The tree that conceals the forest still wears the branches of your voices
– Claire Moeder
To emerge from earth is a three-time waltz
The sumacs have been displaced. A few steps from her home, Pascale Bourguignon retrieved their docile roots from the soil. She guided the orphaned trunks toward the studio and patiently, through repetitive gestures, stripped them from their bark and laid them bare. Upon their release from earth, she drew out new forms transfigured by and determined from this displacement: From the tree-lined alley towards the studio, then from the studio to the white walled gallery. As such, she orchestrates a series of fluid motilities, sequence-like, around these three sources of anchorage. Once they become connected, these translations form a trifecta, a three-time waltz: origin, transformation, relation – all of them new physical states successively associated with the shape of a root and trunk and of various ramifications, each comfortably relating to the other while undergoing a subtle transition.
Displacing a Tree is a Tiny Migration
If the distance traveled by the sumacs is minimal, vast metamorphic movements traverse matter itself. Delineated by successive artistic gestures, their territory is plural and insubstantial. It is above all evocative of the migration of forms and the transformation of origins guided by the benevolence of the artist who cuts, peels, ponders, paints, looks, sculpts and transforms. Each displaced branch embodies the memory of the tiny distance it has traveled. The metamorphosis of these eight trees, replanted like mute characters on a bare stage, are associated with modeled clay and multiple motifs seen in Mexico during the artist’s residency. Now that the branches no longer have roots, they embody a history of migration and find a new country of exile in the transitory elsewhere of a gallery space. Here, migration itself produces an intimate circuit that does not stray, but follows the contours of a story centered on the essential. Territory and its accompanying narratives of traversing migrations find their end within the gaze of the other: the spectator.
Taking Root will be a Song from Elsewhere
The sumacs have been displaced. Far from home, they now stand along with sculptures made of clay that are interconnected by an erratic network of umbilical cords. On the ground, they form the absent roots of immigrants who have chosen Mexico as the new territory to house their homes. Their speech is earthy and modeled on round surfaces: they enclose shards of trees and contain the hybrid traces of migrants transitioning from one culture to the next. From the narrative of these voices and their memory, this double biography is composed of one here and one there, leaving only the remains of an organic flux of thin vocal cords, like Ariadne’s threads spreading out franticly on the floor, recalling headless snakes gliding from one tree to the other. They recompose the plurality of voices and draw a forest from the profusion of migratory narratives.
The migration of the rootless sumacs towards the gallery strikes no wall, crosses no frontier or borderline region. In this uprooting however, something else lingers. Between the branches, another narrative will need to emerge in place of the absent roots and the torn identities so that stories can fill the place where walls threaten to exist and forests to succumb.
Born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, Pascale Bourguignon began living in Montreal in 1993. After studying at the European Institute of Ceramic Arts in 2010, she completed her training at Concordia University. Since 2012 she has established her studio in Montérégie. A multidisciplinary artist who has studied photography, drawing, virtual drawing and ceramic arts, Pascae Bourguignon is particularly interested in the notions of memory, links, movements and displacements of populations, integration, upheavals, rejections or Allocentrism. She has exhibited her works in Montreal (Underground Art, Galerie Lilian Rodriguez) and in France in Mulhouse, Watwiller, Guebwiller and Marseille.
Claire Moeder is a curator and author. Her articles are published regularly in esse art + opinions and Ciel variable and she is a collaborator at ratsdeville and CIBL radio. She has contributed to publications on photography such as Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (2009) and Christian Marclay : SNAP! (2010). Having participated in residencies for curators in the United States (International Studio & Curatorial Program, 2013) and in Quebec (Est-Nord-Est, Saint-Jean-Port-Joli and La Chambre Blanche, 2015), she recently curated solo exhibitions for Sayeh Sarfaraz at Maison des arts de Laval and The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn, 2014, and for Jacinthe Lessard-L. at Maison des arts de Laval, 2016. Her research on the current roles of the image has taken form as a group exhibition (Loin des yeux, Optica, 2016) and a boxed set of photographs (Le Cabinet), soon to be released.