Originally from the Lower Saint Lawrence Valley (Québec, Canada), Andrée Bélanger spent several years abroad before settling down back home in 2017. Before going professional in 2013, she fulfilled a short Fine Arts program at Yukon School of Visual Arts in Dawson City. Since then she has mainly been leading her multidisciplinary artistic practice as self-taught. She has exhibited a variety of solo and collective projects in video, installation, painting, drawing, sculpture and performance, most of the time combining media, in Québec province, the Canadian North and Europe.
She has now firmly settled in her tiny studio-shack in the forest. Through her artistic practice, she keeps on researching about both the physical and metaphysical territories of human beings, as well as the relationship between these two.
I need space, stillness, silence, in order to recognize inspiration when it comes. I live and work in the forest. To me, artistic creation is about research and communication, it is about getting in touch with nature and the human being. I aim at making connections between people and ideas, and to bring about questions. The forest allows me to pay attention to whatever takes place within myself. In this way, I get to explore what is most fundamental within the human being : that is to say what bonds us to one another, as well as to nature in the broad sense of the word.
My profound desire is to show the invisible. To me, one of the major obstacles to achieve this purpose lies within the mode of expression itself. The invisible is immaterial : when we try to define it through some kind of language we inevitably give it shape and, doing so, we completely miss its essence. How can we materialize what is intangible? I found out that the artworks which bring about questions make a better strategy than the ones which suggest answers. In more practical terms, interdisciplinarity is a good way to get round the problem of the mode of expression predominating over the message.
During my events, I always show a body of works made in a variety of medias, all of them tied to a single theme. The visitors find themselves immersed in a specific atmosphere, yet unsure of the way they should be thinking. They try a taste of uncertainty, of what is imperceptible. And that is what reality is : it is not to be found within things but between them. I design bodies of works as frames which purpose is to demarcate a fragment of this reality, just like someone would erect walls to demarcate the space of a room.
According to this intersecting logic, it is important to me to cut across fields and circles in the creative process. My artistic practice is therefore enriched with partnerships of all kinds with individuals, collectivities and professionals of different backgrounds, and I like to show my work in a variety of settings.
I think that the unrest that we feel towards the intangible reality comes from the consequences of the “civilization” phenomenon. Because of this, bonds that integrate us with the nature that we resulted from have been badly damaged. What a human being or a society makes of the territory that they occupy depends on their degree of (de)connection with their deepest nature and with their natural environment. As I immerse myself in this nature, I mend these bonds for myself. I study the influence of the external territory on the development of the internal territory of the human being, and vice versa. Then, through my artistic practice, I invite the ones of my kind to get on the trail of their own bonds, so that they can confidently immerse themselves in what is imperceptible. Once these bonds and this confidence have been restored, we can work with relevance and assurance in the tangible world.
PARTNERSHIPS, SPECIAL PROJECTS, SCREENINGS
“A Fermenting Colour Chart”, research project to make inks from plants through fermentation and to build a data bank documenting the process
“Subtleties”, creation project to make handcrafted inks and show the results in both region museums (workshops and exhibition)
“Bottling the Landscape : Handcrafted Ink Making”, research project to make inks from forestry minerals and plants
“Us, Our Territories : What Truly Matters is Unlisted”, Sainte-Luce, Centre d’art de Kamouraska, Collectif Le Récif, Musée du Témiscouata, Trinité-des-Monts and CLAC Mont-Joli (QC) | touring event : watercolour made of natural pigments with photo strips (series of 21 diptychs), collective discussion recorded on audio track
“A Division is a Connexion”, private exhibition-concert for Collectif Le Récif (action group), duo with Guillaume Aubertin, music composer and performer, Auberge de la Grève, Rivière-Trois-Pistoles (QC)
“Étrangetés” (“Oddities”), experimental short film screening, collective exhibition “Origines et métamorphoses”, Beauport Art and History Society (SAHB), Girardin Heritage House, Beauport (QC)
“Ask the Canadian”, filmed interactive performance, on three sites, for the making of short film “Étrangetés”, Allos, Thorame-Basse and Jouques, France
“Les 5 saisons de Colmars”, 2D animation video for monthly web publication « Portraits d’acteurs », commissioned by Verdon National Park and Fabri de Peiresc Art and Culture Association, website La Mescla, France
“Finding Diadem in the Pit”, collective performance : exhumation of a horse carcass (5 days), in partnership with Archeology & Heritage Laboratory of Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), Le Bic (QC)
“Klondike Colours”, thematic colouring book launch, Rabbit Creek Press, Dawson City (YK)
“Everything Humans Know”, 2D short animation film presentation and screening, Paraloeil theatre (regular season), Rimouski (QC)
“What’s Wrong?”, solo performance : have a live horse in an art gallery for 30 minutes, Confluence Gallery, Dawson City (YK)
“Everything Humans Know”, Dawson City International Short Film Festival, 2D short animation film screening, Klondike Institute of Art & Culture (KIAC), Dawson City (YK)
SOLO EXHIBITIONS (selection)
“Ecosystem(s)”, Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Rivière-du-Loup (QC) | installation reminding of the artist’s studio, handmade inks on paper
“Limitlessness and Fragments in Témiscouata”, BeauLieu culturel du Témiscouata, Témiscouata-sur-le-Lac (QC) | video installation, drawing installation, acrylic paintings
“Exuviae”, BDMC Gallery, Paris, France | video, installation, drawings, acrylic paintings, stone sculptures
“Raw Perspectives”, Allos, Thorame-Basse and Jouques, France | acrylic paintings, filmed interactive performance
“Perspectives on Reality”, Musée minimaliste des arts modestes, Digne-les-Bains, France | installative work on two sites
“Rupture(s)”, Digne-les-Bains / Peyrolles-en-Provence, France | ink on paper drawings, acrylic paintings, stone sculpture, installations
“Finding Diadem in the Pit”, Rimouski (QC) | film screening, installations
“Origins”, Fédération franco-ténoise, Inuvik (NWT) | acrylic paintings installation, stone sculptures
“Civilized”, in partnership with Caravansérail artist-run centre, Rimouski (QC) | acrylic paintings, sculptures installation, performance
COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS (selection)
« Mémoires du temps », collective Voir à l’Est, Rivière-du-Loup (QC) | handcrafted ink on paper
« Dedans dehors : Hors d’oeuvre », collective Voir à l’Est, Rivière-du-Loup (QC) | installation
“Origines et métamorphoses”, Société d’art et d’histoire de Beauport (curator Anne-Yvonne Jouan), Beauport (QC) | short film (solo), installation (duo with Andrée Bélanger, sculptor)
“BDMC French-Korean Exhibition”, Gaon Gallery, Seoul, South Korea | acrylic paintings
“BDMC French-Japanese Exhibition”, Gallery K, Tokyo, Japan | acrylic paintings
“Little Treasures” (curator Paola Trevisan), Trevisan International Art, Galleria De Marchi, Bologna, Italy | acrylic paintings polyptych
“Hard Fullness”, duo with Benjamin Garnero (stone sculptor), Colmars-les-Alpes, France | acrylic paintings, stone sculptures
2020 : “Us, Our Territories : Moments of Awakening”
Two-days residency with the author Élise Argouarc’h, preparatory to the opening at Carrefour de la littérature, des arts et de la culture (CLAC) as a closing event for the touring exhibition “Us, Our Territories : What Truly Matters is Unlisted”, Mont-Joli (QC)
2018 : “A Division is a Connexion”
Individual artistic research project with the division as a connexion theme, involving constant interactions with members and friends of Collectif Le Récif, Auberge de la Grève, Rivière-Trois-Pistoles (QC)
2017 : “Origines et métamorphoses”
Collective residency, preparatory to eponymous exhibition (with Andrée Bélanger (sculptor), Adrien Bobin, Marie-José Gustave, Julien Lebargy, Nytha Oronga, Véronique Sunatori, curator : Anne-Yvonne Jouan), Société d’art et d’histoire de Beauport (SAHB), heritage houses Maison Girardin and Maison Tessier-dit-Laplante, Beauport (QC)
PRIZES AND GRANTS
2023 : Explore and Create – Research and Creation, Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) | project “A Fermenting Colour Chart”
2022 : Arts and Letters in Bas-Saint-Laurent – Territorial Partnership – Creation, production, influence Section, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) | multidisciplinary project “Subtleties”
2021 : Exploration and Research, Conseils des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) | project “Development of natural inks for a palette of the land”
2020 : Arts and Letters in Bas-Saint-Laurent – Territorial Partnership – Mobility Section, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) | multidisciplinary project “Us, Our Territories : What Truly Matters is Unlisted”
2014 : Creational Punctual Support, video production centre and theatre Paraloeil, Rimouski | shooting of the short film based on the performance “Finding Diadem in the Pit”
2013 : Emerging Artist Prize, Dawson City International Short Film Festival, Klondike Institute of Art & Culture, Dawson City (Yukon) | 2D short animation film “Everything Humans Know”
Artists collective Voir à l’Est, Rivière-du-Loup (QC) – regular member and administrator
Culture Bas-Saint-Laurent, Rimouski (QC) – artist category
Cinéma et centre de production Paraloeil, Rimouski (QC) – pro member
Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec, Montréal (QC) – professional member
© 2023 Andrée Bélanger