Pairs of military boots arranged in rows are suspended on black strings. The right-foot boots, raised slightly off the floor, create the impression of troops marching.

Dominique Blain

(b. Montréal 1957)


Missa (detail)


100 pairs of used army boots suspended  rom a rack by black nylon monofilament

Variable dimensions

Purchased in 1992, Ultramar Collection

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1994.11 A-B

© Dominique Blain. Photo: MMFA, Denis Farley 

In the installation Missa, a hundred pairs of army boots suspended on nylon strings are arranged in a square grid. Raised slightly off the floor, the right-foot boots suggest the synchronised movement of military marching. The overall effect conjures up the destructive violence of political regimes that manipulate dehumanized troops like puppets. Although it was conceived in 1992, Missa continues to resonate wherever it is exhibited. This sensitive exploration of a military accessory, linked to individual soldiers but expressing a collective action, spans the history of wars and the atrocities they breed.

In her multidisciplinary practice, the Montréal artist Dominique Blain denounces the oppression that stems from relationships of power. She approaches historical references with restraint, using a few carefully chosen images and objects to arouse individual and collective memories. Leaving room for imagination, her socially engaged art gives viewers the leeway needed to reflect on the subject of war and totalitarianism. Blain’s work has been widely shown in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia, notably at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and in the 1992 Sydney Biennale.


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