Rencontres is pleased to invite the public to the virtual release of artist Maryse Goudreau’s book La conquête du béluga (Conquest of the Beluga; Éditions Escuminac, the Gaspé). The book will be launched during an exchange with the artist accessible live on Facebook on June 9, 2020, at 12:30 p.m.
Since 2012, Maryse Goudreau has been creating an archive devoted to the beluga for which she assembles multiple data and creations. Her new book on the fascinating history of the beluga in Canada is published by Éditions Escuminac, founded in 2016 by Rencontres as a way of supporting the publication of contemporary photobooks.
La conquête du béluga is a hybrid book that spans 150 years and travels across Canada to explore the history of the emblematic beluga. Maryse Goudreau uses official transcripts from the House of Commons to create a biting and heated stageplay where actors meet images of nursing belugas discreetly inserted into envelopes. Political theatre here takes the form of a book that leads to a beluga breeding area, an aquarium, and a margarine business, opening a window for readers/viewers to a North that might be unknown to them.
Through the appearance of women’s voices in the debates and the maternal behavior of the belugas, a shift occurs from image to image, and we are compelled to change our relationship to the living world. Here, the conquest of the beluga is also the conquest of narrative, bringing to life fragments of history in a struggle against oblivion and disappearance.
A copy of the book (delivery included in Canada) can be preordered at marysegoudreau.com/nouveau-livre.
The artist thanks the Canada Council for the Arts for its research and creation assistance. The work has benefited from the support of the Centre SAGAMIE residency program for the printing of photographs inserted in the book inside sleeves.
About the artist
Maryse Goudreau is an artist, filmmaker and independent researcher. Since 2012 she has been creating an archive devoted to the beluga for which she assembles multiple data and creations, and which she intends to develop over two decades. Her most recent exhibitions have been presented at the Venice Biennale (PHI Centre in Montreal pavilion), Dazibao (Montreal) and the Museo de la Cancillería / Instituto Matías Romero (Mexico City). She has been awarded a number of distinctions, including the Prix Lynne-Cohen (2017) in partnership with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Her works can be found in several collections, among them at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul. Maryse Goudreau lives and works in Escuminac, in the Gaspé Peninsula, where she also devotes her time to permaculture.