BIG BANG! MAdM and her Weapon of Choice

The exceptional Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, has once again invited MAdM to participate in one of their innovating art exhibits. As you may remember OUT OF OUR MINDS (OOOM) Film was programmed along side Pre-Raphealite master painter JW Waterhouse retrospective just over a year ago. This time, MAdM is honored to be part of BIG BANG! a groundbreaking show of contemporary Montreal Artists, all of whom were invited to roam freely the archives of the landmark museum. Here were the ground rules they gave us….

“As part of this fall’s celebrations, the Museum wished to pay tribute to contemporary creativity by organizing a multidisciplinary exhibition, an innovative and unifying event, free of charge and accessible to everyone. Some twenty renowned artists from several disciplines have been given carte blanche to create an installation, the only condition being that it be based on a work of their choice from the Museum’s collection, to renew and reinvent it. Art inspires artists for all time: “With this original project, the Museum’s collection becomes an open work, justifying the essential mission of this institution: to conserve the works of yesterday that inspire the artists of today,” states Nathalie Bondil, Museum Director.”

so off I went… through the vaults. first looking for swiss art, as i continue my hunt of my heritage and blood lineage. i discovered Hodler and his romantic portrait of an ancient Swiss National Guard aka Hallebardier (yes the ones that guard the pope and Vatican til this very day and the most sought after and deadly fighters of the middle ages). this brought me back to my reoccurring hunt and theme of my weapon of choice….. my photographic project began. i went deeper into their collection of weapons, and found a diverse collection, such as this ceremonial dagger  from the congo below….

…. then i brought in some of my own; favorite vintage russian panoramic camera, viking axe etc…..

as during my photographic studies in university, i turned the camera on myself, at which time i was 6 months pregnant. sneak peek below, but to see the whole image and whole piece, you must be in Montreal between now and january 22 ….

“Inviting Ferdinand Hodler’s 10-foot tall “Hallebardier” painting as the central muse for my piece initiated my exploration of the hunt for one’s own Weapon of Choice. L’homme d’armes depicted in this portrait, circa 1895, reflects aspects of my favorite painting traditions happening around that time in Europe. There are echoes of the mysticism of the Pre-Raphaelites that came just before, and the fantasy and nature worship of the blossoming Art Nouveau movement, but here the subject is a Man and his weapon. My Swiss ancestral roots only add to my need  to explore the history of Swiss Mercenaries…. Whose battle would you fight?”

12 Responses to “BIG BANG! MAdM and her Weapon of Choice”

  1. Martin says:

    Je vais aller voir c’est certain !!!!

  2. Mariano says:

    Well, a friend of a friend who lives in Montreal was kind enough to visit the exhibition and he made his own photographic experience out of it.

    Your work has traveled thousands of miles to reach us in South America. As usual, I’m in awe about how far you’re willing to go to explore your center, your core, and also how deep you can dive into a project and expose yourself at your most vulnerable. The shape you created in the picture where you’re holding your belly is particularly interesting.

    Well done once again!

    I hope this is only a small peek and preview at the world of imagery you’ve been creating for such a long time.

    Be well!

  3. Tilman Müller says:

    Oomm Melissa, thanks for the fruitful Toblerone invitation!

    For those who also feel to be able to come to Montreal so easily to see the rest of the Big Bangs-exhibition picture -or want a closer preview:
    A photograph of Melissa’s exhibition room can be seen on ““,”Image 9 of 22”.
    On ““ you can get Melissa for 4 seconds in the video clip “Making-of de l’exposition BigBang” (01:42 – 01:46).

    Now I better shut up…

  4. Tempest says:

    Thanks, Tilman Müller for posting those links. I won’ t be able to make it to Montreal, so those links took me there in a way. Melissa, congrats on this show.

  5. Paul says:

    Are there plans for images of the work to be shown online in full after the exhibition, for the benefit of overseas fans who can’t get to see it?

  6. Sari H. says:

    Non-related info: Watching t.v. the other night when guess what song comes on… Meet Me On the Dark Side!
    Really cool man.

  7. TJMARZ says:

    True warriors fight for legacy. It is what we live for. It is what we die for. You will see this clearly, especially with a newborn. Congratulations & Blessings to you.

  8. Phil says:

    I wish I had been able to visit the MMFA in Montreal to see the picture. Alas, it’s so far from the “old continent” and flights from Germany to Canada are too expensive for a quick trip to a museum. It’s a pitty, we’ll never get to see the whole picture, combining all these elements – past and future, femininity and power, beauty and danger, a woman a weapon a new life. I’d love to see the complete work.
    It’s great to see, that your journey into your family’s history leads you back to an age where my own also lived in Switzerland.
    I’m enjoying your art since about 9 years now – please keep on being such a special and powerful inspiration!
    P.S.: We saw you on the ooom-tour in Hanover, were I live. Stood right in front of you as you sang – and it was just perfect! So powerful and touching. Hope to see you there – or anywhere in Germany – again!

  9. […] By the sounds of it, it appears that you were a regular feature in your father’s columns as a child. Now that you have a child of your own, do you feel that she will become a prominent feature in your coming works? In a way, she’s already made somewhat of an appearance, in “Big Bang”, your project that was presented at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts back in 2011-12. […]

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