Mirror Tell Me…

5 March 2016


“The mirror lays in wait, it is not new, and the silver backing has started to peel off. A person passes by, and stops, looking for the truth of the moment. The images come and go, but there is a subtle shift, always, as shadows and light and faces and forms recast the reflections. There is a built-in retention of the passing images…”

Mirror Project- Ongoing

22 February 2016

In my most recent series,  a pair of identical round mirrors reminded me of the two portholes inside my family’s cabin when crossing the Atlantic coming back from Germany. My childhood memories of a huge storm, seen from those two round windows, serve as a reference to inform a body of work reflecting issues of our present times. In these explorations, I investigate how the history of a found object, personal stories, and collective awareness intersect in a reconstruction that creates new imagery.

Dumas_Denise_1Black Sea. 2016. Diptych. (39 1/2 X 39 1/2 inches). Silver mirror transfer and white Conte on resin.


In my recent series I extract the silver backings of old mirrors to expose the spirits of the mirrors. I start with the premise that the silver mirror backings have absorbed the energy of the people who looked into the mirrors and that, like old photographic silver processes, this “film” contains information that can be revealed.

During my residency at the MacDowell Colony some of the fellow residents offered to model for me. I photographed or filmed their images on the modulated surface of an old mirror’s silver transfer. I call this mirror transfer “The Seer” for its ability to create Rorschach images where many different characters emerged from each model’s performance.

For this project ”Mirror Tell Me” I created a context in which my role was simply to record the mirror transfer’s aesthetic. The material I have collected from these mirrors now serves as a basis to further develop the video and sculptural components of the work in an installation format.




article de presse-revue Espace

Cliquez sur la photo pour ouvrir/ click on picture to open

_MGL6138Photo Guy L'HeureuxPartial view of installation Mutherer. 2014                                  Photo Guy l’Heureux

_MGL6201Photo Guy L'HeureuxDetail of Je me souviens (I remember)                                      Photo Guy l’Heureux

_MGL6185Photo Guy L'HeureuxJe me souviens (I Remember) and video projection 2011-13.      Photo Guy l’Heureux

_MGL6220Photo Guy L'Heureux - Version 2Cette nuit là (That Night). 2011-13                                           Photo Guy l’Heureux

_MGL6180Photo Guy L'HeureuxLa mariée (The Bride). 2012-13                                              Photo Guy L’Heureux

ViolinPleinSud copyLe violon qui ne joue pas (The Violin That Doesn’t Play) 2013.     Photo Denise Dumas

Spiroirs3Projector and Spiroirs. 2013                                                     Photo Denise Dumas


INSTALLATION Presented at/Présentée à Plein Sud

January 25- March 1 2014
25 Janvier- 1 Mars 2014
150, de Gentilly East, local D-0626
Longueuil (Québec)
(450) 679-4480
Opening reception February 15 (3:00 – 5:00 p.m.)
Vernissage 15 Février (15 h – 17 h)
The installation is composed of two complex of works, Mutherer (Two or Three Things I Know About Her) and Family.
Mutherer (Two or Three Things I Know About Her)
Installation, sculpture and video projection

Mutherer suggests to be free of inherited patterns and imprints which inhibit creativity.

A mirrored dressing table is the origin of an unfolding family of events. Domestic furniture is dissected to recreate new entities from the experience and free association of the meaning of “Mother”. The different elements exhibited form a sequence of cause and effect which reveal the inherent logic contained within the exhibition.


Painted on three wall panels the contour of the initial mirror-dresser used for Mutherer is then divided into individual elements, and recomposed to form a mural.

more: http://dumastudio.com/


L’installation comprend deux complexes d’oeuvres: Mutherer (Deux ou Trois Choses Que Je Sais d’Elle) et Famille


Installation, sculptures et projection vidéo.

Mutherer suggère, psychologiquement parlant, l’idée de s’affranchir des appris qui peuvent inhiber la créativité.

Une ancienne commode/vanité est à l’origine d’un corpus d’œuvres qui forment une famille d’objets hétéroclites. Ceux-ci sont le résultat du démantèlement du meuble, de sa recomposition en plusieurs éléments distincts, et d’associations d’idées liées à l’idée de la mère/matrice.  Les différentes composantes de l’œuvre forment une séquence de causes et effets qui suggère qu’il y a une logique inhérente contenue à l’intérieur de ce petit système.


Peint sur trois panneaux muraux, le contour de la commode-vanité à l’origine de Mutherer est alors divisée en éléments distincts, et recomposée pour former une murale.

plus:    http://dumastudio.com/



Review on Akimblog- by Stacey De Wolfe


Just up the street from the MAC at Circa, Denise Dumas’s Waves speaks to some of the same themes explored in Yesterday’s Tomorrows, in particular, to Iñigo-Manglano Ovalle’s film Le Baiser/The Kiss, with its exploration of Mies van der Rohe’s famously unlivable Farnsworth House. According to legend, the house’s original owner was too uncomfortable to actually live in the house because its glass-walled structure made for too much interaction with the always encroaching natural environment. Dumas’ multi-media work also seems concerned with the impact that external elements have on the personal realm, as her table, the heart of domestic life, is continuously intruded upon by the natural world and its forces. But unlike Ovalle’s work, which populates the screen with figures who narrate the story with their actions – a distancing effect that serves to emphasize the fact that because the private is made public, it loses that which makes it private and personal in the first place – Dumas’ empty chairs seem to invite the spectator to imagine themselves in the work.

Stacey DeWolfe is a Montreal filmmaker and teacher. She has written for C Magazine and is the arts writer for the Montreal Mirror

Video of installation “Make a Wish” :


And video accompanying the Sculpture “Theatre-Trunk” in the installation “Borderline”:



13 May 2010

Sea wave projections animate the table panels, and we hear the sound of the ocean. Two chairs invite the spectator to sit and become part of the installation.

Presented  at Centre d’Exposition CIRCA

May 22nd- June 19th, 2010

372 Rue Ste-Catherine West
Montreal, QC
(514) 393-8248

Sculpture, video and sound

This installation is a visual poem I offer you, so you can let yourself float with the waves. Take your time, walk around, sit down and imagine you are at the theatre. You are both spectator and actor. I share my story because I am asked to tell ; but it is your own story that will speak to you.

Waves/Vagues is inspired by the climate of fear and insecurity prevailing in the USA these days. Whether politically, socially, ecologically or economically, there is always a crisis. The tension is palpable, and I question how this unsettling context affects our daily lives. Beyond the particular social and contextual circumstances, which inform this project, underlie cultural identity issues. Living within the culture and the language of the other means that we are divided, so we become observers, translators, and we compare. Why is it that in Quebec, we do not feel the American stress? Is it that the wave hasn’t yet crossed the border?

The tension of duality is a recurrent theme in my work. Being a twin plays a role in the origin of this desire for TWO. The installation’s dynamic is based on the idea of a dividing line. Combined with the displacement of the familiar, where sea waves animate the surfaces of an over-stretched kitchen table, illusion and reality are orchestrated to challenge our perception. Being the core of the display, the dividing plane operates as an imaginary mirror, where the illusion of perfect synchronicity only lasts a moment, depending on the point of view.


Sculpture, vidéo et bande sonore

L’œuvre est un poème visuel que je te donne à voir spectateur, pour que tu te laisses porter par les vagues. Prends ton temps, circule, assieds-toi et imagine que tu es au théâtre. Tu es spectateur et acteur. Mon histoire n’est qu’un point de référence, que je partage parce qu’on me demande de dire ; mais c’est ton histoire à toi qui te parlera.

Vagues/Waves s’inspire du climat aigu d’instabilité et d’insécurité que nous vivons présentement aux États-Unis. Que ce soit au niveau social, politique, écologique ou économique, rien ne va plus, la tension est palpable, et je questionne comment se traduit ce climat de crise dans nos vies. Au-delà des circonstances sociales/contextuelles particulières qui informent ce projet, s’ajoutent, en trame de fond, le fait de l’identité culturelle  et le rapport à l’autre. Vivre dans la culture et dans la langue de l’autre, c’est se diviser; on devient observateur, traducteur, et on compare. Pourquoi, au Québec, on ne ressent pas ce stress américain ? La vague n’a pas traversé la frontière ?

La tension des polarités est un thème récurent dans mon travail. Ma gémellité joue un rôle dans ce désir du DEUX. Dans l’installation, la dynamique opère à partir d’une ligne de division et du déplacement de ce qui est familier, où des vagues animent les surfaces d’une table de cuisine séparée et étirée au maximum. Illusion et réalité sont orchestrées de façon à défier notre perception. Placé au centre, le plan qui divise le dispositif en deux crée un effet miroir où l’illusion de parfaite synchronicité ne dure qu’un moment, tout dépend du point de vue.

Make a Wish

2 December 2009

A three channel video, sound and sculpture installation.

The project is composed of: three 46 inches galvanized steel rings on the floor, 12 inches high, which suggest containers to collect rain from a leaking roof. They are also projection surfaces with mirrors adjusted to reflect images from digital projectors above each container. A reflective wall piece titled “In Control” serves as a counterpoint to the chaos and echoes the domestic theme.

Three video sequences are synchronized to form a loop of 8 minutes and 15 seconds apiece, where rain and thunder form the continuous background we hear and see. A different event appears in each container: Waves shows coffee being stirred while radio extracts list the words most heard on the news since the events of 9.11; Economist Soup deals with social turmoil and the difficulty of assimilating all that is happening; and Maison uses a child’s nightmare of a house being flooded and invaded by sharks as a symbol to combine recent economic and ecologic events.

Images of Installation

Presented @ Gallery 119, Lowell, MA. Oct-Nov. 2009

Partial view of installation

Stills of video projection sequence 1. Waves

Stills from video projection, sequence 2. Economist Soup

Stills from video projection, sequence 3. Maison

Wall piece: In Control...


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.