Carl Trahan

Born in Montreal, Carl Trahan’s work has dealt with language and interlanguage, transposing ideas and concepts regarding translations into visual art. He is particularly interested in the very movement of translation, as described by Antoine Berman, a movement starting from the same (the known, the daily, the familiar) to go abroad (the unknown, the marvelous, the Unheimliche). The impossibility of obtaining a perfect double in this process leads him to reflect on the image and its reproduction as well as on the part of creation implied by this process of transcoding. He regularly uses drawing in his practice - with the intention, in particular, of making reconciliations with writing - but also uses other techniques, including neon, object and installation. Starting in 2011, he introduces a historical dimension to his work, which takes a look at the dark past of Europe. If, for example, he is interested in National Socialism and fascism and their origins in the nineteenth century, his most recent corpus concerns the period between the beginning of the second industrial revolution and the First World War World.

Carl Trahan has regularly exhibited his solo and group work since the mid-1990s. He has participated in group exhibitions in Rome, Berlin, Toronto and Créteil (France). He has several residencies of artist to his credit, among others in Rome, in Paris, in Berlin as well as in Espoo, in Finland. He lived in Berlin for more than seven years.

Selected Artworks

+ CV

Born in Montréal (QC)

Lives and works in Montréal (QC)


1994 - MFA, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal (QC)

1988 - BFA, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal (QC)


2012 - Studio du Québec à Rome, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

2007 - Studio du Québec à Paris, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

2006 - Sagamie, centre de recherche et de diffusion en arts contemporains numériques, Alma (QC)

2005 - Pilotprojekt Gropiusstadt, Kulturnetzwerk Neukölln, Berlin, Germany

2005 - Atelier de la Fondation finlandaise de résidences d’artistes, Espoo, Finland

2003 - Le Lobe, Chicoutimi (QC)

2002 - Vaste et Vague, Carleton-sur-mer (QC)

2001 - L’Écart, Rouyn-Noranda (QC)


2016 - Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec

1996 - 2014
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec

1999 - 2014 Conseil des arts du Canada

2005 - Goethe-Institut Scholarship


2017 - Sherry Simon, Carl Trahan et al. Vers Libres (Projet Écritures Publiques du centre Dare-dare), Éditions du Noroît et Dare-dare, 2017, Montreal

2017 - Bernard Lamarche, Mathilde Bois, Parce qu’il y a la nuit/Because There is Night, MNBAQ

2016 - Bernard Schütze, L’ombre des mots, Spirale, no 258, Fall 2016,

2016 - Charles Guilbert, Éthique de l’agencement, Ciel Variable , no 104, Fall 2016

2015 - Marie Lavorel, Notte elettrica, 2015, Montreal

2012 - Nicolas Mavrikakis, Ordre et discipline, Le Devoir, December 19 2012, Montreal

2014 - Excerpt of labêteélémentaire (presented at Dare-dare in 2013) published in Esse no 82, Fall 2014, p. 64-71.

2014 - Sherry Simon, Against Translation : Quebec and the Charter of Values, Modern Horizons (Internet), no. Translation and Transcendence / La traduction et la transcendance, July 2014.

2013 - Quatre dessins de la série 7 (les mots les plus terribles du national-socialisme), HB, no. 2, September 2013, Montreal, p. 8-11

2012 - Nicola Kuhn, quatre dessins de la série 7 (les mots les plus terribles du national socialisme), Mehr Berlin, Tagesspiegel, March 10, Berlin p. 1

2009 - Jérôme Delgado, Des mille usages du Cahier Canada, Le Devoir, September 13 2009, Montreal, p. E8

2008 - Carl Trahan et al., Art Gallery of York University (Toronto), 2008, Dir. : Carla Zaccagnini.

2008 - Carl Trahan et al.,text published in Decentre. Concerning artist-run culture / à propos de centres d’artistes. YYZBOOKS, Toronto, 2008

2006 - Trois dessins de la série finnoise, published in Esse, Spring - Summer 2006, p. 26-28

2005 - Dir. : U. Jonas et B. Schumacher, Pilotprojekt Gropiusstadt — Jahrbuch 2005, 2006, Berlin, p. 16-17

2002 - Nicolas Mavrikakis, L’uniforme discret de la masculinité, Voir, November 7 2002, p.62-63

2002 - Jérôme Delgado, Travailleurs au chantier, La Presse, November 3 2002, Montreal, p.E7

2002 - Lyne Crevier, Hommes au travail, ICI, October 31 2002, Montreal, p. 33

2002 - Lyne Crevier, Paroles, paroles…, ICI, 14 février 2002, Montreal, p. 39

2002 - Jérôme Delgado, Indéchiffrable et pourtant, La Presse, January 19 2002, Montreal, p.D6

1998 - Anne-Marie Ninacs, Esthétique de l’abjection, Skol : Livret de programmation 1997- 1998, Centre des arts actuels Skol, Montreal, feuillet no 8

1998 - Réjean Bernard Cormier, Existentialisme comestible et abject, ETC n.43, Montréal, Fall 1998, p. 42-43

1998 - Bernard Lamarche, Affaires d’humeurs, Le Devoir, April 4 1998, Montreal, p. D9

1998 - Stéphane Aquin, Le Théâtre de la dégoulinure, Voir, April 2 1998, Montreal, p. 50

1996 - Sandrine Martinet, Des expositions sous-verre, Esse, Arts+opinions, été-automne 1996, no 29, Montreal, p. 7-14

1996 - Corneil Van der Spek, Out of body experience, XTRA!, no 297, March 14 1996, Toronto, p. 26

1996 - Lisa Gabrielle Mark, Bill Crane, Kelly Mark, Carl Trahan, Mercer Union, Toronto

1996 - Yves Théoret, Itinéraires urbains, Skol : Livret de programmation 1995-1996, Centre des arts actuels Skol, Montreal, p. 24-26

1995 - Francis Blanchard, Carl Trahan, Art et écriture : communications « perverses », Skol : Livret de programmation 1994-1995, Centre des arts actuels Skol, Montreal, p. 11-12

1995 - Yvan Moreau, Les Confessions perverses, ETC no 29, Montreal, Spring 1995, p. 34-35

+ Solo Exhibitions

Because There Is Night, curated by Bernard Lamarche, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Québec (QC)

2015 – …. . / -. . .-. …- — ..- … / .- –. . (The Nervous Age), Battat Contemporary, Montréal (QC)

2014 - Notte elettrica, AXENÉO7, Gatineau (QC)

2013 - labêteélémentaire, Dare-dare (écritures publiques), Montréal (QC)

2012 - Tous les mots nécessaires, Galerie articule, Montréal (QC)

2008 - Le langage et son double, Galerie l’Œil de Poisson, Québec (QC)

2008 - Deux mots sur le mot, Galerie Verticale, Laval (QC)

2004 - Construction (Work Title), Eastern Edge, Saint-John’s (NL)

2003 - 24/7, Le Lobe, Chicoutimi (QC)

2002 - Travailleurs / Arbeiter et Job Site, Galerie Clark, Montréal (QC)

2002 - Pour la forme, Vaste et Vague, Carleton-sur-mer (QC)

2002 - Kak eta skazat?, Galerie Optica, Montréal (QC)

2001 - Du geste, mur à mur, L’Écart, Rouyn-Noranda (QC)

1998 - Objets abjects — et gestes grotesques, Centre des arts actuels Skol, Montréal (QC)

1997 - S’Étranger, Galerie Clark, Montréal (QC)

1994 - Les Confessions perverses, Centre des arts actuels Skol, Montréal (QC)

+ Group Exhibitions

2016 - Jérôme, le saint, curated by Andrée Matte, Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides, Saint-Jérôme, Québec, Canada

2015 - EXPOTYPO, curated by Sébastien Dulude, Centre d’exposition Raymond-Lasnier, Trois-Rivières, Québec (QC)

2013 - Coming to Terms, curated by John G Hampton, Jackman Humanities Institut in collaboration with Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto (ON)

2013 - Dire quasi la stessa cosa / Carl Trahan, Afterall, Øystein Wyller, curated by Elena Abbiatici & Valentina G. Levy, Label201, Rome, Italy

2012 - From the Age of the Poets, Aanant & Zoo, Berlin, Germany

2012 - Die weiße Residenz – Künstlerische Fotografien der Gropiusstadt 2002 – 2012, Gemeinschaftshaus Gropiusstadt, Berlin, Germany

2009 - L’œil de l’art vers l’Allemagne, Centre Madeleine Rebérioux, Créteil, France

2009 - PEUT MIEUX FAIRE – Cahiers d’exercices, curated by Emmanuel Galland, Atelier Punkt, Montreal (QC)

2008 - Everybody knows this is nowhere, curated by Marc Wellmann & David Keating, Galerie Wendt + Friedmann, Berlin, Germany

2008 - The Unfair Fair, curated by Cecilia Canziani & Vincent Honoré (1 : 1 projects), Loto Arte, Rome, Italy

2007 - Beyond Feminism, Parisian Laundry, Montréal (QC)

2003 - Nebengeräusche, Kunsthaus Dresden, in collaboration with berliner duet PP (D-L Alvarez & Gwenaël Rattke, Dresden, Germany

1997 - Buffet (All you can eat), curated by Andrew Harwood, A Space, Toronto (ON)

1996 - Bill Crane, Kelly Mark, Carl Trahan, Mercer Union, Toronto (ON)