September 9 – October 28, 2023
Opening reception: Saturday, September 9, 2023 from 3 to 5 pm
Karine Payette: Adaptation
MOMENTA Biennale de l’image Satelite Program

Text by Vania Djelani

Through a variety of structural and wall-hanged pieces, Karine Payette’s Adaptation examines how changes in the environment can begin to have an impact on our physical existence. Elements of nature, the built environment, animals, and human presence are displayed as a way to address the symbiotic relationship we have with our surroundings, while simultaneously challenging our intuition and observation. Central to the exhibition is Payette’s incorporation of various organisms and how they adapt their appearances to acclimate to the environment. Just as leaf beetles use their brightly coloured patterns to blend into the surrounding, or the angle shades of a moth makes it hard for birds to detect them in grasslands, Payette applies a similar visual rhetoric towards the human body.

Posed in numerous grasping positions, Payette’s silicone hands become imaginative hybrids exploring an act of transformation. As a butterfly lands on our hand, or insects crawl over our skin, Payette extends the organism’s physical characteristics to the surface of the skin in order to reveal or conceal the body. The meticulously painted and detailed textures manifesting over the impacted surface allows for reflections on the way that humans can adapt to the environment for a change. Acting as ambiguous objects, Payette’s assemblages seamlessly blend into one another under notions of camouflage, disguise, and mimicry.

The cohabitation between humans and animals is also seen in the way Payette brings together elements from the domestic environment into Adaptation. The animals that are placed over the chairs, tables, or carpet scattered throughout the exhibition space appear as an accessory, or an extension to the furniture. Bringing further attention on the impact humans have on the domestication of animals, the disregarded bag of fish and the video installation of hands manipulating the form of a bird, draws attention to the fragility that can exist within this coexistence. The term ‘handle with care’ immediately comes to mind when examining the dilemma around companionship and ownership by adopting the natural world into the built environment.

As Payette plays with materiality and form, Adaptation further addresses the progression from looking to recognizing. In composing a series of photographs, sculptures and a video installation, Payette creates sensibility through design in order to grab our attention.