Marie-Suzanne Désilets

From June 17 to August 16, 2019
Residency on Dazibao's Instagram account


For sixty days, Marie-Suzanne Désilets will take over Dazibao’s Instagram account. Having carried out several urban intervention projects and with a special interest in what makes us distinct as individuals and what brings us together as a community, with this project Désilets examines a highly revealing motif in our society: the house. The almost archetypal house. The house reproduced in large numbers according to equations that fit the socio-economic standards of what since the post-war period has been called the middle class.

The series covers three areas, within which two models of houses have been identified: one with a porch and the other without. The two models have a very similar amount of floor space, a little more than seventy square metres, and occupy a floor and a half (the half consisting of the attic). The subdivisions Désilets has documented are emblematic of the first bungalows rolled out by the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CHMC) in 1950 and 51. These so-called post-war houses were meant to make purchasing property affordable for the greatest number of people.

Marie-Suzanne Désilet’s extremely rigorous and diligent efforts have documented 748 of these houses in still comparatively identical conditions and with the fewest obstructions possible: grey spring or fall weather, thus without cover by vegetation, and at times when parking prohibitions made it possible to avoid the presence of automobiles. This standardised documentation process brings out a kind of typology, making it possible to classify and study differences and similarities and thereby to draw an evolving portrait of a certain kind of community.

In this way Désilets, beyond the socio-historical fact this exhaustive project casts into relief, leads us to her concerns around individual expression, its legitimacy, the common good and the community. This topic, transposed onto the context of this residency, will certainly resonate in different ways by raising numerous questions about the very nature of Instagram as a tool for peer pressure, influence, belonging, uniformity and rebellion and whose outward appearance marks a fragile boundary between the public and the private.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in art history and another in environmental design, Marie-Suzanne Désilets completed a master’s degree in visual and media arts at UQAM. Her work, taking as its starting point the concept of living together, has often taken the form of interventions, actions and installations, and has been presented regularly in Québec and the rest of Canada. She teaches at the Collège Bois-de-Boulogne in Montréal.

Dazibao thanks the artist for her generous collaboration as well as its members for their support.

Dazibao receives financial support from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications and the Ville de Montréal.