Les Territoires


December 17, 2013 — Don’t be fooled by the heavy wooden doors at the entrance to this gallery on the fifth floor of the Belgo Building, a hive of Montréal contemporary art. This isn’t an antique dealership; on the contrary, Les Territoires is devoted to the creators of tomorrow.

Neither an artists’ centre nor a commercial gallery, Les Territoires is unique. Created in 2008 with the express purpose of supporting emerging artists, it runs at a faster pace than others, with three-week shows instead of five, allowing more artists to show their work.

Destiny works in strange ways; even the saddest events can lead to new life. Following the death in late 2007 of the “flamboyant and eccentric” (as Les Territoires describes her) gallery owner Thérèse Dion, Les Territoires was founded in her memory and in her former gallery by some of her young protégés, whom she considered “the children she never had.”

Since their opening, Les Territoires has probably brought more artists to light than any other gallery, including the autonomous artists’ centres. Much of the programming takes place in cooperation with MAPPE, a mentoring program for “professionals with emerging practices,” meaning artists who have been working for less than six years.

Thérèse Dion had a notable penchant for contemporary photography, as might be expected with names such as Chih-Chien Wang, Josée Pedneault, and Jessica Auer among the founders of the new gallery. But while photography might have a special place here, there are no hard and fast limits. The huge doors of Les Territoires are open, and that’s how they’ll stay.