Interview | Art Toronto

Art Toronto SOLO – Studio Visit
Fall 2018

SOLO Studio Visit: Véronique La Perrière M

Booth S8
Galerie D’Este (Montreal)

Describe your studio/place of work. What is important to you about your workspace?

For the past years, my studio is in my home in a quiet neighbourhood of Montreal. The studio is a large bright room, all white and with no permanent things on the wall. I try to keep the space very minimal and organized. When starting a new project, I aim to create this impression that I am working in a large white page, an empty space ready to open onto something new. Through my window, I see a park with all its trees. I love this view. I have several tables in the room, but I often work on an old wooden drafting table that comes from my family. I like the idea that I am working on something somehow historic. One advantage of working from home is that everything is in one place. I like having all my books nearby for reference and inspiration. My favourite ones are on a shelf in the studio. I also appreciate being able to work late at night in pyjamas.

How would you describe your practice?

I would say that I have a multimedia practice that is deeply rooted in drawing as a process. As I mainly work with dry material on paper, I am also exploring printmaking, paper cutting, photography, video and installation. I see drawing as a way of dreaming, attracting the unexpected and unknown, and it keeps informing my ideas and my way of experiencing creation. My personal life and story are intimately, and perhaps secretly, embedded in my art practice. Reflecting on my individual past and how I relate to it is a laboratory for my reflection about the world, others and the future. The intersection between myth and history, both on an individual and a collective level, is a place where I seem to always return. I am interested in exploring liminal, threshold and uncertain time-space. Literature and philosophy are a constant source of inspiration; my art practice goes hand in hand with a library book loan practice.

How has your practice evolved over time?

I feel my practice is different than 10 or 15 years ago, but it is also very similar. It seems the things I am searching for and the questions that animate me and are still quite similar. My interest in our relationship and perception of the past has deepened but it has also brought me to re`ect more on the future tense. I now explore how the time of dreaming and imagination relate to both the past and the future.

I have always navigated using different media, but with time drawing has crystallized as a core practice. I think I work faster and with more conldence now, but I am always searching for vulnerability and to surprise myself. I also lnd a lot of inspiration and creative energy in collaboration with other artists, mainly through an art collective I am part of, The Society of Affective Archives. In the past years, we have been working in the public art leld and those projects brought processes that have opened up new horizons and thoughts about art and its functions.

What works can we expect to see at Art Toronto 2018?

The works I will be presenting at the fair emanate from a new series on the theme of the explorer and self-transformation. This series took shape partly in relation to the reading of the 1961 science-lction novel Solaris, by the writer Stanislaw Lem. In this story, scientists and space explorers who are studying a new planet and form of life, are forced into unsettling introspective experiences while being confronted by apparitions of their past. As they explore the unknown at the limit of the universe, the story reminds us that mystery also lies within ourselves. I was drawn by this proposition, that we carry unknown worlds, and that the past is, as the future is, unpredictable. A quote from the poet T.S. Eliot, which I have integrated in one of the drawings that will be exhibited at the fair, both summarizes and opens the ideas around this research:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the lrst time

More concretely, I will be presenting a series of drawings and 3-dimensional paper-cut objects made of charcoal on paper. Along with an exploration of the surface of the paper, I am interested in how drawing can meet sculptural and narrative form. I wish the work will be an invitation to enter into an introspective and dreamlike space, carrying those ideas about time travel, discovery and unknown land.

What do you want people to take away from your work?

I hope my work can bring a sense of enchantment and can testify to the mystery and fragility of existence. A deep drive when I make art is the intention to share; share with others part of my existence and share feelings such as loneliness, pain and wonder. I wish people can also take away from my work a reminder or an echo that reality is deeper, layered and more mysterious than its surface appearance. Finally, I hope my work can draw viewers into the realm of dreams and recall the forces of the poetic and imagination for resilience and for the future.

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