Guy Kérouac

Evergon, Ramboy Offering Polaroid of Self Exposed in Hiding, from the Ramboys: A Bookless Novel. Works by Egon Brut and Celluloso Evergonni Series, 1996, reprinted in 2022. Digital print from a 3.25 x 4.25 in negative (Polaroid) 169.5 x 140 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Evergon