Jean-Yves Vigneau

Artist Statement

My island is not merely a parcel of land surrounded by water; it is the focal point of all my horizons. I was born in the Magdalen Islands on an island so small I could see the sea all around me just by turning my head. With one glance, I could contemplate the whole world. The landscape and culture of islands have shaped my view of the world and have made of me an islomane, a word coined by Lawrence Durrell to describe an individual who, although apparently normal, is afflicted by a sort of mental disturbance and experiences an indescribable intoxication at the mere idea of a small parcel of land surrounded by water. I have cultivated my emotional and aesthetic relationship with the maritime landscape and culture like most islanders who find themselves on the mainland and continue to identify with their island roots. Over the years I have translated this attachment into a body of work that includes sculptures, installations, drawings, photographs and videos. The evocative power of islands is yet another expression of my islomane spirit, of the island within me that I haul around like a child pulls a favourite toy.

Through in situ works often inspired by legends and myths, shoals and shipwrecks, it’s always a bit of my own story that finds expression in new landscapes. At the same time, I remain permeable to the places and the people in them, developing new rapports with the viewer. New perspectives are born, because when the sea stretches out as far as the eye can see, the mind sets about inventing horizons.

About the Artist

Born in the Magdalen Islands, Vigneau studied fine arts at the University of Moncton and the University of Québec in Montreal. His work includes sculpture, in situ, installation, video, drawing and photography. The landscape and culture of islands shaped his view of the world and continues to provide the main backdrop for his artistic practice. A recipient of multiple grants from the Québec Council of Arts and Letters and the Canada Council for the Arts, he has presented many solo exhibitions and participated in numerous symposiums and residencies, producing works in Canada, Poland, Wales, Finland, Brazil, Switzerland and France. Vigneau has also produced more than twenty permanent works in public spaces. He has worked as an instructor at the University of Québec in Gatineau and the University of Ottawa, and as artistic director of the artist-run centre AXE NÉO-7. He is currently president of La filature inc., a place for the production and presentation of visual art and media art, in Gatineau, Québec.

Water Flowers was originally created for Passages Insolites, a public art circuit design by EXMURO and presented by the City of Quebec. EXMURO is grateful to the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for its financial support.

Photo Credit: Stephane Bourgeois