FORMS, VO­LUME AND SPACE /

Ca­role Des­ga­gné

Magazin'Art - - Summary - Li­sanne Le­tel­lier

Ori­gi­nal­ly from Sa­gue­nay, Ca­role Des­ga­gné is pri­ma­ri­ly a wo­man of ac­tion who loves na­ture and the great out­doors. It's to pro­cure a se­cond wind for her al­rea­dy well-es­ta­bli­shed ar­tis­tic ca­reer in her re­gion that she de­cides to set­tle in Mont­réal. Her au­da­ci­ty proves to be a win­ning move as her art then ra­pid­ly ex­plodes and her vi­si­bi­li­ty has in­ces­sant­ly in­crea­sed over the last 5 years. Ex­ci­ted for what lays ahead, she al­rea­dy en­joys a high de­gree of pu­blic re­cog­ni­tion which has awar­ded her ma­ny prizes and dis­tinc­tions and lead her to the Car­rou­sel du Louvre in Pa­ris, to name but one ve­nue among all those she has conque­red. Her contemporary clay or bronze crea­tions ta­ckle the hu­man condi­tion in a ti­me­less fa­shion that pe­ne­trates the soul.

Rai­sed in a fa­mi­ly of se­ven chil­dren, by a mo­ther who was pas­sio­nate about arts, Ca­role Des­ga­gné is pri­vi­le­ged to be in touch with this vast ar­tis­tic uni­verse throu­ghout her youth. Be­sides the ori­gi­nal pain­tings that ador­ned the walls of the fa­mi­ly home and the nu­me­rous re­fe­rence books in the well-gar­ni­shed li­bra­ry that edu­ca­ted her eye and feed her mind, she still re­mem­bers all those ex­hi­bi­tions she was ta­ken to over the years. She is pri­ma­ri­ly drawn to­wards sculp­ture, al­though she draws a lot and paints for her own en­joy­ment. In 1993, she en­ters a visual arts stu­dies pro­gramme which in­cludes four sculp­ting classes. It is her true cal­ling! One of her tea­chers rea­di­ly re­co­gnizes how qui­ck­ly she grasps the prin­ciples of three-di­men­sio­nal art­work, which is not ea­sy for eve­ryone. As her other tea­chers al­so en­cou­rage her to fur­ther her ta­lent, she gains confi­dence and de­cides to pur­sue her trai­ning in this vein, em­bol­de­ned by the una­ni­mous sup­port she re­ceives.

She at­tends an in­ten­sive work­shop in Saint-jean-port-jo­li, where she mo­dels clay and learns to re­fine her tech­nique. She pro­duces a se­ries of works in plas­ter, unable to af­ford the high costs of cas­ting in foun­dry. Sel­ling most of her pieces du­ring her first ex­hi­bi­tion confirms to her that she has a right­ful place in this mi­lieu and pro­vides the mo­men­tum she needs to se­rious­ly consi­der an ar­tis­tic ca­reer. Sculp­ture will be­come her part­ner, her confi­dante, al­lo­wing her for the last 20 years to ex­press her most in­ti­mate emo­tions and share her love for life, as well as take a so­cial stand for va­lues of jus­tice and equa­li­ty. Since she loves gui­ding others and sha­ring what she has lear­ned, she has for the past 2 years been hol­ding trai­ning ses­sions for those who seek to dis­co­ver sculp­ture or fur­ther their know­ledge of the dis­ci­pline.

Words al­so play an im­por­tant role in her ar­tis­tic nar­ra­tive. Throu­ghout her rea­dings or while lis­te­ning to the ly­rics of a song, a word or an ex­pres­sion of­ten re­so­nates with her and thus is plan­ted the seed of an idea. Wi­thout any pre­li­mi­na­ry sket­ching, a shape

in­ter­nal­ly takes form. "Themes im­pose them­selves on me. The need to tell be­comes so strong, I have no other choice but to start wor­king on them," says the ar­tist. Wi­thout faces and of­ten wi­thout arms, her fi­gures ma­nage to in­ten­se­ly convey the sen­sa­tions that cau­sed them to im­merge from the mat­ter. Ad­mi­rers are of­ten brought to tears by the po­wer­ful vi­bra­tions they ex­pe­rience upon vie­wing her bronzes, which are de­cli­ned in dif­ferent shades of pa­ti­na, from ver­di­gris to light or dark gol­den. Her 10 years of clas­si­cal bal­let may have hel­ped her un­ders­tand the ma­ny ways a bo­dy can ex­press it­self through mo­ve­ment, concen­tra­ting ener­gy in some parts of the bo­dy or some ges­tures. "My mes­sage must es­sen­tial­ly pass through the po­si­tion of the hu­man trunk and head, to lend as much po­wer and ener­gy to the piece as pos­sible. I do not seek per­fec­tion."

She be­lieves the im­per­fec­tions of hu­ma­ni­ty are exact­ly what makes it co­lour­ful and she finds beau­ty in a per­son who ac­cepts her own weak­nesses. In her mind, there is al­ways a spark of light in suf­fe­ring or in mi­nor flaws and the­rein lies her vi­sion of hope and peace. In fact, hu­man re­la­tions take up in­crea­sin­gly more room in her life, which can­not but be re­flec­ted into her visual lan­guage. Al­though her sculp­tures are suf­fi­cient on­to them­selves, they ne­ver­the­less are al­ways ac­com­pa­nied with texts. Texts that bear wit­ness to the ar­tist's life ex­pe­riences at the time of the works' crea­tion and are spon­ta­neous­ly writ­ten right af­ter they are fi­ni­shed, len­ding a more in­tel­lec­tual di­men­sion to their in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

Ha­ving been in­vi­ted by the ow­ner of the Do­maine des Côtes d'ar­doise in Dun­ham, who has for the past 15 years been or­ga­ni­zing an out­door sculp­tures ex­hi­bi­tion dis­per­sed on the grounds of the wi­ne­ry, Ca­role Des­ga­gné has ac­cep­ted to sub­mit one of her works that is more than one metre high, com­po­sed of drift­wood, po­ly­mer and concrete. A fa­vo­rable res­ponse from the pu­blic en­cou­rages her to pur­sue other si­mi­lar pro­po­sals, thus broa­de­ning her field of ex­plo­ra­tion while in­di­rect­ly going back to sources, to Lac-saint-jean. On her kayak ou­tings on the Mis­tas­si­ni Ri­ver, she

ga­thers ero­ded branches to be used in new crea­tions that could be dis­played in­doors as well as in gar­dens. "Each work of art bears part of its crea­tor, which gives it cre­dence and presence to in­ha­bit the space where it is lo­ca­ted."

In the fu­ture, she hopes she will al­so have the op­por­tu­ni­ty to touch a maxi­mum of people's hearts by crea­ting giant or­na­men­tal sculp­tures erec­ted in places that are ac­ces­sible to all, thus al­lo­wing eve­ryone to ex­pe­rience art wi­thout ha­ving to vi­sit a gal­le­ry. Her en­vi­ron­men­tal alu­mi­nium crea­tion of more than 2 metres high, for a Shel­ter for wo­men in dif­fi­cul­ty, pro­ved to be a mi­les­tone she hopes to be able to re­pro­duce in a va­rie­ty of ma­te­rials. "An im­po­sing crea­tion ra­diates a won­der­ful fee­ling, and my de­sire to com­mu­ni­cate is overw­hel­ming," says the sculp­tor. Be­sides par­ti­ci­pa­ting in a num­ber of se­lec­ted sym­po­siums, Ca­role Des­ga­gné each year plans her own event in as­so­cia­tion with ano­ther ar­tist, a pain­ter, where they both exhibit their works for a week. It is im­por­tant for her to contri­bute to the ad­van­ce­ment of art in Qué­bec and wishes the pu­blic would in­crease its sup­port of re­gio­nal crea­tors in all dis­ci­plines. "We are a people rich in ori­gi­na­li­ty, ge­nius, co­lour and fla­vour! We have to ex­pand our reach and va­lo­rize our own ac­com­plish­ments," she af­firms with convic­tion.

Af­ter a se­cond par­ti­ci­pa­tion in the "Grand sa­lon de la sculp­ture" at the Mont­réal trade cen­ter, Ca­role Des­ga­gné will take part in an ex­hi­bi­tion en­tit­led En mou­ve­ment ! at the Port-mau­rice gal­le­ry of the Mai­son de la cul­ture de Saint-léo­nard, from mid-de­cem­ber to mid-fe­brua­ry. A first step to­wards even­tual­ly being part of the 1% ca­ta­logue, a go­vern­ment mea­sure whe­re­by com­pa­nies be­ne­fit from a tax de­duc­tion when pur­cha­sing a piece of art the­rein lis­ted. Al­so, at the re­quest of ma­ny, she will soon pu­blish a com­pi­la­tion of texts lin­ked to her sculp­tures, texts that more of­ten than not are ex­tre­me­ly mo­ving. And, she re­cent­ly star­ted to paint again, slow­ly, to see where it could lead her. The few acry­lic and pain­ting knife works, shown al­most pri­va­te­ly, have ge­ne­ra­ted po­si­tive reac­tions that may push her to fur­ther de­ve­lop her pic­to­rial pro­jects, since the en­joy­ment as­pect of it is de­fi­ni­te­ly present. Sculp­ture, of course, will un­doub­ted­ly re­main her main in­ter­est the tie that has been built being there to last, much as an al­liance cast in me­tal.

Ad­mi­rers can view some of Ca­role Des­ga­gné's pieces at La Ma­rée Mon­tante gal­le­ry in L'île d'or­léans, as well as at Suite 60 gal­le­ry in Three-ri­vers.

One can al­so vi­sit her web­site at: www.ca­ro­le­des­gagne.com.

Di­gni­té re­trou­vée L'as­cen­sion 2 Le saxo­pho­niste, cé­ra­mique, 30 x 12 x 10 cm, 2016

La joyeuse bande 1

Jazz-band, cé­ra­mique, 50 x 30 x 24 cm, 2015

Confiance, bronze, 26 x 18 x 12 cm, 2012

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