Serge ClÃ©ment, Au Passage PatienceAugust 2 2003 - October 30 2003
L’oeuvre de Serge ClÃ©ment, au Passage Patience, s’apparente Ã un journal de bord. L’artiste y fait cohabiter cÃ´te Ã cÃ´te des photographies saisies quotidiennement lors de son sÃ©jour Ã Saint-Jean-Port-Joli avec celles de mÃ©tropoles captÃ©es antÃ©rieurement lors de ses nombreux voyages. La lumiÃ¨re crÃ©pusculaire dont s’imprÃ¨gnent les images, tend Ã confondre les deux territoires en des temps et lieux indÃ©terminÃ©s. Cette fiction narrative condense les souvenirs, les ambivalences et les coÃ¯ncidences Ã©tranges. InstallÃ© Ã l’extÃ©rieur sur la terrasse arriÃ¨re du MarchÃ© Bonsecours, comme sur la proue d’un navire, le livre ouvert pointe vers le fleuve, nous invitant Ã remonter le cours de l’histoire de cet ancien lieu de transits et d’Ã©changes.
L’oeuvre au Passage Patience fut rÃ©alisÃ©e lors d’une rÃ©sidence estivale, ayant comme thÃ©matique: les Intrus, au Centre Est-Nord-Est Ã Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, au cours des mois de juillet et aoÃ»t 2001.L’installation fut par la suite prÃ©sentÃ©e au MarchÃ© Bonsecours Ã MontrÃ©al dans le cadre du Mois de la Photo Ã MontrÃ©al, du 7 septembre au 21 octobre 2001.
Au Passage Patience is about travelling and returning home, inviting us to contemplate ancient places and modern places. Serge ClÃ©ment’s life has taken on the epic of an odyssey. In search of his roots, he has travelled broadly from his native Quebec through South America, Europe and Asia, returning frequently to the places whose history became part of his inner quest.
In this body of work, the artist juxtaposes ancient places with familiar places. The journey becomes a contemplative one, reminding us of new ways of looking at our own surroundings. Each photograph exists as a combination of several visual elements, made with a single exposure, compelling us to unravel the seemingly disparate elements only to push us back to a visceral place.
The centrepiece of Au Passage Patience is a large-scale industrial waterproof book on a metal stand. The installation consists of twenty-four black and white photographs, each over three feet tall, mounted between steel covers. In turning the pages of this mammoth book, the viewer is propelled into a physical interaction with the work.
Created during a residency at Centre Est-Nord-Est in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec in 2001, the installation was first presented in the MarchÃ© Bonsecours as part of Mois de la Photo in MontrÃ©al in 2001. Installed outdoors, the open book pointed towards the river as if it were on the prow of a ship. It has the appearance of a photographic captain’s log and thus became an â€“invitation au voyage’. Like any vessel on a voyage, the installation shows evidence of the passage of time and exposure to the elements. Visitors have left memories of their own passage in the form of written notes on the blank pages of the book. Beneath the metal stand is a tray, made to display natural found objects that ClÃ©ment collected. These visual and tactile markers of the creative process add another layer to the journey.
Corkin/Shopland Gallery is particularly pleased to contribute to the evolution of this work by Serge ClÃ©ment, in presenting this installation at the waterfront site of the Gooderham and Worts Distillery in Toronto. The gallery is located in the Barrel Wash House, itself a â€“watery’ place during its industrial use. Here, as at the MarchÃ© Bonsecours, the work faces the water, part of a continuum linking the two cities of Toronto and MontrÃ©al. The Gooderham and Worts site was established on the waterfront and Mill Lane was the site of the first original windmill, acting as a marker of the passage from the water to the land. So we mark a decade of working closely with Serge ClÃ©ment.
The series of 26â€ x 39â€ black and white photographs by acclaimed photographer Serge ClÃ©ment captures the elusive effects of light and reflection in a maze of real and imaginary space. Au Passage Patience traces the artists’ wanderings through Spain, Hong Kong, Belgium and France. ClÃ©ment’s complex visual language assembles layers, edges and surfaces to startling effect. The playful lyricism of light, shadow and glass reflections capture the fleeting transparency of vision and illusion.
â€œClÃ©ment’s film noir obsession with the substance of shadow is one of the sources of strength of these pictures, but they move beyond a cinematic ambiance to arrive at greater complexities of vision, ineluctable elisions of surfaces and light, and a haunting poetry of their own.â€ (Gordon Baldwin, Fragrant Light, exhibition catalogue, 2000).
The work of Serge ClÃ©ment has been the subject of many publications and is found in many private and public collections including the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the BibliothÃ¨que nationale in Paris, the MusÃ©e de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium, the Heritage Museum in Hong Kong and the NicÃ©phore NiÃ©pce museum in France. Exhibitions include the BibliothÃ¨que nationale de France in Paris, the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, the Noorderlicht Photofestival in Groningen, Netherlands, the MusÃ©e du QuÃ©bec in Quebec City, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa and the MusÃ©e d’art contemporain in Montreal.