Near You No Cold. The phrase resonates like a mantra. It comes back to mind constantly since I met with Raymonde April on a cold day in February. If this phrase seems particularly fitting for this frigid winter, it’s especially apt for the story of the man she left behind in Mumbai. I don’t know Raymonde personally, but she told me her story, the one she presents in two distinct parts at Galerie Donald Browne and at CLARK.
Beginning at Galerie Donald Browne, one discovers the Near You of the exhibition title, and the apartment she shared with the man who hosted her during her residency in Mumbai. Here, intimate nature of her trip is on view; while at CLARK, we see the reality of the artist’s studio, hence the No Cold of the title. These two separate spaces mark the distinction between private and public, specifically between domestic life and artistic life. April retraces her path between the two, what she saw and what she experienced, and the fragments she has chosen to reveal.
The studio, a favourite subject of the artist since the beginning of her practice, is at the heart of her presentation at CLARK, and should be considered as one of the two anchor points of her time in India. Her studio experience in Mazgaon illustrates Indian culture and way of life as observed by the artist during her stay there. Among other things, April exhibits two photographic series printed on Tyvek, a strong, resistant material often found on construction sites. Using this material allows her to hang dozens of images in juxtaposing groups. Presented this way, viewers have two options: they may simply choose to look at the first image, or they can manipulate each series to activate the scenes captured by the artist. It’s a game that must be played in order to rebuild the sequence of images of a woman burning plastic in April’s studio courtyard, or the temple built near the Mazgaon highway. The artist also presents videos that allow viewers to witness the reigning ambience of India, namely the constant noise of honking horns, heavy construction, human voices, cackling crows, spice grinding machines, etc.
True to her work, Raymonde April allows viewers to slide into her universe, to follow her movements in a city that is the antipodes of Montréal, and to share a very particular moment in her journey as an artist and as a woman.
- Manon Tourigny / translation : Jo-Anne Balcaen
Raymonde April was born in Moncton and grew up in Rivière-du-Loup. She lives and works in Montreal, where she has taught photography at Concordia University. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions in Canada and abroad at venues including the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery (Montreal), the Musée d’art de Joliette, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City. Her recent solo shows include Raymonde April: La maison où j’ai grandi at the Musée du Bas Saint-Laurent (Rivière-du-Loup, 2013) and Équivalences, part of the FOCUS Photography Festival in Mumbai (2013). Her work can be found in numerous public and private collections. She was the recipient of the Prix du Québec Paul-Emile Borduas in 2003 and in 2010 was named Officer of the Order of Canada.
«Raymonde April thanks the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ), the Fonds Québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FRQSC) and Concordia University's Faculty of Fine Arts. Thanks to Eve Lemesle (What about art?) for her hospitality in Mumbai. The artist would also like to underline the precious collaboration of Andreas Rutkauskas, Jinyoung Kim, Bogdan Stoica and Martin Schop, and acknowledge the members the Outre-vie / Afterlife research group: Jessica Auer, Velibor Bozovic, Gwynne Fulton, Katie Jung, Jinyoung Kim, Celia Perrin-Sidarous, Marie-Christine Simard, Bogdan Stoica, Andrea Szilasi and Chih-Chien Wang.
- RAYMONDE APRIL
EXHIBITION NO COLD /
MARCH 12 TO APRIL 26, 2015
THURSDAY MARCH 12, 8PM
ARTIST TALK /
SATURDAY, APRIL 18, 3PM
EXHIBITION NEAR YOU /
MARCH 11 TO APRIL 7, 2015
AT GALERIE DONALD BROWNE
372 SAINTE-CATHERINE O., #528