The exhibition Positions sur la matière is the first collective exhibition organized within the galerie atelier b. Planned at the time the pandemic began, it had to be postponed and finally took place from August 9 to the 23 by appointment.
The artists included in this exhibition put the emphasis on textile based work that, although rooted in traditional processes, go beyond them and propose a vision that revolves around contemporary experiences.
This statement highlights the primarily labor-intensive status of textile based practices. Formerly symbols of patience and modesty, sewing, knitting, embroidery or weaving are still associated today with feminine practices. Since the late 1960s, women artists have used theses techniques that previously locked them into a domestic role as a means of expression and emancipation. Textile work becomes a symbol of feminine emancipation which is then communicated to the medium itself, separating it from its stereotypical status.
Contemporary textile art is reflected in this exhibition by practices that are mainly sculptural, but also pictorial and videographic. The artists of Positions sur la matière invite us into an intimate material world where mediums overlap and intersect, blurring the supposed or imagined boundaries between visual arts and crafts.
Fibre, whether vegetable, animal, transformed or not, becomes matter. Fabric, thread and mesh become bodies, images and words that dialogue and respond to each other. These approaches to the notion of textile work lead to a multitude of possibilities situated in a temporality that oscillates between heritage and current visions. The artists presented here use textiles as a material of creation and construction, as a structure that underlies their intentions. These constructed materials are here amalgamated, pinned, padded or even burned, moving away from usual and expected uses. We see hands, breasts; we hear silences and sighs, a threat too; we feel the softness and pungency without being able to touch them. The non-functionality, going beyond aesthetics, questions without giving an answer.Here we will introduce each artist and their works included in this group exhibition, as well as photos by Jean-Michael Seminaro documentating it. Some of the works were hung in the shop with atelier b clothes to blur the boundaries of art and textile work even more.
Anik Péloquin is an architect by training and a self-taught artist. She composes relief paintings with small pieces of paper assembled with threads or pins. The papers are often translucent and covered with a thin layer of watercolour. Each small piece is unique, yet similar to the others. Gathered in large numbers in a defined structure, these small papers and their shadows form a vibrant whole. Using simple materials, she delicately tries to invite wonder.
The installation does not require any particular technique except some sewing rudiments transmitted by his mother. The work is nevertheless meticulous. It requires patience and rigour. The movements repeated over and over again as well as the use of thread and pins evoke the daily life of far too many women and their work often hidden, without any market value, yet essential to society...
“These women on whom everything rests, who make possible the great events of the world through various activities so humble that when at the end of the day they are asked what they have done, they can answer, and they often say, "Oh, not much." Doris Lessing, Jane Somers' notebooks, a neighbor's diary.
For the artist, expressing this elusive beauty of everyday life makes visible the humility and fragility of life. To become, in a flash, what surrounds us, outside and inside. To escape gravity.
We pay tribute to the artist through the posthumous presentation of her work and think of her family and friends.
Annie Legault defines herself as an atmosphere and textile designer. In search of a distinctly warm atmosphere, luminous textures and material poetry, she chooses to integrate her approach through everyday life and to interpret everyday objects with great sensitivity. Respectfully combining a traditional ancestral technique with her contemporary vision, her work initially evolves through the concept of "protection".
Annie Legault addresses issues related to vulnerability and the resulting need for physical security. Drawing inspiration from the Bauhaus philosophy, based on simplified forms, rationality and functionality, she proposes that the idea of mass production is reconcilable with the artistic spirit. Her practice challenges the boundary between craftsmanship, art and design. Through the act of interaction, the viewer explores her work as a process of utility. She proposes a playful act of art based on a need: protection.
By integrating these objects, the Amulets in architecture as an act of utility, it explores the possibilities of an act of call and response, based on protection. Her Amulets are designed to satisfy any emotion that the viewer will experience by touching them, settling into them or simply looking at them. Whether it is in their daily life, in a gallery or any other place where they will be, the Amulets have one function: to protect from cold and darkness. The traditional role of amulets lies in their magical power, their tangible protective power as a good-luck charm.
Caroline Blais' artistic approach surveys visual archives, domestic objects, natural materials and travel souvenirs to bring them into our imagination and our feelings. By collecting and sampling artifacts and visual textures, she transforms these concrete sources by hand on a digital platform to give them a new poetic and playful value. Through her curious and contemplative gaze, she creates refined visual narratives that weave introspective stories about life. Her works then become vectors allowing us to access our all too often forgotten humanity: our touch, our authenticity and our imperfections that she not only underlines, but celebrates with great gentleness.
Clothes is the daily story of a young woman and her relationship to clothing through the seasons. A touching ode to the microscopic beauty that surrounds us, where the garment we inhabit becomes a hero that carries memories and recollections.
Delphine Huguet is a transdisciplinary artist who questions interpersonal relationships, social codes, femininity, the body.
Les Noeuds is part of a series in which, through drawing and sewing, two undervalued mediums of contemporary art, she explores her relationship to the world as a woman. For the artist, the body is the first point of encounter with the other. The body, source of pleasure and suffering, object, vector of opening, opportunities or exclusions.
Delphine Huguet unveils an absurd universe in which forms of the body and everyday life intermingle to create new objects. Sometimes a maternal and phallic object in which one can curl up, or a common object of dysfunctional everyday life, the body is a "motherly" and "phallic" object in which one can curl up, or a common object of dysfunctional everyday life. used as a backdrop for objects that make you wonder or laugh.
First a series of 9 drawings in felt pen, mixing, untangling, The Knots become installation, either tight, bandaged or loose. Between phallic symbol and feminine symbol, half treton, half penis, half intestine. A little awkward, a little complicated. The Knots are on the move. A long tube of skin that connects two nipples. An object to be experimented with, tied, and untied. A symbol of life, difficult to handle, heavy, imposing, which could be the image of hetero-normal relationships. An object with which one can become one.
Emily Spooner draws from her own experience and is interested in making tangible the language of symbols that come from her sensory and psychological understanding of human experience. She then constructs a microcosm of objects and imagery related to her own psyche.
A Labour of What? is an exploration of a portion of the female experience, including the emotional charge and the contradictory nature of society's expectations of her. Traditionally viewed as feminine, dressmaking was as undervalued a force in society as was the emotional charge of women in relationships.
Many traditions around the world consider the rabbit as an archetypal symbol of woman, of fertile femininity. This makes it a symbol of fundamental contradiction, similar to that of the woman in modern society: a woman who should be both intelligent and foolish, independent and submissive, ultra-sexualized but pure.
Geneviève Marois-Lefebvre approaches the question of image and narrative through multiple forms, going from installation, to photo or video, to text and collage. She is interested in subjectivity in the experience of reality as well as in the role of narrative in human relationships, in the construction of identity and memory. She is particularly interested in the meeting points between the real and the imagined; between the beautiful and the ugly. She thus tries to identify how the complexity of human experience can be translated into narrative for transmission to others. This translation does not go smoothly, which is why she lets accidents, silences and omissions speak for themselves. Geneviève Marois-Lefebvre is interested in the contribution of the unexpected and error in the creative process. She works from collections, images, environments or tools, without control.
Kitchen Rifle is a work taken from a corpus designed for an installation entitled Sleeping with one eye open (2019). It is a project that considers anxiety and anguish as filters affixed to reality and participates in its fiction. Kitchen Rifle is made from a large mosquito net frame recovered from a construction site. With the help of mending thread, the sentence "Every night a rifle on the kitchen table" is awkwardly embroidered. This construction residue, from a traditionally masculine universe, is here reinterpreted from a textile work associated with the feminine. However, the apparent lack of mastery of technique and the fragility of the whole testifies both to an ethic of "care" aimed at repairing and enhancing, but also to a concern about the ever present danger of women's confinement in domesticity.Hea R. Kim
For Hea R. Kim, art is a creative arena where mythological, spiritual and illusory imaginary landscapes unite with the dream world. Her artistic practice revolves around sculptures in a variety of media. She uses a variety of techniques, within textile practices and ceramics, which she combines with mass-produced objects. Through these different media, she challenges herself to cross the philosophical boundaries of what craft and art are and what they could be. She intentionally erases the margins and boundaries established in the art world by harmonizing subversive notions: low art vs. high art, illustration vs. fine art, and traditional art vs. contemporary art. She is attracted by the link between the fantastic and the banal, the heroic and the cute, and the bubbling of popular culture with deeper social concerns.
As John Berger mentioned, "The forest is what exists between its trees," bringing together the immeasurably rich dimensions of life. A liminal space, it offers shelter and food, but also places where vagrants can get lost. In response to this dual nature, Hea R. Kim tries to explore her own distinctive "little forest". Throughout the manufacturing process, its aim is to discover or create a new relationship between natural and artificial materials by binding them together.
The project adopts the process of creating works in textiles. The artist borrows many elements of form from textiles such as fabric prints, baking hand-made pieces in an oven, and burning the fibres to leave the unpredictability of their remains. Toasty House is to extrapolate from nature as a tool, its poetic beauty, the romantic process of decay and regrowth, and the control and lack of control that play a role in the piece. Hea R. Kim combines the figurative with the abstract to suggest a narrative that is not entirely clear. This work could be seen as a disjointed fable that maintains a tension between immanent disclosure and the need for the observer to actively contribute to the narrative resolution.
Mariane StratisOscillating between fiction and simulacrum, Mariane Stratis' work explores the cultural experience surrounding the event of death. Whether translated by sculpture, installation, textuality, photography or performative art, space becomes a material conducive to generating incongruous situations.
For embellishing the new square is an installation that is part of the body of work Cemeteries too can die dealing with the site of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine Cemetery (1799-1854). This project revisits the changes in the site's status by interested in the landscaping and ornamentation of Dominion squares and Canada Place.
Dominion Square has been designated as a park or public square for over 150 years. In the past, this same site was used as a cemetery and was used for this function for almost 55 years. During its opening, the Faubourg Saint-Antoine Cemetery received the remains of 55,000 people buried in mass graves. To this day, 40,000 graves are still located under Dorchester Square and Place du Canada, not far from those walking in the park.
This installation refers to the landscaping plan that is truly anchored in the desire to transform, embellish this place and even forget its original vocation as a cemetery. The wool, symbolic of the lawn, which has also experienced many, many turns, trampling, digging, seasons and vocations, represents a peaceful idea of a beautiful and healthy green carpet. It is now mostly a lawn on which it does not seem to be allowed to walk or sit. Interested in what is invisible, Mariane Stratis focuses on what can be seen on the site and what can be inferred from it when information is not shared. For embellishing the new square functions as a metaphor to suggest the absence of information about the site's unique history and the way our society deals with unease, the body's heritage and its fragility.
Marion Paquette's interventions are mainly articulated around contents of the intimate that are her own or derive from various personal spheres. This theme, declined through daily life, leads her to develop tangible forms of a Self in relation to its environment. Thus, her projects generally take shape through performative actions and installations that combine textiles, drawing, writing and photography.
Its pattern of intervention is rooted in the paradoxical aspect that the presence of the intimate in the public sphere and its impact on the public sphere can entail. Working from the condition of in-between, Marion Paquette is interested in the effect of the junction between two concepts with a certain polarity. Antinomic intersections between comfort/discomfort - personal/interpersonal - interior/exterior - objectivity/subjectivity - veiled/unveiled - awakening/sleeping - animate/inanimate - private/public are raised.
How do the silences find an echo is realized during a self-residence at Natashquan. Here, the light object made up of openings is threading its way through the taiga. The reflective surface, a sensitive membrane, shelters a human presence and is as much body as landscape in its morphology. The project invites us to establish a poetic dialogue between the artificial and the natural where we can capture the textures of the territory that echo through the windows of the canvas. These various encounters of materials lead to temporarily reinvent the landscape partition. A silent presence seeks to echo, to dialogue with what surrounds it. Its openings allow anchoring to the forms and textures of the landscape, but its materiality of light leaves it without hold on the real, by the contrast it imposes.
Sophia Borowska deconstructs the dominant hierarchies between art and craft through the subversive act of hybridization of textiles and architecture. Trained as a weaver, she engages in an "adjacent textile" practice, applying textile processes to architectural materials, translating photographs into weavings or creating site-specific structures that oscillate between strength and softness. Through materiality, collaboration, feminist thinking and handmade, she aims to problematize the gap between art and design and to break the associated patriarchal ideals.
"Tapestry was (and still is) an embarrassment in the main narrative of modernism. Specifically, in its twentieth-century incarnation, it became a dangerous hybrid."
Romy Golan, Muralnomad: The Paradox of Mural Painting, Europe 1927-1957
Alcove, Chambre, Tableau is a project examining the relationship between tapestry, photography and architecture. Tapestry is an ancient woven imaging technique that creates a flexible matrix of image and texture. In the Middle Ages, tapestry was a flexible architectural medium, highly symbolic and narrative, monumental in scale and functional as well as decorative. Its status as a high art evolved over the following centuries, to the point where forgotten tapestries were used to keep cattle warm in winter, or burned to recover gold and silver threads. Tapestry then experienced a renaissance in the 1920s and 1960s as a means of reproduction, with many renowned modernist artists and architects commissioning tapestries based on their designs, but critics were still reluctant to recognize tapestry as a medium of fine art.
As a weaver and photographer, Sophia Borowska is intrigued by the concepts of function, reproduction, symbolism and concealment that the rich history of tapestry evokes. The medium has gone from greatness to abjectness, and now to an ill-defined place in contemporary art. In the past year, she has been producing small tapestries based on photos depicting the integration of Modernist architecture into the texture of different cities. His photographs have a characteristic subject matter of urban architecture and close framing, resulting in tapestries with a troubling sense of perspective and a fine balance between geometry and awkwardness. These weaves incorporate transparency, with non-woven areas, and are integrated into custom-made frames that are reminiscent of the tapestry loom. The centuries-old tradition of tapestry is updated with images that reflect the fragmentation of our contemporary society.
Thanks to the selection committee: Annik St-Arnaud, Celia Perrin Sidarous and Ines Gerard Cuesta.
Texts by Ines Gerard Cuesta.
Thank you to the artists for their flexibility in these complicated times and for their participation in this beautiful exhibition.