Good morning, Maurice
you show-off, you,
conspiring with the sun to make
your limb-shadows dance on my curtains
|awynfoto - 19 January 2015|
|awynfoto-19 January 2015|
Jannick Deslauriers was born in 1983 in Joliette, Québec.
She lives and works in Montréal and teaches art at the Cégep Marie-Victorin.
To see more of this artist's work, click here.
Her web site is here.
I particularly liked this earlier piece (not part of the above exhibition):
lethe (from series battlefield series) 2009
A poem I encountered around the time I'd gone to this exhibit seemed to speak directly to related thoughts on the disappearance of familiar traditions, objects or landscapes that are part of one's past.
Of Things Past
Draw as you will you cannot
Hold on to them as they slip
Like water through fingers
Frozen in marble round
The ring of a well.
The artist Jannick Deslauriers wonders "about the impact of the vacuum produced by a certain rejection of our past," asking:
"Won't this loss lead to a search for meaning, a search for identity, a loss of balance?"
One's identity--how one defines oneself with respect to one's culture, heritage, country--is subjective. While loss of a tradition or native language can indeed be unsettling, the loss of the meaning one attaches to them can be even more of a disconnect - because it positions you outside, so to speak (standing away, apart from, not experienced as "one with" it anymore). Loss of meaning in something does not always result in disorientation, however, if one fills the void left by its loss with something more meaningful. It may actually ground or stabilize, rather than serve to dislodge, one's future life "footing," so to speak But that's a whole other topic.
A fragile, soft sculpture that cannot stand on its own and needs support from above, this church floats and "breathes", as clouds of tulle gather at its base, attempting to anchor it. Take away the strings holding it up and it collapses in on itself.
What does it mean to think of something as indestructible, a kind of "given" - only to discover that it perhaps . . . . isn't?
That beautiful old churches get razed to become trendy new condos saddens me. When in 2001 the Taliban destroyed two giant 6th-century carved Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan it sickened me, a loss felt even by those outside these cultures, as a universal reminder of the impermanence of 'things'.
There's a big difference, of course, between changes wrought slowly by time or inevitability, and those deliberately and systematically engineered to erode or eradicate a people's identity. Native American Indian children taken from their families by early religious groups, renamed and forbade to speak their own language; and Tibetans today, having had thousands of their monasteries burnt down, their way of life now tightly controlled by the Chinese, are two examples that come to mind. When your land is no longer yours, your language no longer spoken, your culture not something succeeding generations find easy to "identify with", except as a handed-down story or inherited label, then not the where you are but the who you are may cause you to examine what this all means to you personally. Parallels flooded my brain as I was drawn back to the scene before me.
I marveled at the sheer craft involved in the creation of this floating church. Anybody who's ever worked with certain fabric, trying to get needle and thread to cooperate, will appreciate the enormous amount of time and effort it took to design and produce this magnificently constructed artpiece. (I understand that it was still being worked on up to 40 minutes before the exhibit opened.)
I peeked inside (or tried to) but saw only complete white space. A gently held Emptiness. I became fascinated with the black threads holding it all together--their intricacy and sometimes whimsical randomness. For example, on the crane boom, they appear to be both clinging to and escaping from that which they are tasked with holding together. I like that the artist allowed for this threadly ambiguity, the visual play of being both attached to and moving away from -- even the church's front bannisters and steps seemed to undulate to this rhythm.
Lost footing with respect to identity--what we identify with, or as--like the meanings we attach to ideas and things--is mutable. What we accept or reject (or are simply indifferent to), how we respond to their loss, and who we become (or remain) as a result, largely depends on their meaning to us not just collectively, but individually. Does this loss to "us" (the culture as a whole) make you feel more--or less--connected? The answer to this question perhaps holds the clue to the nature of the connection, where we stand in relation to its absence, and whether that makes a difference or not.
This particular artist focused on the loss of religious heritage. Wider considerations presented themselves in the overall theme as well:
lostFOOTING, is to lose one's physical support, one's usual perspectives, one's aesthetic values, one's physical anchors, whether in a corporal manner, metaphorical, emotional, mental, or creative. It is also a rupture in equilibrium, a change of scenery, a rout, a stumble in the rhythm of walking, in the momentum of a journey, in the thread of life… All artists participating in the various exhibitions, events, and other activities will explore the proposed theme.
Loss of one's physical, emotional, or metaphorical anchors, stumbles in 'rhythm' (who of us hasn't?!), lost momentum, ruptured equilibrium, loss of creativity (or in interest thereof) - whole pages could be written on any one of these 'threads'.
This all gets so murky. But the subject is fascinating. Utterly. I like art that makes you think. And this artist's work certainly did that. . . and then some!
Thank you, Jannick Deslauriers, for this visual and reflective adventure. The exhibit was outstanding.