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Question 5: How has your artistic practice or approach developed over the years?
When I started out at l’École des Beaux-Arts, I had very little knowledge in visual arts, especially in the area of art history. So this was the time when there were lots of changes in all the art schools, at the end of the 60s, beginning of the 70s. It was the habit at l’École des Beaux-Arts in Montréal to let us freely choose our own evolution, giving us a bit of help. So here at the Beaux-Arts, as I discovered art, the artists that struck me right from the start, who touched me, were Michelangelo, the Inuit, there was…Henry Moore, Arp. And, what so fascinated me in their art pieces was the power of life that emanated. In turn, I wanted to try expressing this life force, and it was through the abstract form, by direct cutting, that I began to express myself. At first, the forms that I created were organic shapes with very taut lines, curved lines that required that the stone be polished as a finish. Then over time, I got into right into stone, into the block of stone, to the point that I came up with shapes made of more than one element. At one point I separated these elements and ended up creating composite works with more than one element. That was perhaps the beginning, the very beginning, of the installations, unknown to me at the time. In my interest for stone, I extensively studied the grains of stone. Variations in grain in the different stones really caught my interest, and I found that their texture spoke to me. So in time, I ended up creating pieces that were partly polished and partly rough. The rough part was treated as a scar, so my works looked like a form breaking off from a mother shape and scarring over as it reached for independence. Pursuing my interest for stones, their varied textures, etc. I was attracted to stones that had acquired texture over time, through erosion, oxidizing, wearing away. With this arose the need for supports and for other material to give meaning to these works. That is how the assemblages first came up. Since that time there is no limit, really, to the materials I will use. But I must say that stone remains the basic material: it’s always there, either to finish or complete the meaning of a piece or else I start with stone to give meaning to a piece. Maybe I should add that materials have become symbols for me, either through their specific features or their shape. So symbolism, I’ve developed symbolism a lot in my pieces. For instance, in the current exhibition Secrets de Varnes, the materials were chosen for their emitted symbolic value.