Les attrape-vents, Wind Catchers, 2007 - 2009
Vidéo: produced and edited by Mehdi Benboubakeur
2007, Zone d'affluence - promenade des arts inattendus de Mercier
2008, galerie Lilian Rodriguez et Les escales improbables de Montréal
2009, galerie Nuha Al-Ali, Damascus, Syria
2013, Clay and Glass Gallery
2016, Maison des arts de Laval and le musée régional de Rimouski
2018, musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, exposition Fait Mains
Vidéo de Mehdi Benboubakeur
The Wind Catchers
Galerie Lilian Rodriguez, 2008
The attrape-vents (wind catchers) came about during the creation of a series entitled les vents (the winds). At the same time, I began collaborating with musicians. For me a ceramic takes shape through both its volume and its inner and outer space. According to a saying in the Chinese Tao, “One moulds a pot out of clay, but it is its inner void that holds what one wants.” It thus seemed obvious to me that the patterns engraved on the outer surface of les vents would also make sense inside the pieces, where a fertile void liberates sounds. Therefore, I turned my pieces inside out, as one would of a glove.
Wind maps or isobaric maps depicting the directions and variations in the intensity of the wind inspire the patterns I draw on clay. Despite their purpose, these maps are amazingly aesthetic, their contours and lines spiralling in a flowing and changing movement. By blending the characteristics of the wind and my expertise as a ceramist, I design patterns that express the energy and strength of the wind along with the pressures and manipulations exerted on the clay being transformed to erect a pot. By nature, does the wind not ascend and descend in a perpetual and circular movement? Though our senses can perceive directly its active force, we are unable to grasp it regardless of the phenomena it generates and its strength on the environment. One can but try to discern its amplitude. Like my previous sculptures, the attrape-vents attempt to illustrate this invisible dynamics of space.
Expanding this line of thought is a series of “drawings” I did on paper via a transfer method. When rolling raw clay on paper, the humidity of the clay that the paper takes in, combined to the shrinkage of the clay when it dries, crumples and wrinkles the paper. The result is drawings in relief. The transfer sets in motion all the forces at work, that of the clay, of my hands shaping the clay and of the paper – the qualities of its fibres and thickness also contributing to the surfacing of these impressions. Hence, the drawings are like imaginary topographies reconstituting the shifting of the clay’s humidity in the atmosphere of the paper.
The association of the papiers and the attrape-vents creates a surprising visual encounter between the folds of the paper and the patterns of the porcelain. The mismatch of the substances fades in favour of a reading in continuous mode from one motif to another. The whiteness of the papers and that of the porcelain retain light and expose the relief even further. Finally, this encounter conveys the permeability and interaction between the different forces involved and its vital spark.
Lastly, a video comes with this exhibition. It is about a work I did in collaboration with the independent filmmaker Mehdi Benboubakeur. The film was shot inside three attrape-vents. Although the camera and the light magnify the patterns and drawings, the main subject of the artwork is the movement. Not that of the camera that is stationary, but that of the attrape-vents turning on themselves. In the process, it is the material, the clay that regains its original flexibility and malleability.