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Mario Côté, painter and video artist, lives and works in Montreal. He has taught at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) since 1989. He is particularly interested in the intersection of art disciplines and of the individuals who practice them. His work questions, on one hand, the concept of interdisciplinary translation in painting, and on the other, the idea of the dancer-body and the reader-body in video. He seeks not to merge the two disciplines, but instead to support them in their mutually animating dynamic energy.

Côté has produced nearly thirty videos to date. He has initiated several collaborations in the area of dance video. In 2010 he co-directed, with the choreographer Jeanne Renaud, pioneer of modern and contemporary dance in Quebec, Blanc Noir ou Rien (Black White or Nothing) in which dancers Louise Bédard and Sylvain Émard interpret a choreography, to music by Morton Feldman, and with a sculptural set by John Heward. In 2007-2008, Côté recreated two works, Les Saisons Sullivan (Sullivan’s Seasons) and Dédale (Daedalus) first produced in 1948 by Françoise Sullivan, dancer, choreographer, and signatory of Refus Global (Total Refusal). In 2004 he co-directed the video Les Mauvaises Pensées (Bad Thoughts) with French choreographer Christine Marneffe, based on her texts and on performances by dancer Andrée-Maude Côté. Subsequently, a new cycle of video works examined the relationship between reading and writing with French writer and filmmaker Alain Fleischer. Recently, Côté directed À ciel ouvert (Open Air) 2011 and La chambre qui attend, portrait d’Alain Fleischer écrivain (The Room Awaits: Portrait of Alain Fleischer) 2008. With Fleischer he had previously co-directed a 2004 video, Sans terre ni mère (Landless, Motherless) based on an experimental work by Jean Asselin and the Mimes Omnibus. His work in collaboration and recreation led Côté to a new vision of his practice. He undertook the re-actualization of his own paintings by recreating them in a contemporary context. Thus Tableau 20 (Painting 20) 2008 is a reprise, sixteen years later, of Tableau 16 (Painting 16) 1992. Other revisited works have been in progress since then.

In painting, Mario Côté produced many works from 1993 to 2000 in which he explored the stylized representation of the electronic image in order to concentrate on the emblematic figure of Russian experimental cinema, Dziga Vertov. Through the past few years he has oriented his pictorial work towards a visual transposition of urban soundscapes and, more recently, towards a visual translation of musical works by the American composer Morton Feldman. As a painter, Côté tackles musical notation, which structures time, by inscribing it in an actual pictorial space occupied by geometric and non-figurative signs. In 2002 a retrospective of his work, initiated by guest curator Nicole Gingras, was held at the Musée d’art de Joliette. Côté presented two important exhibitions in 2010 of his transposition of Feldman’s entire Palais de Mari complete with a performance of the piece by pianist Jacques Drouin at the vernissage. Côté is represented by the Galerie Trois Points in Montreal.

The artist’s research is carried out within the framework of activities of the École des arts visuels et médiatiques (EAVM) de l’UQAM, and is complemented by writings published in specialized magazines and in the EAVM press. He is an active member of the Centre de recherche en arts médiatiques Hexagram/UQAM. He has collaborated with several university-based research groups, funded by the Fonds québécois pour la recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC), including Nouvelles formes narratives audio-vidéo numériques (2003) led by Chantal duPont, and L’Image manquante (2001) and Faktura (2005), both led by Monique Régimbald-Zieber. In 2009, he formed L’Audible et le Visible dans la notation graphique, l’image de la voix et les phonographies visuelles. This research group enabled the reconstitution of ARC_PHONO, archives sonores et phonographies visuelles, a team in existence since 2005. This audio archive project collects digital recordings of indoor soundscapes that are “at risk of extinction”. Finally, Mario Côté also directs ARC_DANSE, a group whose goal is to re-enact and digitally re-mediate modern and contemporary choreographies by artists Jeanne Renaud and Françoise Sullivan in order to reactivate the living heritage of dance in Quebec.

Mario Côté

Mario Côté