Cueillir la terre , was part of "Jardin de pommes et d'argile", a group exhibition presented September 28-29 and October 5-6, 2019, at 994 Chemin de la montagne, Mont Saint-Hilaire.
Since 2011, sourcing clay in nature has opened up a whole range of research that adds to my
artistic concerns. I sourced some in Inukjuak, Les Escoumins, Dawson City and on the reserve of the Semiahmoos First Nation. Whenever I hold a lump of new clay in my hands, I have the feeling of discovering a singular world that carries a memory and tells, in its materiality, a territory and a history intimately linked to that of the communities that inhabit it.
It is the first time that I collect clay in the greater Montreal area, where I live. After some research, I understood that to find some in what the geologists call the plain of Montreal, it is necessary to dig. Until now all the clay I found was on the surface. Thanks the director of the Mont-Saint-Hilaire nature park, Mr. Éric Malka, I found a construction site in Beloeil near the Richelieu river and near Mont Saint-Hilaire. I went there and with the permission of the site foreman, I gathered clay from a huge pile of freshly dug earth. Also, Mr. Girouard, agricultural engineer accompanied us on one of his family's lands in Saint-Hyacinthe, with the idea of digging at the bottom of an irrigation pipeline, therefore avoiding the use of a mini excavator ! The clay from this location is without gravel or sand. Both are extremely plastic.
The works I am proposing for this exhibition are made from one or the other of these two clays. They represent the most fundamental specificity of the area. “The Montreal plain was the main sedimentation basin of clay and silt, the Champlain Sea and Lampsilis Lake, which successively covered the glacial deposits put in place during the Quaternary era. 1 »Today, these lands are considered among the best agricultural land in Quebec.
That is 10,000 years and more of history. Manipulating in my hands such old clays that accounts for an evolution on which we are dependent makes one dizzy. They give us to see and hear the richness of our territory. They are gray in their natural state and orange when fired because of the iron they contain. But of all the clays I have worked with, these ones resonate best. The sound wave emitted is audible for several seconds. As if from the depth of time a voice still arises.
Persistent, it invites us to listen to it before it is too late.