After studies in Russian literature at Moscow State University (1972-1973), Monique Régimbald-Zeiber received an MA (1975) and a PhD (1980) in Russian language and literature from McGill University and a BFA in visual arts from Concordia University (1982). She was a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal’s École des arts visuels et médiatiques from 1992 to 2012. In 1996, alongside Louise Déry (director of the Galerie de l’UQAM), she co-founded Éditions Les petits carnets, a publishing house through which she has published several texts. Best known as a pictorial artist, she questions the construction of perspective and history through her work, particularly the history of women. She recently examined this subject through an imposing in situ installation entitled Les dessous de l’histoire (2): vider les lieux (2011-2013). Entries from the Filles du Roy (“the King’s Daughters”) biographical records (Yves Landry) – information such as parents’ names and dates of birth, arrival and death – were copied, painted and presented on 810 small canvases, each with an additional phrase written in capitalized block letters: SAVAIT SIGNER or NE SAVAIT PAS SIGNER (“knew how to sign” or “did not know how to sign”). With the walls laden, even overladen, with these 810 small objects, the space became a site of interrogation rather than memory in that, as described by the artist, the blunt text “put forth questions regarding the end of writing down history, the end of writing, the end of painting and the end of the nation, in the broad sense of these terms,” hence the second part of the title: vider les lieux (vacate the premises).
Monique Régimbald-Zeiber, Variations / Réflexions sur un thème 8/9, 1985. Bois, papier, encre, ciment fondu vitrifié. 28 x 32 cm. Photo : avec l’aimable autorisation du Musée du Québec.