Nadia Myre

Born in 1974 in Montréal (CA)
Lives and works in Montréal (CA)


video, colour, no sound
durée : 11'55''
Year of Purchase: 2009

“One must still have chaos in oneself
to be able to give birth to a dancing star”1

The video Wish is projected onto a wall. It comprises two sequences following each other in a loop: a crack, a dark slit, or a vertical trace dancing against a blank background that widens into a band of noise made up of volatile motifs. The confirmed formalism of the black-and-white, abstract, expressionist work—a sort of “white-out”2 —leaves the viewer in silence.

The intermittent appearance of a white hand in a sliver of shadow reveals the spectral presence of a body in motion: the body of the artist, that is, of Nadia Myre—a Canadian artist who explores the origins of the culture, history, and memory of her indigenous Algonquin ancestors as a means of bringing to the fore contemporary realities. She is shot in the course of performing a solitary ritual, an “active prayer.” “The motion of the Grandmother’s Circle” is an arrhythmic trance consisting in vertical leaps and meant to bring the participant into the circle of her ancestors. A digital montage transforms the video recording into a play of perception that precipitates identity and the formless into a single fissure in the image, a metaphor for the indefinite frontier between culture3 and art.

Wish presents a deconstruction of identities and genres where several stories confront each other:4
- Prayer as an experience of transfiguration, an element of personal mythology as “antecedent to all formal and rational sedimentations of representation”;5
- The act of filming a body and an indigenous ritual that hails back to ethnographic practice of the camera sometimes pushed to voyeurism on the hunt for savagery or some other exotic spectacle, down to the disappropriation of the subject’s own representation;
- A formalism having the effect of an experimental film that derealizes the body in a cryptographic dimension until becoming its sign. One can read the image as an “I” in which Nadia Myre affirms herself as author of her own figuration by antinomic reference to Félix-Louis Regnault’s6 films. To accept the image is to accept the separation, I, of fluid, organic, quasi-sexual movement—a metaphor for the desire (wish) of intimate exploration.

Nadia Myre creates her own “allegory of the cave”.7 What remains is the repetition of the self, her prayer, her desire which acts and observes at the place where the imaged body of the artist/Myre is constantly subjected to untranslatable internal movements in order to offer us a glimpse, within ourselves, of a world much vaster than the real world, an unknown vision beyond good and evil, the ghost and the star dancing together.

Luc Jeand’heur

1 Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra. In: The Portable Nietzsche, trans. Walter Kaufman. Penguin, 1982. p. 129.

2 A reverse “black-out.” (In English in the original. – Tr.)

3 Cf. UNESCO definition of culture.

4 I define it in terms of a trinity: the already-there, the there-self, the beyond-there.

5 Paul Mathias.

6 Félix-Louis Regnault (1847-1908), a physician, forerunner of ethnographic films made using Marey’s chronophotography in order to found a racial evolutionist anthropology.

7 Plato, The Republic, 372.