WE LAST MET FOUR YEARS AGO, WHEN LOUIS BOUDREAULT WAS SHOWING DESTINÉES. REMEMBER THE FASCINATING PORTRAIT SERIES OF OVERSIZE PAINTINGS DEPICTING ARTISTS AND OTHER FAMOUS PEOPLE AS CHILDREN? NOW HIS STUDIO IS FILLED WITH LARGE CANVASES OF EMBROIDERED WORDS, BROUGHT TO LIFE WITH COLOUR AND TEXTURE.
PHOTO JEAN-CLAUDE LUSSIER
Boudreault welcomes me with that lovely, calm voice of his, his accent hinting his native Îles de la Madeleine, and of Paris, where he studied at the École du Louvre and first blossomed as an artist.
He thinks back on the early monochromes that came before his first major series: La Route des Couleurs, a body of conceptual pieces telling the story of the precious pigments that came from afar. In the 15th century, they travelled the Spice Road to Europe, where the royal families and artists of the day impatiently awaited their arrival.
Then came Destinées, in 2004. Originally intended as a two- or three-year parenthesis in his career, the series was such a success that it ran nearly 15 years. It was acclaimed wherever it was shown, including Paris, London, Hong Kong, Florence, Geneva, and, of course, Quebec City and Montreal. There are now 400 figurative pieces in the collection, representing some of the outstanding individuals who helped shape the
Now, with Fragments d’Écriture, Louis Boudreault pays tribute to the writings that have meant so much to him since his youth. “Literature has always occupied a very important place in my life. It has given me so much, and for the longest time, I have been looking for a way to reciprocate. That is the driving force behind this new series. Each piece is a big page, written with paint, charcoal, pencil, embroidery and endless lengths of thread…”
“These are the words of the writers who left their mark on me—words that help me live and think and have became something of a second skin. I want each painting to fully reflect each writer, in just a few words. Marguerite Duras: ‘Il reste toujours quelque chose de l’enfance, toujours.’ (Something always remains from childhood. Always.) Rimbaud: ‘J’ai tendu des cordes de clocher à clocher; des guirlandes de fenêtre à fenêtre; des chaînes d’or d’étoile à étoile, et je danse.’ (I have stretched ropes from steeple to steeple; Garlands from window to window; Golden chains from star to star … And I dance.) Voltaire: ‘Si l’on n’est pas sensible, on n’est jamais sublime.’ (Without sensibility, one can never achieve the sublime.) Eluard: ‘Sur mes cahiers d’écolier, sur mon pupitre et les arbres, sur le sable, sur la neige, j’écris ton nom Liberté.’ (On my school books, on my desk and trees, on the sand and snow, I write your name, Liberty.) Robert Desnos: ‘Un jour, je te décevrai, et ce jour-là, j’aurai besoin de toi.’ (Someday, I will deceive you, and that day, I will need you.)
“Not every poet is French. There is also a canvas for Kerouac: ‘It’s all messy. The hair. The bed. The words. The heart. Life…’ All the works are on bare canvas, several layers of canvas, like those big Indian blankets made of so much colourful fabric.” Standing before these canvases, you feel the surprisingly evocative power of the words, which transport you into your memories, your childhood, your loves, your life. To view the art of Louis Boudreault is to travel deep into the heart of yourself.
EXHIBIT May 19, 2018 at Galerie AMF (Galerie Alexandre Motulsky Falardeau) in Quebec City. This will be the inaugural show for the gallery, which has recently moved into the Galerie Lacerte space at 1 Côte Dinan in Old Quebec.