Maryse Goudreau

Born in Campbellton (New-Brunswick).   Lives and works in Escuminac (Quebec).


Maryse Goudreau works with images, photographic collections and participatory art, and has developed thematic archives that provide a range of sociological, political and anthropological perspectives. She attempts to free images
from their static relationship to official history. In 2017, she became the first recipient of the Lynne-Cohen Award, offered in partnership with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.


Goudreau’s practice most often leads her to use photography, archives and video, and to make participatory and performative art. Through this combination of approaches, she frees images from their static relationship to official history in order to create narrative, pictorial and literary spaces. Her recent projects are distinguished by an undertaking in which the process presents what was off-camera or unseen.

The Archives de la Côte-du-Sud, La Pocatière, enabled her to produce assemblages from images taken from the archive collection, documenting theatre presentations of students (circa 1940) and beluga hunting at the mouth of Rivière-Ouelle (circa 1920). The encounter with this collection of images has been important for constructing her deep-sea project on the social history of the Beluga whale. From this time on in her work, the artist would knowingly include the encounter of two levels of history and temporality: the archive’s fixed gaze and direct participation.


The artist realizes that for each image she shows, a box exists with more images waiting to be reactivated, to be used and put in a position that can no longer feign neutrality. She would like to present a participatory reading of her book Histoire sociale du béluga (Social History of the Beluga). This is the play that she wrote, copying and pasting words that ministers and deputies used in their debates in the Quebec National Assembly from 1929 to 2015, concerning the beluga whale throughout the period. These speeches become above all a history to be brought out of oblivion and placed again at the heart of our collective history. The artist will invite the public to discuss the social history of the beluga and the political symbol that it has become. Goudreau wishes to replay the picture and the political debates in a participatory mode, creating a warm, inviting place for an encounter.

Goudreau works

Photo : Mathieu Bouchard-Malo

Conversation 2012, photomontage, inkjet 1/5 PA, photo courtesy of the artist