In spite of himself, Numa, artist dedicated

Malgré lui, Numa, artiste consacré

Image: Courtesy of Numa Amun
Numa Amun, “the Green roof of the church’ (Citadel of the senses 2007-2009), color ink, painted on paper, and “Connection”, 2009

Numa. Her first name calls for originality. The (fake) name, Amun, adds. Numa Amun, with this palindrome as an identity, is one of the painters the most singular of contemporary art in quebec. One of the most mysterious. And voluntarily rare : the choice of a long creative process allowed him to expose that five times in fifteen years.

“I made some losses in my life. Not the career, not the recognition. There, I have a recognition to which I was not expecting, ” says the third Prize winner in the contemporary art of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), an award with multiple components (exhibition, publication, acquisition of work, scholarship) assigned for 2014.

The press release from the Museum talking about the price for the ” new talent québécois “. Numa Amun practice since… 20 years. When the artist is said to have been the loss of a career, it is that siena is built on the margin of the usual channels, outside of the traffic to the scholarships, the creation residencies, artists ‘ centres, galleries…

Its rhythm is different also : one table per year and never a commitment to expose as the series is not complete. Numa seeks to answer concerns from the market or the tastes of the time. The contemporary art world draws him little if it is to do so in thearty and in the complacency. The please and congratulations ? No, thank you.

Malgré lui, Numa, artiste consacré

Photo: MNBAQ
“I made some losses in my life. Not the career, not the recognition. There, I have a recognition to which I was not expecting,” said Numa Amun.

“The artists are on the highway and, in the distance, they see the city. It is the recognition. For me, it’s been a long time that I parked my car on the side of the highway. And I walk away. I don’t know if I’m going to go to town, but the view is more beautiful and interesting. With more drama, ” says the artist from Montreal, for which the exhibition and the publication of the MNBAQ, expected in 2019, will be his first solo in a museum.

The city is only a few strides.

Eros, the God and the eye

The time is not an issue for the artist, for which each table is built the old way, without the aid of a projector and especially computer. Even at the time of setting the tile, this old technique that allows you to reproduce, enlarge or reduce an image based on a grid, Numa works of his own hands.

The idea is not to impress, although the result may be surprising. His compositions and optical almost monochrome explore erotic themes, liturgical, and humanists, juxtaposing, for example, ecstasy and resilience. The figure often disappears under the accumulation of geometric shapes, drawn carefully. The public is invited to experience physical, animated flesh and the spirit.

Trauma due to a computer problem has convinced Numa to stay away from machines. If the site are alive and well, it is because the platform is a must. But Numa, who describes himself as a dinosaur, works at least on the side of the digital media. “Call me “, said his voice as it had been suggested to take an appointment by e-mail. “No, not by text message. Call me. “

Graphic designer first, Numa has resulted in the arts by ricochet. A graduate of UQAM and Concordia University in his pocket, the mysterious character has even participated in two events which are well known, the Biennale de Montréal 2007, and the québec Triennial 2011.


A few solos along its course, including interventions in unusual in two churches in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in the space of 14 years. The second, to the church of the most Holy Name of Jesus, was held this winter. An unexpected appearance in the private gallery, at René Blouin — that doesn’t represent his work, preceded by 2017. These two expos, which have not gathered that five paintings are the result of six years of work. The price of the MNBAQ seems to be the following, although Numa claims not to have sought.

“I fell on it. The people I applaud and I do not know what to answer. But it is a small light that is good “, says the artist, who has the habit, after a show, slipping into ” valley financial “.

Woman and sacristan

This is a new experience that Numa is going to live to 44 years old. The institutional context of the price does not give him the choice : should fold to the photo and the video, essential media mediation. And the interview with the journalist.

In an ideal world, Numa Amun would exist only in his workshop. His paintings would live only their viepublique. And it is virgin of any information that we could uncover. The reality is different, including in a church, where Numa had to make act of presence. An obligation that has allowed him, however, to see how the ambiguity of his name suits him.

“Since my debut, people think that I am a woman. To the church, I was taken to the sacristan, ” said happy anonymous. However, Numa knows that his “romantic idea of disappearing,” is condemned with his arrival in town, at the MNBAQ.

“I hope that there will still be people who will be faced with the painting without having seen the video, without having read your article. Is this a guy, a girl ? Of what age ? We don’t care ! ” launches the interviewed, without an ounce of anger.