Composition de céramique miniatures géométriques et organiques

Mel Arsenault | Shifting Histories

La Guilde presents Mel Arsenault’s first solo exhibition, Shifting Histories

February 28 to April 19, 2020

Montreal, Wednesday, February 5, 2020 – La Guilde is proud to present emerging artist Mel Arsenault’s first solo exhibition, Shifting Histories. From February 28 to April 19, 2020, La Guilde invites you to discover 25 artworks including works of ceramics, photography, installation and video. The artist is known for her miniature assemblages of various dimensions, in which colour plays a predominant role, her compositions reflect the hierarchy of pictorial language, through the chronology of art history and the rules of perspective. Artistic periods and movements coexist in her art. As a result, she calls into question both art history and history as we understand them today.

As an MFA candidate in Sculpture and Ceramic at Concordia University, where she previously obtained a BFA in Painting and Drawing, Mel Arsenault has participated in several collective exhibitions in Montreal, namely Peinture fraîche et nouvelle construction at the Galerie Art Mûr, Nuit Chromatic at the Usine C, and Art Souterrain in 2018. She also participated in an artist residency for ceramics at the prestigious International Research Centre Guldagergaard in Denmark in 2019. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Work and Meaningful Contribution to Ceramics Award given by the Department of Visual Arts at Concordia University. Since then, her work has been shown in Canada, Italy, Romania and Denmark.

The exhibition will open to the public during the Nuit blanche à Montréal on Saturday, February 29 from 8 PM to midnight. For the event, La Guilde is inviting the public to be part of a colourful evening, meet the artist and participate in a ceramic handbuilding workshop. This exhibition marks the start of La Guilde’s 2020 program. 


If you consider that throughout history, some forms of art have imposed themselves to the detriment of other forms of expression, Mel Arsenault’s approach consists of erasing the hierarchy and countering the exclusion of certain artistic movements, objects, groups and social phenomenon, which are the result of categorizations specific to each period. Driven by a desire to reduce the environmental footprint of her practice, the artist works restrictively and goes against the grandeur and monumentality of known masculine artworks that distinguish themselves based on these achievements. In her ceramic practice, she reproduces miniature versions of objects, such as pottery, furniture, modernist canvases, artifacts, minerals, laboratory instruments, chewing gum, bones, phalluses, etc. that she juxtaposes in assemblages that she can infinitely modify. Because of the unlimited configurations of her creations, the artist questions subjectivity throughout history and art history and therefore introduces a new narrative that shows the plurality of times and senses, and that remains in perpetual motion.


La Guilde, historical gallery and museum institution of Canadian art, has been preserving, promoting and encouraging fine crafts for more than one hundred years. Specializing in Inuit and First Nations art, La Guilde is a non-profit organization that holds a permanent collection, one of the most influential in Canada, a historically and culturally rich archives department, an educational program with a broad outreach, and a gallery which draws together works by renowned and emerging artists. Situated in downtown Montreal, La Guilde’s gallery offers all of its customers high quality contemporary art.

Image : Mel Arsenault, Mélanger l’Histoire VI, 2019, ceramic assemblage, approx. 6.75 x 8.5 x 7.75 in. Photo Credit: Rixt de Boer.