By Mathieu Teasdale
Maison de la culture de Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montréal
19.03.2022 — 15.05.2022
Presented at the Maison de la culture de Pointe-aux-Trembles, Sébastien Michaud’s exhibition Les jardiniers de la forêt walks the line between photographic documentary and realist narrative installation. Both of these positions, carefully articulated, help to contextualize the workers in the boreal forest north of Saguenay. Although the forest photographed by Michaud is constantly regenerated naturally – by insects or by fires – it is also shaped by humans, as these workers take part in the cycle of growing and cutting trees.
The exhibition follows and completes a long-term photographic research project. It brings together and summarizes three successive bodies of work known as Forest Gardeners. The three sections of Les Jardiniers de la forêt both cast an eye on the workers who model the forest and follow the growth of trees. The first section presents activity in the tree nurseries, viewed as sites of gestation. The second documents the work of tree planters who pass through often-surreal landscapes devastated by deforestation. The last illustrates the harvest, and its scenes contrast with those of the preceding sections. The uninterrupted labour of heavy machinery replaces the agility of the planters, showing how the slow time of the trees’ growth is overtaken by the quick pace of the economy. The verticality of the forests gives way to the horizontality of logs…
Mathieu Teasdale has been teaching literature at Cégep de Saint-Laurent for a number of years. After forays into theatre, political science, and comparative literature, he has developed an affinity for the visual arts.
[ Complete issue, in print and digital version, available here: Ciel variable 121 – WANDERINGS ]
[ Complete article and more images, in digital version, available here: Sébastien Michaud, Les jardiniers de la forêt — Mathieu Teasdale ]