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Melik Ohanian
Portrait of Duration, 2015.
Sept photographies sur Duratrans, boîtes lumineuses,
animation Arduino, 1 seconde,
105 x 90 x 10 cm chaque
Collection Pomeranz
Crédit : Paul Litherland

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, Melik Ohanian
From September 8th 2017 to October 21st 2017
De quoi l'image est-elle le nom ?

Guest Curator: Ami Barak

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image (formerly Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal) presents, in collaboration with OPTICA, Melik Ohanian – Portrait of Duration. L’instant S from September 8th to October 21st. The opening is being held on September 8th at 7:30pm, in attendance of the artist.

Melik Ohanian (France) explores the relationships between science, astrophysics, and the visual arts. In Portrait of Duration (2015), he reveals the change of state of cesium 133, the chemical element that defines the universal second in atomic clocks through its transition from solid to liquid state. Ohanian invites the viewer to experience a representation of time itself. Portrait of Duration – Expand Series (2015/2017) is composed of large scale images excerpted from the experiments conducted for Portrait of Duration. Each photograph proposes a figure of time. The Post-Image series (2014) is made from media content culled from the international press, meticulously torn to pieces by the artist. This gesture questions the nature, circulation, and reproduction of images in the present era.


For its 15th edition, MOMENTA has joined forces with curator Ami Barak, who has developed an outstanding program on the theme What Does the Image Stand For? The 2017 edition of MOMENTA explores the concept of photographic and videographic evidence for the prosecution, whether images are still or in motion, raising the question of images as avatars, and focusing on the fantastical and sublimated aspects of the reality that they convey. The 38 artists in this biennale invite us not to accept their testimony uncritically. The biennale comprises three segments. The first, which corresponds to the central exhibition at our headquarters, focuses on the work of 23 artists and is being presented at two sites: Galerie de l’UQAM and VOX, centre de l’image contemporaine. The second consists of 14 solo exhibitions spread throughout the city. And the third is an exhibition of documents located at Artexte.

MOMENTA is also a vast program of public activities, talks, projections, and encounters, as well as many opportunities to meet the artists and see their works. The biennale would be incomplete without its catalogue, co-produced with the prestigious publishing house Kerber Verlag, which brings together texts by the curator and five authors who address the question What Does the Image Stand For?

Mix and Match Tour

A Mix and Match Tour combining a guided tour of the exhibitions at Optica and Centre CLARK takes place on September 23 at 12:30pm.

So you won’t miss anything in the 2017 edition, a detailed program is available for free at all of our exhibition partners and on momentabiennale.com.

Providing access to all biennale activities, MOMENTA Passports are available at La Vitrine box office (online: lavitrine.com).


For nearly 30 years, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal has been offering a stimulating framework within which to study current practices, evolutions, and issues associated with the still and moving image in Western culture, and to take the pulse of trends in contemporary image making. Renamed MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image in 2017, the organization plays a crucial role in the local, national, and international ecology of the visual arts community. Through its curatorial approach, renowned guest curators develop rigorous artistic programming based on relevant themes; the biennale enjoys a well-established reputation in its city and country, as well as abroad. It actively contributes to the recognition of Canadian artists – who comprise more than 50% of the artists in each edition – by presenting their work within an international context, in association with 15 exhibition partners. In 7 editions, the organization has exhibited more than 2,000 works by 400 artists, and welcomed almost 22 million visitors.


Melik Ohanian (1969–) is a French artist of Armenian origin who lives and works in Paris and New York. His work, which focuses on the question of time, borrows procedures and devices from cinema and projection technique to explore the relationships between science, astrophysics, and the visual arts. His most recent solo exhibitions include Under Shadows at the Centre Georges- Pompidou (Paris, 2016) and DAYS, I See what I Saw and what I will See at Art Basel (2015). His work has also been featured in group exhibitions, such as Dreamlands, Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, 2016); Les Rencontres d’Arles (2016); the 20th Sydney Biennale (2016); and the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), for which the Armenian pavilion, where his work was exhibited, won the Golden Lion award for the best national pavilion. Ohanian was awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2015. He is represented by Galerie Chantal Crousel (Paris) and the Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv, Brussels).