Quand faire, c'est dire  Brad Butler et Karen Mirza (Angleterre) Steven Cohen (Afrique du sud) Chelsea Knight (États-Unis) Commissaire: Julie Tremble (Montréal)
  • Quand faire, c'est dire
     Quand faire, c'est dire
30 Aug 2013 to 06 Oct 2013

Reflecting on notions of body, discourse and power, Quand faire, c’est dire brings together video works that develop each in its own way a gestural language in order to examine, question and denounce the domination of one body by another.

“Hold Your Ground” (2012) by Karen Mirza and Brad Butler proposes a semantics of demonstration. The video is part of the corpus The Museum of Non Participation which highlights the – often unconscious –participation of individuals and cultural institutions in systems of exploitation upon which the neo-liberal regime is based and sustained.

Steven Cohen’s performance work generally deals with issues surrounding Judaism, homosexuality, racism and ethnic identity. The videos “Chandelier” (2001) and “Maid in South Africa” (2005) address in complex ways the inequitable social organization in place in South Africa, and while denouncing it, the works also acknowledge the artist’s role within these systems.

Merging dance, theatre and film with certain social and political institutions, Chelsea Knight’s videos and installations are concerned with the performativity of language and the role it plays in the power dynamics of relationships. “The End of All Resistance” (2010) illustrates how our most intimate relationships and those deployed in military interrogations present parallel exercises of manipulation and domination.

Taking as its base the position that languages are tools used within personal and cultural contexts, Quand faire, c’est dire underlines certain fundamental principles of communication. These considerations seem particularly relevant in our political environment where mobility of bodies and information paradoxically leads to increased supervision and control over individuals by societal authorities.


Karen Mirza and Brad Butler's multi-layered practice consists of filmmaking, drawing, installation, photography, performance, publishing and curating. Their work challenges terms such as participation, collaboration, and the social turn, as well as the traditional roles of the artist as producer and the audience as recipient.

Since 2009, Mirza and Butler have been developing a body of work entitled The Museum of Non Participation. The artists have repeatedly found themselves embedded in pivotal moments of change, protest, non-alignment and debate. Having experienced such spaces of contestation both directly and through the network of art institutions, Mirza and Butler negotiate these influences through video, photography, text and action.

In 2004, Mirza and Butler formed no.w.here, an artist-run organization that combines film production with critical dialogue about contemporary image-making. It supports the production of artist works, runs workshops, offers critical discussions, and actively curates performances, screenings, residencies, publications, events and exhibitions. Mirza and Butler live and work in London, England. 


Steven Cohen makes performance art in the form of uninvited (and unexpected) public interventions. Through states of dress or undress social conventions are questioned. After a performance is complete, the video record of each interaction with the public exists as a digital artwork. In 1998, Steven Cohen's controversial work “Living Art” won the national FNB VITA Art Prize; he was voted cultural figure of the year (The Star), best-dressed artist (Mail and Guardian), and worst-dressed woman (Sunday Times). Steven Cohen works in collaboration with his life-partner, choreographer and dancer, Elu. He is currently an associate at BARC (Ballet Atlantique - Regine Chopinot) in Lyon, France. 

Chelsea Knight was born in Vermont and lives and works in New York. She has completed numerous residencies including the Whitney Independent Study Program, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program, and Triangle Arts Association in Dumbo, Brooklyn. She will be a 2013-2014 resident at Smack Mellon.

Knight’s work was presented in solo exhibition in various art centres and museums including: The St. Louis Art Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, Aspect Ratio Projects (Chicago), Abrons Art Center (New York), Momenta Art (Brooklyn), Night Gallery (Los Angeles), Julius Caesar Gallery (Chicago), and The University of Syracuse (New York).

Knight has exhibited and screened her work in group shows including The Real Thing at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Anti-Establishment at Bard CCS Hessel Museum, the Young Artists' Biennial (Bucharest), the 10th Annual Istanbul Biennial, Werkschauhalle Gallery (Leipzig), the Michelangelo Pistoletto Foundation (Italy), Harvard University, Art in General (New York), and the Kitchen (New York). 



Participating Artists: Brad Butler et Karen Mirza (Angleterre) Steven Cohen (Afrique du sud) Chelsea Knight (États-Unis) Commissaire: Julie Tremble (Montréal)
Credits: Image : Steven Cohen, Chandelier, 2001    
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