INTERVIEW: Eve Tagny

Location: Montreal

Website: https://evetagny.tumblr.com/

Instagram: @eve.t_eve.t

In time, Eve Tagny, In Time, Video Still, Single-Channel video, 33 minutes 57 sec. 2020, Photo: Paul Litherland

Where does your interest in documentary film and journalism come from? Who inspires you in this medium?


I was quite a film buff throughout high school. I think, as for many people, movies provided a sanctuary and an escape for my teenage self. I went into filmmaking programs in Cégep and University and naturally turned towards documentary as a form that can bridge storytelling,

social commitment and a poetic interpretation of the everyday. I reckon my practice is still constructed that way — weaving fragments of reality into imagined contexts that allow for poetic

interpretations that can exist outside of the limitations of learned language.


Your work, specifically the work from your show Condolere Sanctuaries, demonstrates restraint and careful consideration of what you share and what you hint at. How do you balance this juxtaposition?


Yes it’s a delicate balance when working with material that stems from intimacy or personal experience. You have to think of the ways the personal is collective or can be “universal” without erasing specificity of context, identity and history. I ask myself what it is that I want to put forward in service of certain themes and what is best left out to leave space to the viewer/the person engaging with the proposition. Having a practice that weaves fragments and “hints” has been useful for me when working with themes of grief and renewal. It helps to situate these processes as requiring attentiveness, slowness as well as physical, emotional and spiritual labor. And as a general rule, everyone should consider how vulnerable they are prepared to be; many people whose living experiences are being marginalized know the importance of withholding for self-preservation and self-keeping.


Condolere, Eve Tagny, Condolere Sanctuaries, installation view from Centre Clark, 2020. Photo: Paul Litherland.

Can you describe your studio routine?


I’m currently out of a studio and I’ve been working mostly from home since the pandemic hit here in Montreal. I’m not much of a routine person, I slowly rise in the mid-morning, make a to do list for the day and get going, often until late in the evening or the night, depending on what occupies me in the moment. I miss having a studio a lot at the moment, having a working space outside of our living space is so helpful.


Sound, light, and texture work together to tell a story in your practice. What is it about the senses that can be so effective at telling a complete narrative?


This question takes us back to what I mentioned earlier: if committed to do so, artistic propositions can alleviate limitations of language and vocabulary, can touch on the unspeakable, can offer entry points to countless topics and aspects of lived experience that stand outside of systems of oppressions. The poetics of art can create spaces outside of normal time, outside of normal perceptions, normal behaviours, normal codes of conducts, outside of normativity. I think it’s a very beautiful thing, this desire we have to expend our perceptions and horizons through a strangers creative sensibility.



Garden's history, Eve Tagny, The Garden's History, Video Still, Single-Channel video, 7 minutes 53 sec. 2020, Photo: Paul Litherland

If you could collaborate with any other artist in the world, who would it be?


I just completed a collaborative project with South African artist Io Makandal and I’m currently pursuing one with Leeds (UK) based artist Emii Alrai and I must say that I feel like I struck gold in terms of collaborators. But if I go with the “fantasy world” answer, I would love to receive the mentorship and teachings of artists I admire immensely such as Dineo Seshee Bopape, Kapwani Kiwanga or Ebony G. Patterson.


Adobe wall, Eve Tagny, Condolere Sanctuaries, installation view from Centre Clark, 2020. Photo: Paul Litherland.

What's next for your artistic practice?


I’m trying to carve time for a research phase where I’m learning more about gardens, landscape, colonial botany, commodified nature and weeds. I’m also hoping to work increasingly in collaboration and focus on projects that make space for relationship building. My next exhibition will take place in the spring, at Franz Kaka, in Toronto.