Biennale de l’image

An international contemporary art biennale devoted to the image.

The biennale takes place every two years since 1989. Its activities include exhibitions, public events, educational programs, artistic and social collaborations, and more. 

An exceptional rendezvous in Montréal’s most important museums, galleries and artist-run centres. 

Sensing Nature
17th edition
Sept–Oct 2021


April 27, 2020 Capture Photography Festival: “Art in the Age of Social Distancing” webinar

MOMENTA is proud to partner up with Capture Photography Festival and Canadian Art to present a talk in the form of a webinar by curator Cliff Lauson, on Thursday April 30 from 12pm to 1pm (PT) and from 3pm to 4pm (EDT)

In this illustrated talk, curator Cliff Lauson discusses the complex relationship between lens-based image culture and the ‘experience economy’. Recently, most countries around the world closed their borders and imposed lockdowns in response to the global pandemic. Cliff reflects on the condition of electronic mediation and the current extreme turn. For the time being, art and exhibitions can only be experienced through our devices and screens, testing the limits of our virtual sensibilities.

Dr. Cliff Lauson is Senior Curator at the Hayward Gallery, London, where he has organized major exhibitions including: Bridget Riley, Martin Creed, Ernesto Neto, Tracey Emin, Light Show and Space Shifters. He currently serves on the British Council Collection Acquisitions Advisory Committee, the Open Space Advisory Board, and is a trustee of Film and Video Umbrella. Lauson is also a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and a qualified coach.

👉 More information and registration

Image: Selfie via Nam June Paik’s Three Camera Participation, 1969.

April 2, 2020 Stefanie Hessler is appointed curator for MOMENTA 2021

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image is delighted to announce the appointment of Stefanie Hessler as curator for its 17th edition, which will take place in September and October 2021. Drawing on a theme titled Sensing Nature, curator Stefanie Hessler will explore earth systems as narrators of their own logic. The exhibitions, the publication, and all of the activities for the public will be organized around this theme.


The 2021 edition of MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, titled Sensing Nature, is informed by a desire to unsettle the divide between nature and its representation. The exhibitions will be guided by the works of artists deeply invested in decolonizing strategies and examining queer ecologies to reimagine environmental politics and notions of the natural. MOMENTA 2021 will work towards decentring the often-foregrounded Western human creator of knowledge about the natural world to make room for stories that dwell in the blurred boundaries between culture and nature, weaving in different forms of knowing, both human and nonhuman. Audacious and hopeful, these “other” stories propose a shift in perception toward the sensibility of earth systems as narrators of their own logic. In turning toward nature’s own enunciations, the biennale explores new, caring sensitivities.

The upcoming edition of MOMENTA proposes nature as a maker of images representing itself. Today, many depictions of nature are testimonials and elegies to the loss of biodiversity, the climate, and the myth of progress. They provide messy evidence of anthropogenic climate change introduced and sustained by capitalism and colonialism. Images are important in communicating this moment of planetary urgency. At the same time, images of presuppose the possibility of defining and speaking on behalf of an Other constructed as passive—be that nature, womxn, indigenous peoples, people of colour, queer communities, among others. To retire such narratives and conjure alternatives in art and beyond, different imaginaries are urgently needed.

When an image is extracted from the natural world, it is detached from its ecological, cultural, and spiritual entanglements. Aided by technologies of visibility, it becomes decontextualized and is often mobilized for political and economic interests. It tells certain stories, while the voices of indigenous peoples, people of colour, queer communities, and others often go unheard. Some images fade overnight, while others linger for years to shape perceptions. Similarly, water retains chemical spills for decades and radioactivity for millennia. Yet, exhausted soil can also regenerate. Like film registering light, nature is a matter through which stories are recorded and from which they emerge.

The artists in the biennale will trace and sense muddled worlds. They will be attuned to the time of geology, the textures of a coral, the perspective of a swallow, in order to fathom different futures. The exhibitions will probe the image as something more-than-visual, be it sound, taste, or smell. In doing so, the biennale hopes to calibrate visitors’ senses to the possibilities granted by speculative fictions in nature and through art. Sensing Nature longs for responsivity with planetary ecologies not as something to be represented, but as something that we are part of and “become with.”(1)

(1) This idea, elaborated by philosopher Gilles Deleuze and biologist Lynn Margulis, among others, proposes that identities are not fixed but constantly in the process of becoming. As such, we are not just becoming by ourselves, isolated; rather, we become with others, human and nonhuman beings.

About the curator

Stefanie Hessler (Germany) is a curator, writer, and editor. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary systems from an intersectional feminist perspective, with a focus on the ocean and other ecologies. Hessler is the director of Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway. Her recent curatorial projects include the exhibition “Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land II” at the Museo Thyssen in Madrid (2020); the 6th Athens Biennale (2018); and the symposium “Practices of Attention” at the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018). Between 2017–2019, she was a guest professor in art theory at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. Her book Prospecting Ocean was published by The MIT Press in 2019.

MOMENTA 2021 will encourage conversations, encounters, and exchanges initiated by a selection of artists from all over the world, with particular focus on artists from Quebec and Canada. Produced in collaboration with numerous exhibition partners, a thematic exhibition and many solo exhibitions will present the work of more than thirty artists in total. The exhibitions will be accompanied by a publication and an extended program of activities for the public.

Photo: Brittany Nelson

April 1, 2020 Call for submissions from Canadian artists

MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image launches its call for submissions from Canadian artists for its upcoming edition, which will take place in September and October 2021. Drawing on the theme Sensing Nature, proposed by curator Stefanie Hessler, the biennale’s 17th edition will present a wealth of exhibitions featuring the work of more than thirty artists from the local and national scenes as well as from elsewhere in the world.


The 2021 edition of MOMENTA | Biennale de l’image, titled Sensing Nature, is informed by a desire to unsettle the divide between nature and its representation. The exhibitions will be guided by the works of artists deeply invested in decolonizing strategies and examining queer ecologies to reimagine environmental politics and notions of the natural. MOMENTA 2021 will work towards decentring the often-foregrounded Western human creator of knowledge about the natural world to make room for stories that dwell in the blurred boundaries between culture and nature, weaving in different forms of knowing, both human and nonhuman. Audacious and hopeful, these “other” stories propose a shift in perception toward the sensibility of earth systems as narrators of their own logic. In turning toward nature’s own enunciations, the biennale explores new, caring sensitivities.  

Submission guidelines

We are soliciting only artists’ works that respond to the theme Sensing Nature. We are not seeking curatorial proposals. This call for submissions is addressed only to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Type of work being sought

We are looking for works by Canadian artists that explore the idea of nature representing itself and/or the various relationships between human beings and nature and that demonstrate their complexity. For the different exhibitions, we want to investigate a multiplicity of perspectives including, but not limited to, these types of perspectives: environmental crisis, decolonization, queer ecologies, ecofeminism, science-fiction, non-Western cosmologies, practices of care.

We are interested in works that employ photographic and videographic languages, which may take diverse forms such as installations, three-dimensional works, or experience-based works. We will favour newly produced works or works that haven’t been exhibited in the province of Québec and/or Montréal.

Submission instructions

Submissions must be sent by email only (in English or French), by no later than May 24 at 11:59 PM, to:

Submissions should include the following:

1. A short cover letter explaining how the submission relates to the theme (250 words maximum) in Word or PDF format.

2. An artist statement (100 words maximum) in Word or PDF format.

3. Visual supporting material, which may include:

– a maximum of 10 images (maximum 500 kb per image) in JPG (72 dpi, RGB colour mode) or PDF format. Images must be clearly identified and accompanied by a descriptive image spec sheet (title, date, medium, and dimensions).

– a link to your web page or other website featuring your work (if available). Do not send videos by email; instead, please provide a link in order to view your video(s) online.

4. A short CV (3 pages maximum) in Word or PDF format.

5. Your contact information (first and last name, mailing address, telephone, email address, website, country of birth, and country of residence). Artists submitting as a collective are asked to identify one participant as the project coordinator, and provide that person’s contact information.

Please note:

All submissions in compliance with the instructions described herein and received by the deadline will be carefully reviewed by the curator and MOMENTA. Since we receive a very large number of proposals, MOMENTA will contact only the applicants whose file has been selected.

All submissions must be sent by email only: any other unsolicited material sent to our offices will be neither viewed nor returned. MOMENTA and Stefanie Hessler are not responsible for unreadable, undelivered, or lost materials. Late submissions, incomplete proposals, and work unrelated to the theme will not be considered.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Download submission guidelines

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