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Currently shown
Mathieu Beauséjour

Night, Turn Off

Artist

Mathieu Beauséjour
Born in Montreal in 1970

Title

Night, Turn Off

Date

2009

Materials

Neon

Dimensions

38 x 235 x 8 cm

Credits

Purchase, thanks to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ sponsorship of the artist’s studio in the Darling Foundry, inv. 2016.445

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

Beauséjour works in a variety of media, casting an ironic yet nostalgic look at political and artistic avant-garde movements. He uses various tactics, including displacement, to subvert the materials and concepts of alienation and oppression.


The artist was inspired to create this piece by a handwritten note he saw posted above a light switch, asking users of the premises in question to turn off the lights before leaving. Beauséjour saw a kind of poetry in the message. While the resulting art work has kept the capital letters of the original note, its transposition of the message to the medium of neon makes the content paradoxical. What night are we talking about here? Is it the actual nighttime, or rather “the night” as a metaphor for all that is dark and malevolent? Philosophically speaking, the interpretation of the piece remains open to discussion.

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