Sofie Fékété-Fehér is a multidisciplinary artist born in France that spends her time between Montreal, Paris and Budapest. She started out as a horticulturist and interior designer. Next, she worked in the fashion world as a designer, a restorer and costume historian, first, at the Centre national de costumes, then at Métiers et traditions where she coordinated public demonstrations of Quebec traditional crafts.
Being introduced to the site specific practice and being rewarded first prize by La Fondation Mc Abbie while attending her BA in Fine Arts at Université du Québec (UQAM) was an important step in her artistic career. Attentive to the development of the individual in social context, she then took on an interdisciplinary program in sociology and anthropology at Concordia University. In 2016, with new concerns in environmental and globalization issues, she is back at UQAM where she receives a bachelor degree in Geography. Her artistic process recently took a significant leap with obtaining a Master Degree in Arts at Université La Sorbonne in Paris, her research subject focusing on the relationships between humans and animals. She is now taking courses that will lead to a Biology program.
Sofie Fékété-Fehér often organizes her own shows for they arise from a feeling of urgency and a deep sense of commitment, she especially enjoys it when these presentations require a lot of energy and involve a certain degree of risk. She prefers duo and collaborative work which in addition to considerations on the viewer and the enrichment of mutual art practices, allows the emergence of innovative ideas. Since 1996, she is a regular at the Belgo Building in Montreal. In 2000, she took part in the Symposium de la nouvelle peinture de Baie St-Paul. In 2002, she coordinated an exhibition with 11 women in a run-down empty factory space in the Saint-Henri district of Montreal. She is a founding member of the Canadian Hungarian Artists Collective (CHAC) which presents thematic exhibitions in Canada and Hungary alike. In 2018, she created a large-scale live painting on the stage of Europa at Théâtre La Colline in Paris. Recently, she orchestrated two mobile exhibitions mounted on cargo bikes with the objective of reaching out to the passersby and exchanging with visitors at the Paris FIAC 2019.
Sofie aims to create opportunities and relate to the wider spectrum of visual culture by addressing socio-environmental real time issues. “We are witnessing an increase in visuals by the digital community on the subject of Nature. I believe their intention is more about entertaining than helping raise awareness of the strong ties between all living beings. What are new venues we can we use to stimulate visual arts in this given situation? How can creators help to engender an increase in responsible consumer behaviours ?
FOR A RE-AFFILIATION WITH NATURE
I seek new artistic directions to revive our relations with the natural environment in the belief that if there is truth it can be best found within individual emotion. I explore the potential of art installations to appropriate space and incorporate painting and sculpture. This approach is meant to think of art as a force of Nature, an essential source of energy within each and everyone of us that nonetheless can only be revealed through the world of appearances. My artistic process goes hand in hand with interrogations on the disconnect between nature and society, a result, I believe, of the increasing focus on the ‘self’ through history. I see our times as a climax of difficulties, disappointments and relativisms where our relationships with oneself, with others and with Nature have been disrupted by industrialization and the arrival of modern technological tools. On the one hand, the end of our affiliation with Nature leads us to deficiencies in our daily touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste experiences. On the other hand, technology, which initially was brought forth to serve us, ties us down, diminishes us and helps re-establish mediocrity as a common value. With computer technology everywhere in our lives, the power of representation and lived experiences specific to humankind is spoiled. I, for my part, try to be receptive to the visible world around me in order to re-materialize it in images drawn from my wanderings in unfamiliar places.
It seems that no pandemic or social crisis can slow down the rampant capitalism and the materialistic point of view of our present society. The organized pillage of the natural resources of the planet in conjunction with a world less and less controlled by live flesh-and-bone human beings but instead governed by the race for time and profit incites me to look into the impact or anthropization and the increasing erosion of our quality of life. I regularly nourish myself from the writings of Philippe Descola, Serge Moscovici, David Le Breton and of philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty.
Searching for intrinsic forces that construct our identities, I previously explored the question by direct observations on individuals. Today, in tune with the antispeciesism viewpoint, I acknowledge the fact that human beings are inseparable from all existing things originating from the evolution of the natural ecosystems. Everything is intertwined. In my recent works animals are represented along side human beings. The state of global biodiversity loss does not happen alone : it is our lifestyles that destroy habitats for wildlife. In other words, our anthropocentric stance must take a turn towards biocentrism which advocates that all living individual creatures have a moral standing. With the understanding that Nature is not outside humans and that we have an innate sense of connection with other forms of life (Edward O. Wilson), creating is not only about sharing aesthetic pleasure but becomes an act of faith for the artist wishing to contribute. Therefore, the artist is not a passive observer but an actor wishing to enrich the broader community in which he or she lives in.
We must be aware that we are in a finite world, however wealthy we may be, the accelerated upsetting of the ecosystem’s health is the real loss. We also have to believe that things will change. My intentions are not to advocate veganism nor to condemn zoos but to accord equal importance to different life forms that inhabit our planet at the same time taking to account that when we talk about the ecosystem, political, social and economic inferences are never too far away.
ARTISTIC CURRICULUM VITAE
2019 Master in Visual arts, Specialization: Lieux, Espaces, Expositions, Réseaux
Université Paris 1- Panthéon Sorbonne
Research subject under the supervision of Miguel Egaña: Rapport être humain-animal à l’heure de la perte de la biodiversité. Installations engagées
2016 Bachelor’s degree in Geography
Université du Québec à Montréal, Quebec
2002 Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality (BA)
Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec
2000 Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts
First prize from the McAbbie Foundation
Université du Québec à Montréal, Quebec
1999 Drawing and oil painting classes
Arts Student League, New-York
1990 Diplôme d’études collégiales (DEC) in Fashion design
EXHIBITIONS, EVENTS, PERFORMANCE
Ça passe ou ça casse, Independent mobile exhibition of painting installations mounted on 3 cargo bicycles in Paris streets
Un vélo dans la Cité, Independent mobile presentation of drawings on a cargo bicycle assisted by Michela Dumas along pedestrian lanes adjacent to the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (CIUP)
Babiche 1, Sculpture installation, Forum de la Cité, Maison internationale, CIUP, Paris
Europa, Live painting performance on the scene of Europa, Victor de Oliveira (dir.), Théâtre La Colline, Paris
Je suis peinture, Paintings, Independent exhibition, Centre culturel Mata Hari, Montreal
Montreal-Budapest, Paintings, Group exhibition, Galerie d’Arts Contemporains, Montreal
Anthropocène, Installation, Independent exhibition, Nuit Blanche, Galerie 514, Belgo Building, Montreal
Je ne peux vivre sans toit, Paintings, Independent exhibition in collaboration with the Journal L’Itinéraire
La dernière femme/The Last Woman, Drawings, Independent exhibition, Galerie 514, Belgo Building, Montreal
Re-Insitu, Paintings, Travelling group exhibition with Canadian Hungarian Artists Collective (CHAC)
Galerie Montcalm, Gatineau, Quebec (2012)
Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal, (2010)
Saint-John’s art Centre, Saint-John, New-Brunswick, (2010)
Muvészet Malom Szentendre, Budapest, Hungary, (2009)
Helikon Kastélymúzeum, Keszthely, Hungary ( 2009)
La face cachée de la géographie, Painting installation, 15th edition of Geo-art, Université de Montréal
Canada-Hongrie-Reflexions-Reflections-Canada-Hungary, Paintings, Stewart Hall Gallery, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
Tantramar Art Symposium, Documentary video, New-Brunswick
5 1/2 non chauffé, Performance with model, Duo exhibition with Nathalie Fontaine, Plateau Mont-Royal, Montreal
Du pain et des jeux, Installation and performance within the Inhabitation exhibition organized by eleven woman artists, Château Saint-Ambroise, Montreal
Faucheuse-conditionneuse, Painting installation, 18e Symposium international de la nouvelle peinture au Canada, Baie Saint-Paul, Bernard Paquet (dir.)
Millenium Hungaricum, Painting, Group exhibition, Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal
Visite libre, Painting installation, Group exhibition organized by the Gueule-de-loup artists collective, Alexander Building, Montreal
Œuvre à venir, Painting installation, Independent exhibition with poetry evening and dance, Belgo Building, Montreal
Invagination, Photography, Independent exhibition, Belgo Building, Montreal
Dessin au poil, Drawing environmental installation for Consensuel, a duo exhibition with Louise Simard, Belgo Building, Montreal
L’entrespace/The space between three, Photography, Group exhibition, Saidye Bronfman, Montreal, curator : Lucinda Catchlove
Follicules, Photography, a duo exhibition with Nathalie Fontaine, Belgo Building, Montreal
Symposium d’art gigantesque, Inflatable sculpture, a duo exhibition with Frédérick Desjardins, Waterloo, Quebec
4e Symposium d’art contemporain de la Maison Bleau, Painting installation, Group exhibition, Parc nature de la Pointe-aux-prairies, Montreal, curators: Anne-Marie Ninacs and Martin Boisseau