Montréal, Monday, April 23, 2012 — What interested and motivated you to design the set for the road opera Alexandra? Tell us about your process and what inspires you?
I’ve known about Alexandra David-Néel since childhood. I met Pauline Vaillancourt in 2002, during a residency at the Studio du Québec à New York. Pauline’s tenacity and audacity in exploring theatrical and musical dimensions is something I admire. The thought of working on articulating a scenic space also pleased me because my installations are conceived as pathways that offer a visual and sensory experience which also encourages the viewer to move through the space.
I often create theatrical settings where three-dimensional objects re-frame and create a visual rhythm with large scale photographic sequences. When Pauline asked me to design the set for Alexandra, I was working in different volumes. One was a sculpture project composed of long three-dimensional modules that you walked through. And shortly before, I had just finished a project of photos of large icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland. These photos, taken from very close range, greatly inspired me in my set design work.
Alexandra’s repeated expeditions to Tibet, were sprinkled with complications, difficulties and challenges that she overcame with courage and determination. On a scenic level, we needed to come up with elements that could portray that journey adequately.
You are an artist of international renown, where can we see your work?
Presently, until May 9th, my work can be seen at the Musée d’art moderne André Malraux (MuMa) in Le Havre, France. This exhibition entitled Boréales, is an important monograph which shows a series of several large installations, combining sculpture, architecture and scan-photography, created between 2007 and 2012. I also have a solo exhibition at the Galerie François Paviot in Paris which also ends in May. Finally, my work can be seen in group shows, with installations, at the galerie de l’École des Beaux-Arts de Paris in “L’Arbre et le photographe” and at the Musée Réattu de Artes in ACTE V. In that exhibition, I have a fairly elaborate piece in a very large room that will be displayed for the entire year.
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