Born in Haiti, Manuel Mathieu is a multidisciplinary artist based in Montreal. He is best known for his vibrant, colourful paintings, which deftly merge abstraction and figuration. His paintings materialise the instability of forms, perpetual movement and a sense of pareidolia – our urge to see patterns where none exist.
Mathieu suggests that global dynamics can manifest in a single place, with Haiti as the site of his own inquiries.He highlights the shared links and struggles that unite us despite national borders. Where he approaches political themes, he does so from a personal perspective, through reflections on solitude, death, survival and desire.
His work explores our intertwined lives, in which the lines between past and present, personal and political, are often blurred. While he shares memories of his own life experiences, such as a convalescence following a serious accident, Mathieu also blends into his canvases a reckoning with the complex history of his homeland. He confronts questions that remain as urgent today as they have been throughout Haiti’s long history, unearthing the traumas of state violence. His work offers a space of reflection on Haiti’s history while inviting us to imagine its possible futures.
Mathieu’s concern for spatial organization, evident in his exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and The Power Plant, has now become the work itself, allowing the artist to explore Haitian culture and the major themes of his artistic investigation in all their physicality.
A graduate of Goldsmith’s College (London), Manuel Mathieu has exhibited in Belgium, Canada, China, England, France, Martinique, Morocco, Spain and the United States. His work is in the collections of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d’Art contemporain de Montréal, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada. His recent works were included in The Other Side of Now at the Perez Art Museum in Miami. In 2020, Mathieu was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and The Power Plant (Toronto). He also participated in group exhibitions at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Phi Foundation (Montreal), the Song Museum (Beijing) and the Kunstmuseum (Stuttgart).