Serge Clément, Archipel — Alexis Desgagnés, Geography of an Archipelago

[Summer 2019]

Serge Clément, Restes – Paris, France, 1998,de la série / from the series Courants ~ contre-courants, 2007 épreuves argentiques / gelatin silver prints 100 × 67 cm.

Serge Clément, Restes – Paris, France, 1998,de la série / from the series Courants ~ contre-courants, 2007 épreuves argentiques / gelatin silver prints 100 × 67 cm.

By Alexis Desgagnés

[Excerpt]
In 2014 in Quebec City, photographer Serge Clément and I presented the exhibition Constellations, composed of a corpus of photobooks drawn from Clément’s impressive collection. Our intention was to examine his privileged relationship with photobooks, and thus to encourage reflection on this type of work and contribute to its legitimization as art. At the time, art historian and curator Zoë Tousignant met with us to write an article on our project for Ciel variable.1

Over the course of time, Clément and Tousignant have developed a fruitful relationship. Tousignant organized the group exhibition Accumulations in 2015, featuring work by Clément, Michel Campeau, and Bertrand Carrière, and recently she curated his exhibition Archipel, a retrospective overview of his photographic mock-ups and photobooks produced since 1979, at Occurrence2 . I had the pleasure of getting together with them again, this time to talk about their project.3

In the main gallery at Occurrence were a number of tables on which were placed various mock-ups and books that Clément has produced over his career. Although some of these objects were under glass or placed so that one could see them in their entirety from a distance, most were accessible so that they could be touched and looked through. Table after table, and each book one by one, the exhibition formed a kind of archipelago to be explored – a topographic overview of the photographic work that Clément has produced. Although no chronological path was explicitly proposed, it was possible to perceive a trajectory, a process, from the oldest mock-ups to the most recent publications…
Translated by Käthe Roth

[See the printed or digital version of the magazine for the complete article.
Available here : Ciel variable 112 – COLLECTIONS REVISITED]

1 Constellations was presented at VU, centre de production et de diffusion de la photographie, in Quebec City, from March 21 to April 20, 2014. See Zoë Tousignant, “Unpacking Serge Clément’s Library,” Ciel variable 98 (Autumn 2014): 46–53.
2 The exhibition Carrière, Campeau, Clément: Accumulations was presented at Galerie Simon Blais (Montreal) from September 4 to October 10, 2015. The exhibition Archipel was presented at Occurrence (Montreal) from November 16 to December 21, 2018.
3 Unless otherwise indicated, all quotations in this article are taken from an interview that I conducted with Clément and Tousignant on Friday, January 18, 2019, in Montreal.

 
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