Thierry Marceau, 2018.

Objects aren’t very important any more

The title is a quote from Joseph Beuys. [1]

February 14 - 17, 2018

Opening: Wednesday February 14, 6 pm to 8 pm
Artist talk and deposit of documents at 6:30 pm
Curator: Maude Johnson


Objects aren’t very important any more is an exhibition that retrospectively assesses Thierry Marceau’s performative project entitled 1/100 de 2-22, J’aime Montréal et Montréal m’aime and extends it simultaneously. Along with a publication produced for documentary purposes, which shares the title of Marceau’s work, the exhibition embodies its fifth and last phase. Within the frame of Quebec’s “Politique du « 1 % »” [2], Marceau periodically occupies the 2-22 over the last six years. He personified German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) and, taking his iconic performance I Like America and America Likes Me (1974) as a starting point, developed a series of interventions held in the vitrines that form the building’s curtain wall with the aim of “inhabiting the edifice.”


Objects aren’t very important any more gathers images and objects resulting from the work; it sheds light on diverse elements in the interest of commingling the composite ensemble created by Marceau. It is supplemented by an installation in the reading room, which is organized around the publication 1/100 de 2-22, J’aime Montréal et Montréal m’aime and provides additional clues intended to enrich understandings of the artist’s practice. It is an attempt to unpack the various levels of the project and to display its complexity. Furthermore, the exhibition invites a consideration of the performative dimension at the core of the work so as to distinguish and assert its contribution. Without leaving any material traces, the interventions have pervaded the space: a presence henceforth inhabits it, generated in the very memory of the 2-22. Like a ghost, Beuys remains in the building, his representation lingering within its interstices. Within the frame of the exhibition opening, an artist talk and the deposit of the project’s documentation to Artexte will take place. This final performative segment marks the work’s transfer from spectacle to memory and, thus, orientates its future existence.


[1] Willoughby Sharp, “An Interview with Joseph Beuys,” Artforum, November 1969; reproduced in Lucy R. Lippard, Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 to 1972, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973: 121.

[2] Implemented in 1961, the “Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture et à l’environnement des bâtiments et des sites gouvernementaux et publics” is a provincial measure imposing the allocation of 1% of the construction budget of any building or layout of a public site to the realisation of artworks specifically conceived for the space.


Multidisciplinary artist Thierry Marceau has developed a practice of personification since 2004. Combining performance, video, photography, and installation, his work challenges the accepted interpretation of a series of iconic figures and popular images. He stages himself through performative portraits that are fuelled by collective memory. Marceau reshapes, reassembles, and diverts so as to deconstruct public narratives. His work has been part of numerous exhibitions across Quebec, Canada, and the United States.

Independent writer and curator, Maude Johnson holds a Master’s degree in Art History from Concordia University. She is interested in the relationship between bodies, time, and spaces. Her research explores performative and curatorial practices, among others. She has been a contributor to esse arts + opinions magazine since 2016, and participates in many contemporary art projects, exhibitions, publications, and events.