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Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell

Étrange familiarité

February 8 to April 26, 2020

With Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell’s work, we, as viewers, are impelled to revisit whole swathes of art history, and to reconsider styles, genres and techniques we would normally think of as incompatible. In her syncretic approach, she brings together a wide range of influences and methods: the baroque, 17th-century Dutch still life painting, the chiaroscuro, contour drawing, etching, Japanese and Western film aesthetics, screenprinting, ceramics, sculpture, and other, more recent elements as well, such as surrealism and botany. Audaciously time-travelling, voluntarily conjuring up anachronisms and provoking impossible encounters between incongruous objects, Dinan-Mitchell constantly throws us off the scent.

Dinan-Mitchell fully owns the decorative nature of her installations, inverting the hierarchy of low and high art. Indeed, she designs intimate and familiar mise-en-scènes where strangeness, freedom, seduction and humour can truly coexist.

Étrange familiarité is an ornamentally-oriented installation that takes botany as its central theme, featuring, among other things, depictions of flowers sprouted in Dinan-Mitchell’s own imagination. This work reminds us that exhibited objects are only of secondary importance; it is first and foremost the artist’s mind, her penchants, personality and sense of freedom that take centre stage here. Cynthia Dinan-Mitchell’s fantastical world imbues us with joie de vivre, despite—or perhaps because—of the consciousness of death that her eclectic still lifes evoke.


Guided tour and vernissage: Saturday, February 8 at 2 pm.