Original language : French with english subtitles
Quebec, Canada 2014
Production : Les vues du jardin
Three artists – Louis-Pierre Bougie, François-Xavier Marange and Denis Saint-Pierre – have shared a studio for over thirty years when one of them is hit by cancer. Meanwhile, they all keep working, expressing their thoughts and feelings by craft, gesture, art, and poetry. A film about friendship and the people we love, about the shared heritage we leave behind and the things we take with us when we go. A film about life, but also about death and how we see life through it. A film about time and how it shapes us as we are.
A huis clos shot in the intimacy of the artists’ studio, the film spans two years, during which time we get to observe them as they go about their daily work. We never leave the studio, unless it is to make our way to another studio, an extension of their own. There, we find the nitric acid baths and presses used by Paule Mainguy, a long-time collaborator who trained under François-Xavier, to make the etchings. This marks our initiation to the art and gestures of copper etching, a centuries-old craft handed down from master to student in the secret space of the workshop. Here, the artist’s work is that of a craftsman whose gestures, repeated thousands of time over, seek to give shape to a work that, it is hoped, will transcend them. These daily, prosaic gestures aspire to capture an absolute and a beauty that it is impossible to describe in words. They are the expression of a quest for both the other and oneself, a quest that is perhaps found at the heart of all artists’ work.