Public opening, Thursday, April 14, 6–8 p.m., in the presence of the artist and the curator, Angela Grauerholz (welcoming address, 6:30 p.m.)
The work of Michèle Lemieux, illustrator of children’s books, animated filmmaker and educator, proposes a reflection on the representation of reality, time and the human condition. The exhibition The Whole and Its Parts: From Drawings to Animated Films invites the viewer to discover the visual experimentations, working methods and aesthetic of an exceptional artist, the director of films, the latest of which, Here and the Great Elsewhere, was produced at the National Film Board of Canada between 2010 and 2012 with a remarkable instrument, the pinscreen, invented in France by the filmmakers Alexandre Alexeïeff and Claire Parker during the 1930s. Thanks to an exceptional loan granted to the Canadian Cultural Centre by the CNC, the public will have the opportunity to see the instrument on which the world expert in this technique, Michèle Lemieux, works on in the NFB studios in Montreal, which also possesses one of the rare restored examples of a pinscreen.
The images of the pins, shadows projected onto a white surface, are ephemeral. A fixed camera photographs each drawing, and then transmits it to a computer, which records the successive images produced by the tiny changes made to the support. Very malleable, the pin screen naturally lends itself to morphing one image into another but within the confines of a fixed frame. The exhibition aims to show the demands this screen of 240,000 black steel pins makes on its user and the metaphysical questions that it raises.
Beyond a reflection on the work of Michèle Lemieux and an introduction to her creative process, this exhibition hopes to open a wider debate beyond the use of drawing in art making, and in film animation in particular, and to address the implications of the use a tool as archaic as the pinscreen in contemporary art and design. The way the artist has been able to reveal the potential of a screen that at first glance is archaic and restrictive and simultaneously exploit the wealth of possibilities new technologies offer, highlights both the paradoxical nature of an instrument, which is as surprising as it is mysterious, and the contradictions inherent in artistic creation in the current context.
This exhibition is a production of the Centre du Design de l’Université du Québec à Montréal. It is presented in partnership with the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée (CNC), the Archives Françaises du Film and the National Film Board of Canada.