Deconstruction of a tragedy

Through a series of photographs and a video, the artist revives the myth of one of the most sordid murders of Griffintown’s history : the brutal assassination of Mary Gallagher which occurred at the end of the 19th century.

This story acquired some kind of legendary status over the years as the trial was widely publicized in the newspapers of the time. Ghost sightings have been reported around the murder scene, witnesses stating that Mary Gallagher would be seeking her head. In order to revisit this tragic event and better grasp its different components, Niederstrass proposes a series of photographs of pieces of evidence, inspired by local newspaper descriptions of the time. The artist also presents a stop motion animation, whose disturbing strangeness – or uncanniness – shows the headless ghost of Mary Gallagher wandering, searching for her head.

In this new body of work, Niederstrass obviously raises the question of the representation of women in the story. The actual event has shifted towards the urban legend to create fear and manipulate Griffintown’s women into staying at home; the emergence of the decapitated ghost, symbol of woman of questionable morals serves as both an example and a warning.

This body of work was presented in 2014 at Galerie Trois Points in Montreal.

Photo credit : Mathieu Proulx

Pièce à conviction no.1, Inkjet print, 30” x 40” (2013)
Pièce à conviction no.2, Inkjet print, 30” x 40” (2013)
Pièce à conviction no.3, Inkjet print, 30” x 40” (2013)
Pièce à conviction no.4, Inkjet print, 30” x 40” (2013)
L’étêtée, Stop motion animation, 10 minutes loop (2013)
Collection of the Musée d’art de Joliette
L’étêtée no.3, Inkjet print, 26” x 40” (2013)