Fondation Derouin – Symposium 2009 – Chemins et Tracés
Begun in 1995, the Fondation Derouin’s biennial event, Les Jardins du Précambrien, has three parts: a two-week residency resulting in an open-air exhibition; a symposium; and various public awareness activities (conferences, guided tours, exchanges between artists and the audience, and a collaborative work created by the artist and the public). The event is also multidisciplinary, as it includes the written word (with the participation of a guest poet) and audio environments (created by musicians).
For 2009, the natural context of the event will have changed somewhat, as new paths will be proposed to allow ground cover to regenerate. Though different and on flat terrain, the circuit still winds its way through the forest.
The foundation’s activities are meant to broaden audiences for contemporary art while simultaneously investigating issues of site-specificity. Each artist will be paired with a local artist or visual arts student who will assist in practical aspects of creating the artwork. The symposium itself will receive several guests of international standing, including Mexican artist Helen Escobedo and sociologist Hervé Fisher.
From its inception, it was the foundation’s desire to reach larger audiences and spectator turnout largely confirms that the event is meeting this objective. Over sixty guided tours and public events will be provided in 2009. Audiences will also be invited to participate in a group work to be initiated by guest artists during their residency.
This year’s theme, titled Chemins et tracés—"paths and traces”—, follows up on that of the 2007 event: The Voyage. Conceived by curator Pascale Beaudet, the theme draws inspiration from both human geography and the visual arts. Twelve artists from the Americas will be selected for 2009: five from Quebec, two from Canada, one from the United States, and four from Latin America.
Quebec (along with North America) owes a significant part of its early history to the adventuresome coureurs des bois. Over the centuries, their outlook has passed on to others, transformed, in particular to writers who have wandered the countryside, searching for their roots, among them Jack Kerouak and, quite recently, D.Y. Béchard, in his Vandal Love. Kerouak’s major work, On the Road, is emblematic of a modern form of nomadism in the U.S.
The nomadic lifestyle is also in evidence among artists in residency; in a sense, they are its post-modern incarnation. And while moving about, whether they come from as far away as South America or as close by as Montreal, the paths and traces they create sometimes show up in their artistic practice.
The paths and traces of the title are very broadly interpreted: a line in the forest; a trace on the ground; a series of objects leading from one place to another; paths and traces possibly connecting the works to each other; and the artists to their audiences.