SUMMER. LEGENDS OF WEATHER SOMEWHERE ELSE.
Fifteen years ago, Carole Baillargeon began an extended work consisting of four installations: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. Usually exhibited separately, sometimes in parts in different places, the works are unique. Whether attached to the wall or suspended in space, they are constantly being reworked and transformed, their alterations not simply being an adaptation to each exhibition site. Constantly changing, they are displayed as recursive loops that never return precisely to their initial starting point, and unfold into a new look in various temporary anchoring places, before moving on to other surroundings.
It is also during this interval that everything happens and is surpassed. We could say that the artist works in ‘little stitches’ – the term is a metaphor not only for the sprinkling of places and times of her exhibitions, but also for her actions, because she proceeds with the delicate and careful handling of all kinds of heterogeneous materials. At the risk of injuring her hands and fingers, she pins, hems, tacks and sews scraps of new and used fabric, or joins corks, bits of string and buttons. And these are all coordinated differently into patches that reformulate the colours of each season in the form of landscapes-clothing. Some literally can be worn as dresses, hats, jewellery, while others are installations that can be inhabited, revealing sparkling ethereal finery, always festive, that wrap visitors with a light breath of tiny particles. No doubt – as well as being highly tactile, these works prove to be very thermal.
Because the exhibitions’ variable contingencies disrupt the cyclical order of nature that the works refer to, each fragment can happen at a time when we do not expect it: Winter in summer, Spring in autumn; sometimes two of them are shown as a duo in the same space. Taking advantage of the incongruity that accentuates the playful aspect of her work, the artist, using diverse intonations, recounts a legend about a time that unfolds somewhere else. Here time shifts from its source, is deferred and promptly suspended. Given the theme, it would be accurate to describe Seasons as a work in progress. However, the work is actually a series of syncopated and oscillatory deviations rather than a continuous progression in one direction.
Presented here and bridging into the next season, Summer brings together some five hundred floating spores that visitors can explore by slipping between the metal rods adorned with multi-coloured buttons. Accompanying the garden-tracksuit and like the final hours of summer flowering, papers designed and decorated with buttons are arranged in stylized flower motifs on the gallery walls, capturing a few vestiges of the sunny days that are ending but will surely return. Somewhere else and in other ways…
Carole Baillargeon lives and works in Deschambault and Quebec City. Her art practice is a hybrid, an amalgam of visual arts, scenography and sometimes craft techniques. This creative work has developed for almost thirty years and has been shown in Quebec, North America and Europe. The artist was awarded the Culture Prize of the Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions in 2000 for her international presentations and in 1993, she won first prize at the Quebec City Discovery Biennale. Carole Baillargeon also has received financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts and from the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec. In 2015, Garment Landscapes, which she created over a period of fifteen years, became a travelling exhibition. It started at Maison de la Culture Frontenac in Montreal and will be presented at CIRCA art actuel and then at Centre Raymond-Lasnier in Trois-Rivières, ending at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Baie-Saint-Paul from February to April 2016. Here the entire ground floor will be devoted to a presentation of the complete version of her project. Carole Baillargeon earned a Ph.D in educational studies and arts practice at UQAM, and holds a MFA with a specialty in textile arts and a BFA in set design from Concordia University.
The artist wishes to thank Sabine Voisard, Nycole Paquin, Denis Baribault, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Contemporary Art Symposium of Baie-Saint-Paul (2012 edition), CIRCA art actuel and the many donors who contributed to complete the Summer project.
The artist and CIRCA art actuel wish to thank the active members Jules Gaulin and Janet Logan for the text revision, as well as Jennifer Macklem for the translation.
Art historian Nycole Paquin holds a Ph. D in the semiotics of visual arts. Until the fall of 2012, she was a professor in the art history department at UQAM where she is now an Associate Professor. She has published numerous articles, chapters and books on the arts from the point of view of cognitive science, including Le corps juge, Sciences de la cognition et esthétique des arts visuels (XYZ, PUV, 1997), Réseau, Les ancrages du corps propre (XYZ, 2000) and Faire comme si… Mouvance cognitive et jugement signesthétique (XYZ, 2003). More recently, she has focused on the theme of utopia in contemporary art Espaces utopiques : Projections et prospections. Sculpture et installation (CDD3D, 2013) in collaboration with Serge Fisette and François Chalifour. In 2014, she and Serge Fisette wrote the Historical Dictionary of Quebec Sculpture in the 20th Century published online on the website of Espace magazine. She continues her research into literary and visual utopias, this time on a corpus expanded throughout history, and is preparing a publication on the subject.