11 Artists to Watch at Montreal’s Contemporary Art Fair

A look at who’s on our radar at the upcoming Plural event.

I am the air you used to breath by C.J. Chueca

The Old Port of Montreal gets a cultural boost this April with the Plural Contemporary Art Fair. Launched in 2007 (as Foire Papier) by the Contemporary Art Galleries Association, the 2024 edition welcomes 46 galleries from seven Canadian cities across three days of exhibiting and events aimed at art collectors, gallerists, and cultural critics.

Ticket holders get access to guided tours, site installations, and Plural Forum, a lineup of panel discussions in French and English. These talks include a guide to art collecting for Gen Z, a Donna Haraway-inspired look at artistic world building, and an inquiry into art criticism and publishing with Momus staff. While half the fun of the fair is discovering new talent, here are a few of the artists to watch for:


Plural Art Fair

Episodios installation view by Rodrigo Chapa


Episodios by Rodrigo Chapa


The earliest days of 2020 prompted major reflection and artistic innovation. For Mexico City artist and photographer Rodrigo Chapa—at Plural with Plateforme ArtBase—that meant creating Episodios. The photo series investigates colour, shape, and composition using only objects that were at hand in his studio, including tools, photo equipment, and repurposed objects from previous productions.



Plural Art fair

Rodrigo Chapa


Hailing from Quebec’s Kitigan Zibi First Nation reserve, Jobena Petonoquot lends her perspective to a guided tour focused on contemporary Indigenous art practices and highlighting Indigenous artists at this year’s fair, including Jordan Bennett (IOTA Institute/Studio Gallery) and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (Macauley + Co.). Petonoquot, whose own lauded work often involves “Indigenizing” everyday objects through beading, emphasizes the necessity of “showing that we are still here.”

Malik McKoy stands out in a new wave of multimedia artists who straddle the digital and analogue worlds, a generation who grew up on, with, and using the internet. Showing four works at Plural with Toronto’s Susan Hobbs Gallery, the Ontario artist has described his motivation as “a sense of escapism from the mundane nature of everyday life—not only for me, but for the viewer as well.”


Plural Art Fair

You are the Ocean I Used to Swim by C.J. Chueca


Moderated by the director of Liberté magazine, the “Écoféminismes: pratiques de l’alliance” panel (in French), brings together three outspoken Québécoise artists—artist and researcher Edith Brunette, illustrator Julie Delporte, and multimedia and performance artist Eve Tagny— to “examine how art can care for the earth and all living things, what it means to renounce fantasies of grandeur, and how the artistic subversion of dominant discourses can give strength to resistance.”



Plural Art Fair

C.J. Chueca installation view


Plural isn’t just a great way to encounter new artists, it’s also an introduction to new and burgeoning contemporary Canadian art galleries. After experimental locations in a Mile-Ex garage (Vie D’Ange) and a small space on Parc Avenue (Parc Offsite), Montrealer Eli Kerr recently moved his eponymous gallery to a light-filled, 140-square-metre storefront on Saint-Laurent. He’s at the fair with artists Simon S. Belleau, Maggy Hamel-Metsos, and Jean-François Lauda.

Plural Contemporary Art Fair runs April 12–14, 2024. Single tickets and three-day passes (including VIP passes) are available.