Culture  Art in the devil’s image

This Friday, the Galerie de l’UQAM will be opening Diabolique – an ambitious attempt to measure the impact of violence and conflict on our society through art, boasting a 20-name-long cast of artists. Apparently inquisitive in tone, the exposition holds out on promising any answers to the crisis it seeks to stir in viewers. But considering the expanse and depth of the devil’s contemporary oeuvre, perhaps we shouldn’t expect it to.

Curator Amanda Cachia, however, seems to have recognized the advantage in selecting a theme this universal, as Diabolique is visibly unconstrained in its choice of artists. From celebrated aboriginal artist Rebecca Belmore to Britart luminaries Jake and Dinos Chapman, the collection seems unhindered by concerns over consistency in medium, region, or style. So much the better: should the exposition succeed in upsetting our idées reçues on humanity’s capacity for violence, it will be indebted to the curator’s expansive sampling of modern art to reveal the universality of this theme.

On display until February 13, Diabolique promises to deliver a deeply disturbing, personal meditation on humanity’s violent impulses – crucially, without appealing to sensationalism. When art gets this bleak, one is even tempted to turn to the news for hope.

Diabolique is showing at the Galerie de l’UQAM in the Judith-Jasmin building (J-R120, 1400 Berri). Visit galerie.uqam.ca for more information.