Isabelle Hayeur

Born in Montreal in 1969, Isabelle Hayeur is a digital image artist recognized for her large-sized photographic montages, her videos, and her site-specific installations, in which she highlights urban blights and sprawl, among a number of industrial society's pitfalls.

Hayeur's childhood in the Montreal suburb of Bois-des-Filion has had a lasting impact on her artistic practice. As in many peripheral towns in Quebec, and more generally in the industrialized world, the landscape there has been subject to perpetual transformation. In her works, she is interested in the state of those territories, altered as they are by the array of technology at man's disposal. Such powerful technical means reconstruct landscapes and, through a feedback effect, fashion human identity in turn.

Effecting a reversal of the technocratic ideology driving these processes, Isabelle Hayeur uses digital imaging technologies and puts together new landscapes made from pictures of the above-mentioned territories. If the resulting image feels as familiar as the environments surrounding us, the process on the other hand reveals the flaws inherent in our ways of dwelling in the world, by questioning industrial society's subjugation of territories to their needs. With her seamlessly Photoshopped images, she subverts the tradition of landscape photography. Her naturalistic images are often complex composites of many photographs, prompting us to look closer at what is real or synthetic, both in her technique and in the habitats she explores.

Isabelle Hayeur's first works dealt in particular with built landscapes and the transformations undergone by "nature" sites with series such as Uncertain landscapes (1998 - 2002). From 2003 to 2008, she created many new bodies of works in which she came to take a more definite intellectual stance on a political level. In 2008, Hayeur started exploring waterways. She traveled through North America to document submerged environments of all kinds, especially in altered sites. Using a camera encased in a watertight housing, she tracked our impact on rivers, lakes, and oceans, plunging us into the fragile ecosystems on which we depend.

Isabelle Hayeur's works have been widely shown. She participated in many major public shows, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in Berlin, the Tampa Museum of Art and Akbank Sanat in Istanbul. In 2006, a first retrospective exhibition was devoted to Hayeur by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Oakville Galleries. That same year, she took part in the Arles Rencontres internationales de la photographie. Hayeur also did many artist residencies. In 2014, she was artist-in-residence at The Robert Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island (FL).

Her works are to be found in some twenty collections, including those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Fonds national d'art contemporain in Paris, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago.