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Mathieu Beauséjour: Icarus: Aura Artwork on display in the public areas of the Musée

May 16, 2013 to October 27, 2013

A turning point in the work of Mathieu Beauséjour, the Icarus cycle was born in 2009. This ambitious group of works includes installations, drawings, digital prints and Aura, a sound installation. These works seek to put us in Icarus’ place as he approaches the sun. They are in strong contrast with classical depictions of the myth of Icarus. Here, the sun becomes a hypnotic symbol of irradiant power. Seen in this light, it manifests its captivating omnipotence and magnetism, which go the better of Icarus.

Aura consists of a Chinese gong in beaten copper, like a solar disk, accompanied by a loudspeaker playing only very low frequencies: the slow beats of the artist’s heart. An aural self-portrait, this work propagates a wave that inhabits the space with its dramatic presence. It underscores the anxiety experienced at the approach of fire. The atmosphere pulses with the sound of this wait, while the star continues to shine.

In 2012, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec began to acquire some of the key works in this major cycle, which is still in development.


Mathieu Beauséjour was born in Montréal in 1970 and is one of the artists of his generation engaged in a fundamental critical exploration of the systems of political, social and cultural power. Over the past 15 years and more, Beauséjour’s work has been the subject of more than 20 solo exhibitions in Canada, France and Great Britain and been included in a great number of group shows at a variety of venues in Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Colombia and Serbia. He first came to attention in the 1990s for his interventions on banknotes. He has also created works in which has worn himself out repeating written formulae in pencil, for example in Memes Memes (1998-99, MNBAQ coll.), which employs a Situationist slogan from May 68, “Ne travaillez jamais” (“Never work”). He is the recipient of numerous grants and was a finalist for the Sobey’s Art Award in 2008. In 2010 he won the Giverny Capital award in Montréal and in 2011 his work was included in the second edition of the Québec Triennial at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.