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Steven Curten, Ginette Legaré, David Moore, Serge Murphy, Danielle Sauvé, Louise Viger, Françoise Sullivan
From October 29th 1988 to November 20th 1988
Histoire de bois

“Histoire de bois” began as a more than two month-long workshop held during the summer of 1988 on the premises of the École-atelier de sculpture de Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Organized by the Studios d’été de SJPJ, an independent organization comprised of Jean-Pierre Bourgault, Johanne Blanchette, Jacques Doyon, Roberto Pellegrinuzzi and Michel Saulnier, this project was meant to provide the artists with an opportunity to examine and confront the present pursuits of contemporary art with the traditional concern with materials and technique still alive in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.

In the original spirit of a symposium, this workshop provided all conditions for intense work and discussion, drawing on the participants’ environment and its resources. Each artist was given a living and work space near the river, four experienced technicians were on the premises (Yvon Noël, Stéphane Guérin, Nicole Saint-Cyr and Sylvie Cloutier), all the necessary materials and machinery were on hand and the local artisans were available to help with their expertise and resources.

The project’s initiators also wished to demonstrate various strategies for the re-evaluation and appropriation of cultural strata, considered up till then, from the point of view of modernity, as residual or exogenous but which are today being reconsidered by present-day art as being an integral part of the culture. The works created in the course of this workshop do not in any way deviate from the pursuits of modernity, pursuits that can be schematically reduced, as does Margit Rowell, to a nature/culture polarity, or to an opposition between mythology, primitivism and the unconscious on the one hand and deconstructive and analytical rationality on the other hand. The works address both these attitudes as legitimate and move out into an area where the Other is inescapable and where certainties and absolutes are both relative and interdependent. The viewer will however find in all these works aspects of the artists’ concern with workmanship and fragmentary elements of equivocal narration or imagery, with analytical, symbolic or conceptual dominants. These are now yours to discover and explore.
- Jacques Doyon (translated by Sylvie Schmidt)
- Press release (Optica)

Launching of the catalogue and round table:
The round table, an event organized by “Art Talks”, will bring together Ginette Legaré, Louise Viger, Michel Saulnier and Jacques Doyon. They will discuss the organization and concerns of the workshop and its participants as well as its effects on their work.

Bibliographie
Pringle, Allan, « Histoires de bois: Wormwood », Etc, No. 6, Hiver 1989, p. 68-70.
Guilbert, Charles, « Bonjour les Arts Visuels! », Voir, 25-31 août 1988, p. 10-11.
Lamarche, Lise, « Histoire de Bois », Vanguard, vol. 18., no. 1, Février-mars 1989, p. 32-33.
Martin, André, « Histoire de bois », Parachute, mars-avril-mai-juin 1989, no. 54, p. 60-61.
Gravel, Claire, « Histoires de bois », Le Devoir, Samedi 5 novembre 1988, C-13.
Caron, Nathalie, « Histoire de bois: Envoye la Pitoune! », Voir, du 3 au 9 novembre 1988, p. 18.