The bright white atelier reveals itself behind the slightly open door grille. Large eyes fix on me, enormous children’s eyes, a presence from another era, but strangely familiar. Despite their youth, they seem to carry the weight of the world. There are dozens of them: children selected by the artist for their ultimate destiny, as they have traveled the world. The paintings are lined up along the walls waiting for the next exhibition. Some are back from Paris or London, others will leave soon.
Infinite tenderness emanates from these works. Perhaps because we know the lives of these illustrious children, their joys and sorrows, but especially the indelible mark they leave on us. “I only work with people I love, that I admire, and whose spirit has seduced me. I cheat. I know what they went on to do. I emphasize this knowledge. There is a truth that speaks for itself.” These people? Picasso, Camus, Saint-Exupéry, or even Disney.
Perhaps it’s the drawing, precise and light, masterfully penciled, faithfully respecting the stereotype of the child. Perhaps it’s the disproportionate size or the impact of the cumulative paper collage, the sides of the works simulating the hundreds of pages of a book, with the portrait serving as cover page. Perhaps it’s all this taken together that plunges us into an amazing nostalgia. It is unclear, but the effect is striking.
The ocean breeze marked the early years of Louis’ life. He was born in 1956 in the Magdalen Islands, in Havre-Aubert. Surrounded by people influenced by French culture, he feels closer to France than Quebec. As a young man he discovered Ferré, Barbara, Brassens, Aragon, and Piaf. Crucial influences.
“At 9 or 10 years old, I was asked what I would be when I grew up. I answered that I would go to Paris, as if it were a career.” As a young adult, master of his (own) destiny, Boudreault left home. He enrolled at the École du Louvre in Paris, and a rigorous and classic training followed. Louis was an art consultant for six years, but the need to create dictated his future path. “Without letting go of my job, I started to paint. I hung paintings in my office. People who came to buy Picasso, Matisse, or Van Gogh asked the identity of the works on my walls. I told them: a Canadian artist, a friend of mine … That’s how it all began.”
Louis Boudreault works long periods on a series. “There was Les envois, the history of 16th century colour from the Orient to the Occident. One had to retrieve colours at the other end of the world and bring them back by boat. They arrived in wooden crates and were distributed to various paint companies. The work was more conceptual: wood squares filled with colour pigments. But the story was classic.” This time, Destinées (Destinies) – which Boudreault worked on for nearly ten years and which has toured the world – tells the story
of the children who shaped the world. The work is presented in a more drawn, classical manner.
Pierre Karl Péladeau has commissioned an exhibition scheduled for March 2014 at the headquarters of Quebecor. Famous Quebec personalities will be featured: Leyrac, Leclerc, Vigneault, Nelligan, Céline, etc. The exhibition will extend for one year, with 10 new works every two months.