Engaged in Montreal’s visual and live arts community since 2007, performance artist Nadège Grebmeier Forget embraces interdisciplinarity and curation in her practice. She is the first daughter of a runner-up 1960’s California Beauty Queen and has, among other things: enacted works for Karl Lemieux (The Seven Last Words, 2018), Teresa Margolles (La Promesa, 2017), Dana Michel (Balls, 2016), Olivia Boudreau (Standing Bodies, Lying Bodies, 2014), Christiof Migone (Hite Parade, 2008); collaborated with Henrike Iglesias (Sophiensale/OFFTA, 2016), PME-ART (Festival actOral/Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, 2014) in addition to participating in numerous events, festivals, panels, residencies and exhibitions in Canada (Québec, Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland, PEI), the USA (Texas) and Europe (France, Germany, Romania).
Grebmeier Forget has recently exhibited and/or performed her work at OPTICA (Montréal, 2017), 7a*11d (Toronto, 2017), Galerie Hugues Charbonneau (Montréal, 2017), CIRCA art actuel (Montréal, 2016), VU Photo (Québec, 2016), She Works Flexible – Flex Space (Huston, 2016), Eastern Edge Gallery (St-John’s, 2016), Astérides – Friche de la Belle de Mai (Marseille, 2016), Mains d’Oeuvre (Saint-Ouen, 2016). She also chairs as president of the board of administrators at Centre CLARK (2016-) where she has been an active member since 2012, and has previously seated on the board of directors of La Galerie de l’UQÀM (2014-2016), as well as on the programming committee for OFFTA – Live Art festival (2013-2014) and DARE-DARE (2009-2011).
My practice provokes reflection on the act of looking as a form of implicit consumption, as well as the power dynamics within which the gaze operates. It is characterized by a preoccupation with re-appropriation, actively exploring the role of meditation on identity construction and fiction. Focusing on the overwhelming burden of representation, I model and hybridize the female body to defuse expectations of beauty and explore the intimacy of the concerned gaze on my identity; a social body being observed and judged by the other or oneself. Through an accumulation of actions, materials, textures, colors and rituals, I distort and/or present the intimate as a failed game of seduction; a spectacle that veers towards the grotesque. Using an exaggerated appropriation of femininity and a paradoxical relationship with food – particularly sweets -, I create bulimic images and highly gendered ambiances that flirt with pastiche, kitsch and clichés. My work seeks to confront desire and ideals (aesthetic, commercial, sexual, etc.) through the empowered and performative manipulation of my image in relations to certain fetichised objects and the camera, recalling the way one struts and shamelessly exposes fictional selves through contemporary media.
Based on the work of Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Manon Labrecque, and Julie Delporte, Thérèse St-Gelais turns her gaze to images of bodies and identities whose representations seem inscrutable, uncertain, or elusive. Here, these images are understood as participating in feminist resistance and agency, as critiquing the construction of knowledge and savoir-faire. Between the quest for a body of one’s own and the reality of a body beyond oneself lie feminist issues of undeniable relevance in today’s world.
I’ve Only Known My Own was a group exhibition curated by Nicole Burisch of new performance works by Ursula Johnson, Michelle Lacombe, Autumn Knight and Nadège Grebmeier Forget that explored how the materiality of the body is translated or communicated through measurements, process, technology, and documentation. This exhibition looked at how the matter of the body might become a tool or force that generates or expresses its own (il/logical) systems, and thinks through how this material embodiment might function as a form of resistance. Rather than presenting a fixed set of works, the exhibition evolved over the course of its three-week run, with objects, props, and works being set in motion during the presentation of each of the 4 performances. Inhabiting the quasi-domestic architecture of the gallery, the artists worked within the rooms of She Works Flexible’s Flex Space, gradually interacting with the space and leaving traces behind.
I’ve Only Known My Own publication gathers together traces from this first iteration of the exhibition, which took place in Houston in the spring of 2016 and is intended to offer a bridge between that exhibition, and the one presented at Optica in Montreal in the spring of 2017.
BURISCH, Nicole, « Never Enough / Jamais Assez: on documentation, proximity, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget’s SUITE from the series One on one’s for so-called fans », CORE Program catalog, published by the Glassell School of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts – Huston, 2015, p. 11-21
A text responding to a performance by Nadège Grebmeier Forget.
“In describing the challenges of writing about performances “in absentia,” Amelia Jones has argued that, “the problems raised by my absence… are largely logistical rather than ethical or hermeneutic. That is, while the experience of viewing a photograph and reading a text is clearly different from that of sitting in a small room watching an artist perform, neither has a privileged relationship to the historical ‘truth’ of the performance.” Building upon this claim, I am interested in thinking through what it means to work with/within the logistical problems of absence. This text uses multiple and multiplying forms of documentation to negotiate my distance from the performance, less with the goal of providing a conclusive account of the event, but in a way that might hold a space for all the conflicting, affective, awkward, messy, unofficial, intimate, embodied, compromised, personal, and subjective versions of the performance.”
 Amelia Jones, “‘Presence’ in absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation,” Art Journal 56, no. 4, (Winter, 1997):