Marie-Michelle Deschamps’s fascination with languages, shifts in meaning, handwriting and calligraphy, and the materials of language – graphite, paper as support, or voice as organ – naturally led her toward the figure of Louis Wolfson, a linguist with a unique method, whose work then informed an entire layer of her research. A “student of schizophrenic language,” Wolfson inhabits Deschamps’s exhibition space as an implicit presence at the heart of all of the conversations that form her project.

Visitors are invited to follow his traces while reading and wandering through the space. In turn, they pass in front of his table and work tools; imagine his obsession with modes of pronunciation depending on the placement of the tongue in relation to the palate and the jaw; and recognize his compulsion with exhausting the meaning of a word by putting it through a translation process that exposes it to the effects of coincidence, emotion, and subjectivity. His method of learning – or, rather, unlearning – involves a process of association of ideas and phonetic and semantic declensions in order to replace English, his mother tongue, with which he maintains a disturbing relationship, by exchanging its vocables for others taken from Russian, French, Hebrew, and German.

The exhibition is made possible thanks to the support of Samsung and Galerie UQO. 

Marie-Michelle Deschamps

Marie-Michelle Deschamps is based in Montreal, Canada, and holds an MFA in visual art from the Glasgow School of Art (Glasgow, Scotland). She has presented her work in solo exhibitions at the Darling Foundry (Montreal), Ausstellungraum Klingenthal (Basel), She BAM! (Leipzig), and and Galerie de l’UQO (Gatineau), as well as in group exhibitions at Arsenal Contemporary (New York), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (Montreal), Oakville Galleries (Oakville), Occidental Temporary (Paris), and MUDAM – The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg (Luxembourg City), among others. Deschamps’ work is part of the permanent collections of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Voorlinden Museum (Wassenaar), the Lafayette Foundation (Paris), the Glasgow School of the Arts Libraries (Glasgow), the Enamel Arts Foundation (Los Angeles), and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (Montreal).