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Fanny Mesnard
Artist

Qu├ębec City
March 13, 2019

Fanny Mesnard is a multidisciplinary artist who thinks from drawing. Her visual universe is peopled with hybrid characters evoking the animistic beliefs and fabrications that inhabit and condition human relationships with nature. She graduated from École supérieure des beaux-arts de Marseille in 2004 and completed a PhD in art studies from Université du Québec à Montréal in 2014. Her work has been presented in exhibitions at Art Mûr in Montreal, the International Contemporary Art Symposium of Baie-Saint-Paul, Centre National d’Exposition de Jonquière and Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain in Winnipeg. She is currently one of the participating artists in Manif d’art 9 – The Québec City Biennial, which is now on view until April 21.

1. Family



My partner and I are both artists, and, as such, maintaining a family life is certainly a daily struggle! Spending time with our son is essential to my creative process, and it isn’t always easy, particularly when I have several projects on the go. Constantly reinventing daily life and remaining attentive to each other is an ongoing effort involving collaboration, trust, love, and a lot of inventiveness. We are lucky enough to have an extended family, relatives, and friends that help us considerably, which contributes greatly to maintaining balance in our lives. In the same vein, as an immigrant, family history interests me more and more as time goes on. Indeed, I hope to soon finish a collaboration with my ninety-five year old grandfather where he recounts his childhood in Algeria as a Pied-Noir and his departure from that country during the time of independence.

2. The peat bog, the cottage



I’ve spent the past decade developing a special relationship with the nature surrounding our family cottage on the shores of Lac Ambroise in the Saguenay. I have gone through many changes in this place – as a woman, a mother and as a thinking animal – letting myself be guided and inspired by the abundance of plants, minerals, and wild animals that are especially numerous in a peat bog hidden in the nearby forest. The body of work presented at the Biennale de Québec is an intimate homage to the beauty and fragility of this place: a memento mori reflecting the simplicity and generosity of its ubiquitous forms and life forms, and everything they’ve taught me.

3. Travelling, experimenting



This year, I will continue my explorations with an exhibition in conjunction with my production residency on the Magdalen Islands, and another group exhibition at the Maison des artistes visuels francophones de Saint-Boniface in Manitoba. These events will bring me to explore separate territories, with a different perspective for each installation, deepening and enriching my practice with new sites, media, tools, techniques, and ways of understanding space. After having focused on explorations around one specific territory, I feel that the time has now come for me to look elsewhere and to embrace new patterns and experiences in my practice.

4. Growing fur!



The patterns that occur in nature are a continual source of inspiration for me. I use them to recount stories where interiority and exteriority come into contact, where new narratives can emerge during each new reading, and where types of expression stemming from the natural world and its forms can occupy their rightful place, for their own sake. Through my practice and the materials I use in it, I hope to embody a bridge, to convey my own reception, my own experience of these natural forms. Recently, for example, I have become obsessed with using repetitive fur patterns, which has led me to recount all kinds of strange stories through my drawings, paintings, and sculptures!

5. Collaborative work



I strongly believe in artistic collaboration. Isabelle Demers and I have been working together on collaborative projects since 2014. In 2016, we took on the moniker Demers-Mesnard for our public art duo. Our individual practices initially came together because of a shared fascination for the poetic and expressive force of animal and plant forms in the Boreal Forest. This artistic collaboration allows us to foreground our own ecological concerns while also generating generously “animalistic” projects that promote nature in the urban space.

 

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