Serge Tousignant

Photography has the power to reveal and make us feel how light is caught by things or falls on them in a way that unmasks them, makes them visible, and gives them shape in a particular atmosphere, setting or context.”

Serge Tousignant stated in the 1970s that he is neither a photographer nor a sculptor. Such traditional designations, he felt, did not capture how and why he chose his mediums and materials. While his photographs do have subjects, often sculpted or structured by his own hands, it is his experiments and ideas — about time, about situation, about light, form, and shadow — that he is, above all else, capturing. A founding member of the dynamic artist-run gallery Véhicule, Tousignant played a key role in the development of the Montréal art scene of the 1970s.

At 17, Tousignant began his studies at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. Immediately after receiving his graphic arts diploma, for which he mastered calligraphy, typography and design, he began to work and experiment with lithography and etching in Albert Dumouchel’s studio.  He continued his studies from 1962 to 1965 at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College of London, England, where he studied painting and lithography.

Early in his practice Tousignant experimented and formalized his approach to the line; originally a more curve-linear stroke, it developed into a harder-edged, geometric form, an aesthetic he would carry on throughout his career. 1972 marked the beginning of his investigation of photography, and this is the medium he has continued to use. His body of work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, notably in a solo exhibition held at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in 1992, where works including Tape on a Studio Corner, One View (1973-1974), Snow and Time Drawing No. 4 (1977), The Equilibrist and the Lantern (1991, printed 1992) were shown.

Serge Tousignant received the Bridgestone Art Gallery Award at the 5th International Print Biennial of Tokyo, and the Sculpture Award at “Perspective 67,” the Canadian Centennial Commission Exhibition.


Photo Madeleine Forcier