Co-design and scenography
In the fall of 2009, the first major retrospective of the works of John William Waterhouse (1849-1917), the modern pre-raphaelite, was presented in it’s first and only North American stop. Receiving nearly 90,000 visitors and an excellent critical reception, the exhibition was organized by the Groninger Museum, from the Netherlands, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.
This particular exhibition included some fifty paintings from the finest and most impressive produced by the painter, and especially for the first time gathered here, in Montreal, were the three versions of the iconic Lady of Shalott.
The links between literature and poetry, theatre and history, mythological and chivalric legends widely inspired the painter. Feminine beauty is central to the work of Waterhouse. The woman that Waterhouse wants to liberate from the stifling Victorian society, is a strong figure: theatrical, and often bewitching. Versing into symbolism, between spiritualism and occultism, this body of work travels across time.
Two Montreal female creators, consciously influenced by Waterhouse, Nathalie Claude, theatre director and actress, and Melissa Auf der Maur, rock singer and bass player (Hole, Smashing Pumpkins) served as vectors and interpreters of his art.
Thus, the exhibition was enriched with a stage direction—unanimously praised—under the witchy spells of Nathalie Claude and co-designed with her theatre accomplice Raymond Marius Boucher, scenographer. Together they developed this somber, mystic, and theatrical setting; while the film Out of Our Minds (OOOM) by Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone was presented for it’s Canadian premiere after the Sundance Festival, as the modern epilogue to this exhibition.
Co design and scenography: Nathalie Claude and Raymond Marius Boucher
Light design: Lucie Bazzo
Presented from October 2, 2009 to February 7, 2010—Montreal Museum of Fine Arts