Biography of François Gaudet
François Gaudet studied at Université Sainte Anne in Pointe-de-l’Église, Nova Scotia (1977-1978), at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, British Columbia (1980) and at the San Francisco Art Institute (1989). In 1990, he was awarded a Bachelor’ degree in Fine Arts by the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, in Vancouver.
He has shown his work in solo and group exhibitions in several provinces in Canada, in San Francisco and in France, among them notably the Exposition/Rétrospective des arts visuels en Acadie, held during the first Acadian World Congress, in Bouctouche, New Brunswick (1994), De y’ou-ce-que j’viens in Paris (2003) and Géographie du regard at the Festival interceltique de Lorient, in France (2004). His photographs have received publication in several periodicals.
Gaudet was a member of the Galerie Père Léger Comeau of the Université Sainte Anne, of the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Council, and of the Conseil des arts de la Baie, in Nova Scotia. He benefited from grants by the Nova Scotia Arts Council (1997, 1998 and 2000) and the Canada Council for the Arts (1999). He was awarded the Prix Grand-Pré by the Department of Culture of Nova Scotia (1983) and the Prix Gonzague by the Conseil culturel de la Nouvelle-Écosse.
François Gaudet’s artistic practice is rooted in his Acadian heritage and the circumstances of exile and return that characterize this heritage. In addressing the issues of displacement, disorganization, transgression and hybridization, he aims to define, for his own purposes, the identity of his ancestral land.
Gaudet has inherited his father’s collection of negatives. A photographer with the American Marines during the Second World War, his father returned to Baie Sainte Marie in 1945 carrying “the heavy burden of atrocities to which he was a visual witness. As an antidote, an exorcism and a consolation, he began to capture in photographs the life of his Acadian community in its minutest details.”
François Gaudet considers the printed photograph not as a finished product but as a “canvas that offers a world of possible manipulations using paint and other materials.” The photograph then becomes a palimpsest: “the historical moment captured by photographic exposure and the present time in which I intervene form two layers that end up fusing into a kind of on-going present… suddenly awakened into a new era.”