Manuel Mathieu

2024 Exhibition Artist

Manuel Mathieu (b. 1986; he/him) is a multi-disciplinary artist, working with painting, ceramics, film, and installation. Mathieu’s interests are partially informed by his upbringing in Haiti—just after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship—and his experience emigrating to Canada at the age of 19. His art investigates themes of historical violence, erasure, resilience and cultural approaches to physicality, nature and spiritual legacy.

He is best known for his vibrant, colourful paintings, which deftly merge abstraction and figuration. His paintings materialize 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. When 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 (Toronto), has now become the work itself, allowing the artist to explore Haitian culture and the major themes of his artistic investigation.

Mathieu obtained an MFA Degree from Goldsmiths, University of London. He has had solo exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Power Plant (Toronto), the Longlati Foundation (Beijing) and K11 Art Foundation (Shanghai). The Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill-on-Sea, UK) and the Max Ernst Museum (Brühl) will present exhibitions by Mathieu in 2024 and 2025. Mathieu recently received the Best Short Film Award at the 2023 Festival International des Films sur l’Art.