Fragments and Tapestries: Myriam Dion at Division Montréal
by Anna Kovler
The news comes in fragments. You scroll through social media. A headline announcing a shooting or mass displacement is followed by photos of a friend’s babies. There are invites to concerts, events, art openings. The radio reports the world’s news in two-minute sound bites. Newspapers left on the subway are moved from seat to seat, examined quickly by commuters between stops before settling on the floor in torn and trampled heaps. Photographs of war and disasters are copied on thin paper, shared, and quickly forgotten as the tidal wave of imagery rolls forward.
Myriam Dion cuts into newspapers for her collages, transforming them from disposable objects into intricate lace-work. For her current show at Division Gallery, she utilizes recent coverage of the war in Syria from major newspapers. Using an X-Acto knife, she cuts thousands of tiny teardrop holes into several sheets of the same newspaper page, layering the pages to create a mosaic, patterned design. These fragmented images show men, women, and children standing in crowds, packed on lifeboats, holding help signs. The resulting effect turns commonplace newspapers into long, horizontal tapestries, rich in diamond and triangle shapes common with Syrian prayer rugs. Along the edges, the tapestry appears to be fraying.
Commenting on the disposable nature of news images, the loss of cultural objects as a result of war, and the actions of companies like IKEA who is currently planning to sell a line of rugs made by Syrian refugees, Dion’s newspaper collages act as both an archive and a reminder. Her intervention makes images of war more solid, but also harder to recognize, highlighting the privilege of being far away from conflict zones, and revealing our own participation as consumers of fast, disposable news.
Myriam Dion’s exhibition “Fragments” is on view at Division Gallery in Montréal from September 21 to November 11, 2017.