Michelle Lacombe

Bartolo di Fredi’s Bloody Gash; La césarienne et la chute de l’homme

[English] [français]

Plein sud scholarship 2015 laureate

May 21 to June 25, 2016
Thursday May 26, at 7:00 p.m.

Opening, launch of a publication by Natalie S. Loveless and unveiling of the recipient of the 2016 Bourse Plein Sud

La césarienne et la chute de l’homme is a feminist reproduction of Bartolo di Fredi’s The Creation of Eve (1356-67). Part of a series of frescos in the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Tuscany, the painting depicts a God-like figure blessing with his right hand while, with the other, he guides the Christian biblical figure of Eve as she emerges, fully grown, from an open gash on the side of Adam’s torso. This painting is one of the few works within the Western canon of art history that represents the creation of woman corporeally rather than allegorically. As such, the fresco— and more specifically the physical intervention depicted in it—informs a new body art work around which the exhibition is built.

Purposefully minimalist, the installation presented at Plein sud reduces the original painting to its key symbolic elements as a means of compromising its narrative. By reproducing the illustrated gash on a real and cis-gendered female body (the artist’s), the incision is re-contextualized so as to reference early caesarian operations, thus expanding the painting’s original reading to simultaneously address both religious and medicalized forms of life-creation. So, while marking the female body with two dominant forms of institutionalized appropriation of female reproduction, the work also generates a gap in which a feminist re-reading of the original image can occur.

Characterized by a radical and committed return to the subjective female body, La césarienne et la chute de l’homme uses corporeal modification as a strategy to confuse the boundaries between a body and its references, underscoring the artist’s embodied relationship to cultural histories of reproduction and creation.

Communications : plein-sud@plein-sud.org / (450) 679-2966


Michelle Lacombe (Montreal, QC) has developed a unique body-based practice since obtaining her BFA from Concordia University in 2006. Her work has been shown in Canada, the USA, and Europe in the context of performance events, exhibitions, and colloquiums. Her practice as an artist is paralleled by a strong commitment to supporting the development of critical and alternative models of dissemination for live art and undisciplined practices. She is currently the director of VIVA! Art Action.

Michelle Lacombe is the winner of the Plein sud 2015 scholarship, following a jury which met on May 22, 2015, and composed of Bernard Lamarche, curator at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and Anne-Marie St- Jean Aubre, independent curator.

Web site


Natalie S. Loveless
Michelle Lacombe : Bartolo di Fredi’s Bloody Gash
Longueuil : Plein sud, centre d’exposition en art actuel
2016, papier plié


The artists would like to thank her mother, as well as Azl Golanski, Jeremy Gordaneer, Christian Bujold, Laurence Poirier, Dr. Stephen Nicolaidis, Eveline Lupien and House9 Design for their contributions to the work.