artistic residency in Picardy : Isabelle HAYEUR, Jessica AUER, Normand RAJOTTE
"My point of departure was to explore the collection of historical artworks of the MUDO-Musée de l’Oise. These works, mostly created by French painters from the region, were my introduction the landscape of Picardy. From this archive I discovered the work of landscape painters who worked directly from field observation.
What I observed from these works was how the painters perceive place and how they translate their observations into an artwork – their attention to detail, their personal style and the way they render light. But most importantly, I believe that these works speak to their relationship with place and how they view nature.
Taking inspiration from two particular artworks, one by Paul Huet (La Forêt de Compiègne) and another by Claude Sébastien Hugard (Le Trou fondu) I plan to carry out a photographic exploration of the Forêt de Compiègne, one of the great forests in the region. This forest is not only a natural site of interest but also of great historical relevance, with its occupation dating back to the Roman period.
My aim was to capture both the mythological character of the forest as well as its contemporary state. Walking along the trails and through some of the wilder areas, I studied the variety of trees, the effects of light on the landscape, and looked for traces of the past that have been left by environmental cycles and human intervention. Using photography, I would like to reference the romantic qualities of the forest that captivated the landscape painters from the 19th Century, while creating a series that proposes a realist perspective of the forest at this moment."
Born in Montreal in 1978, Jessica Auer graduated with a Masters in fine arts from the University of Concordia in Montreal, where she now teaches photography. She is represented by the Patrick Mikhail gallery in Montreal.
Jessica Auer was in residency in the spring of 2016 in the framework of a partnership between Diaphane and the Rencontres Internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie. www.photogaspesie.ca
"Having been invited for an artistic residency in the region of Gaspesie, I headed for the northern coast of the peninsula. ‘Wilder’ I had been told. ‘You’ll meet some amazing characters!’ I did not photograph the characters in question but they acted as go-betweens. They gave me a hearty welcome and introduced me to the community. So I settled in Petite-Vallee.
Claudia Imbert was in residency in Gaspésie in June 2015 in the framework of a partnership between Diaphane and the Rencontres Internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie. www.photogaspesie.ca
"Having arrived in France a short time ago, I am in Paris’s Xth arrondissement when the events of Friday the 13th of November 2015 occur. The population is petrified, paralysed. These are not the first attacks it undergoes, but this time, it is the nation that feels under assault. There are knee jerk reactions of exacerbated patriotism… While on a photographic mission in Beauvais, I get interested in the after effects of these attacks. I observe the reactions, I listen in on the conversations, I take pictures of what I see, often furtively.
The territory is now under high surveillance, security is being reinforced, bags are searched, leather jackets have to be opened, identity cards are being checked, dissidence is repressed, strikes on Syria are intensified... France is afraid, afraid of the other who is hounding her, but just who is this other exactly? I am trying to understand where all this is coming from. Are we really afraid of realizing it is also coming from us?
À Paris, In Paris, the 'Monument à la République' turns into a makeshift memorial. I take pictures of it every day. It is never quite the same: it is done and undone as fresh flowers and new testimonials are added. Photographs, drawings and small posters are put there daily. The rain alters them, deforming the pictures and blurring them, erasing the words, spreading the ink around or making it run down to the ground. In the process, it gives them a new appearance, often more poignant than the original, a kind of battered look."
Born in Montreal in 1969, Isabelle Hayeur lives and works in Quebec. She is a graduate in fine arts from the University of Quebec.Isabelle Hayeur was in residency at the autumn of 2015 in the framework of a partnership between Diaphane and the Rencontres Internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie. www.photogaspesie.ca
"On the first day, I photographed an abandoned house in the mist. Its caved-in roof made it look like it was taking off. The atmosphere was heavy, the clouds low, and I was trying to better understand the landscapes I was passing through, stopping off at roadside cafes.
Born in 1972, Ambroise Tézenas graduated from the school of applied arts in Vevey (Switzerland). Represented by the Mélanie Rio gallery, his work is published regularly in the international press, including the New York Times magazine and is included in several monographic and group publications on the European landscape.
Aimer la nature
"For several years, I have been exploring a forested area of a few square kilometres to the south-east of Quebec. Observing the spread of the vegetation and traces of animal activity, I photograph the never-ending metamorphosis of ‘my’ forest. Over time, I have taken root there. In this spirit, my residency in Picardy, given its shortness and the unfamiliarity of the places, came to me as a challenge. To rise to it, I concentrated my action and kept myself to two sectors located a few kilometres from the town of Clermont, where I was staying.
I first chose a wooded plot of a few hectares in the Marais de Sacy. I was attracted to dense, vibrant. A visual chaos bearing witness to intense life. A secret, all-encompassing space such as I had rarely come across.
I then turned towards the forest of Hez- Froidmont, where from the start I was impressed by the huge trees, with no equals where I come from. Wonderful plants exuding an almost tangible, reassuring strength. And on continuing my incursions, I also noted various traces of human activity, especially those left by forestry exploitation which, although photographically interesting, struck me as less reassuring for the future of the place.
I would have gone on, starting to feel a bit more at home.
But time was up".
Born in 1952 in Drummondville, Québec, Normand Rajotte lives in Montreal and works mainly in Estrie, on an area of a few square kilometres near Lac-Megantic to the south-east of Quebec.Normand Rajotte was in residency in the spring of 2016 in the framework of a partnership between Diaphane and the Rencontres Internationales de la photographie en Gaspésie. www.photogaspesie.ca