Claudette Lemay






JARDIN (Garden) | audio-video installation| | 2005 | (demo)

  < >

"Capturing Time. A small house of frosted glass is placed on a pressed wood structure. As its walls are lit by an almost spectral luminosity, one assumes that a screen is housed within. The fact that it rests on a grass mat brings it out still further. Jardin appears like an oasis harbouring a semblance of nature. Approaching the small-scale house — its representation recalling structures that all of us live in —, we have the irrepressible urge to look inside, and  willingly press an eye to the tiny square aperture that we find in the roof.

We discover a garden of clover here, and see a woman strolling. Outside space is projected within the closed interior, an inverted image that enthralls. The tiny building turns into a projection area and, in our crouching position, we readily identify with the stroller. Her feet come and go through our field of vision, a little as if the stroller, of whom we only see the lower part of her legs, were looking for something. The series of footfalls doesn’t match the slow pace of a stroll or the regularity of normal travel. The to-and-fro exudes a hatched and repetitive beauty, rooted to the ground and in contact with herbaceous plants. One apprehends this fragment of landscape through its connection with the body traversing it. And, in a way, the uncertain movement set before us reveals the agitation of an anonymous individual. It may be a beneficially mindless peregrination, to recall Paul Auster, in The New York Trilogy, where he attributes the figure of the stroller to the character Quinn, who constantly goes out walking as a way of “leaving himself,”1 and notes that “wandering, therefore, was a kind of mindlessness.”2 Which is to say that the come-and-go of the walk inevitably involves a trajectory, whether physical or imaginary, absorbing or fleeting.

Thus, Claudette Lemay transforms the act of walking into a motif, which she also signifies with the passage of time — an inexorable march if ever there was one. Its presence is manifest in the advance through of the clover garden, which is transformed and reproduced throughout the sequence. The impression is reinforced by a soundtrack that opens up another space: a hurried inner voice — in fact, the artist’s own — uttering various indecipherable words suggesting shifting memories that can no longer be articulated, no longer be told. Sound effects, rustling in the headset, seem to indicate a transformation. On one’s first excursion into Jardin and its rather intimate universe, one doesn’t immediately realize that it revolves around the last shot in the artist’s previous video work, Rentre chez toi III. The end of one piece thus becomes the start of another, mysteriously bearing that which existed before and is still interwoven in the capture of Lemay’s new images. Jardin examines something it carries within itself; alone on its island, it appears like a kind of mise en abyme."

1Paul Auster, Trilogie new-yorkaise, Arles, Actes Sud, 1991, p. 16. [City of Glass Volume One of The New York Trilogy, London: Pinguin Books (1985), p. 8]

2Ibid., p. 93. [Ibid. p. 98]

Text: Julie Belisle. 2007. Cubicules, exhibition catalogue. « Claudette Lemay. Caturing Time. » Montréal: Perte de Signal, p. 44-51.

Jardin was presented in the Cubicules exhibition produced by Perte de Signal and presented in six art centers between 2005 and 2007 : Centre d'exposition de Mont-Laurier, Galerie d'art d'Ottawa, Musée d'arts contemporains des Laurentides, Toronto Image Festival, Galerie du Nouvel Ontario at Sudbury, Espace de la Bande vidéo in Québec City.