Nikki Middlemiss: The Candidates

Online exhibition project based on an urban intervention

September 9, 2006 – June 16, 2007

Project Description

The Candidates is a time-bound urban intervention project that broaches the ephemeral nature of promotional posters while shedding critical light on the proliferation of the image in public space. With her discreet interventions, Nikki Middlemiss proposes a reassessment of the status conventionally attributed to the author, to the work (portraiture), and to its dissemination.

A message cropped up here and there among the countless posters that studded the city during the run-up to elections: Votez pour moi et tout ira bien !!! (vote for me and all will be well). Thus were candidates broadsided by the criticisms of citizens refusing to be taken in by politicians’ flimflam. Used as the preferred medium by anyone urgently wanting to publicly express their opinion, these “head shots” lend themselves to varied and unpredictable formal treatment. In tune with public concerns, Nikki Middlemiss teams up with anonymous street “artists” in conjuring headstrong actions that tend to awaken the beast within, and yet to humanize it as well.

The project also found another, mediatized outlet. Indeed, a sample selected by the artist served as background for the 2006-2007 program poster — we simply drew out the As If All Were Well that lay implicit in politicians’ tight-lipped speech.


1. “During recent election campaigns I became intrigued by the intrusive nature of electoral propaganda in Montréal as well as swift public reaction to it, and I began photographing the graffiti-marked coroplast posters that emerged throughout the city. As the majority of these alterations did not target a particular party or policy, I cropped my images as portraits, excluding party alliance and text with the intention of distancing each candidate from their political identity. Interestingly, I often sensed that these defacements emphasized the innate strangeness of the original portraits, and frequently rendered these personalities more sympathetic than did their pristine publicity shots. While several of these faces are recognizable on the federal or provincial political scenes, the majority were not elected to public office and have returned to a life of relative anonymity following the election.

Responding to a charged national political climate and wanting to contribute to the informal dialogue these anonymous interventions had initiated, I inserted a selection of my own politician posters back into each candidate’s respective constituency a year following the election. In June 2005, over 500 posters were installed throughout three of Montréal’s federal electoral districts (Laurier-Sainte-Marie, Outremont and Papineau).”

– Nikki Middlemiss

2. Postering team: Nicole Cranley, Amber Goodwyn, Mark Grenon, Damien Hamon, Jessica Hiscocks, Melina Hoffman, Brett Kashmere, Elena Johnson, Henri Michaud, Michael Rollo, Carl Ruttan, Astria Superak, Jagan Voora, Vidya Voora, Lee Wen Soo and John Williams.