Universe Gardens (Since 2007)
During the time I worked as an art therapist I learned to organize my work environment to allow me to receive patients while continuing to pursue my artistic research. Depending on the needs of each patient, setting up and arranging things appropriately was a constant preoccupation. None of my artwork or that of other patients should be visible when a new patient arrived. To this end I had set up two adjoining stores in the workshop; one for to hold art-therapy tools and materials, and work done by my patients, and a separate one for my ongoing art projects. The fundamental aim was to disassociate my two parallel activities: art and art therapy.
During the winter of 2007, experiences with my patients coupled with my own questioning of how I existed in my studio compelled me to revisit this framework and my very mode of existence in this space. A particular encounter with an autistic patient drove me to challenge my position. He asked me to adjust my physical posture and movements: I had to support him without any pressure (avoiding sideways glances, loud noises, sudden movements, etc.) while responding to his questioning, "if I do something here, who are you to do nothing next to me?”
As a result, on a table alongside his, I took a black A4 sheet, as he worked with a white sheet four times as large. We both were facing the windows opening to the street. My patient started to hatch areas of his drawing, a process he pursued from week to week. I used a tool that allowed me to operate in a discreet and methodical way; I started my first cuts with the scalpel. I spontaneously opened tiny windows in the dark sheet. I uncovered plots by following perspectives with random orientations. When my first paper frame was almost finished, my patient exclaimed:
"How did you know that there were all those squares on your sheet? "
I answered that I did not know it and that I would continue to discover others perhaps ...
Understand that this experience is not usual in art-therapy, and is part of a more extensive methodology that I won’t go into here. What I want to convey with this anecdote is that some creations are imposed on me as bridges or gateways for unanticipated reasons.
The resulting work is an approach that grew beyond its initial inspiration. It grew as it is articulated within itself and with its environment: the series of my carvings is ritually pursued freehand on black paper in a solitary exercise of concentration. It also reveals itself through video projection; the interplay with architecture and sometimes my other works in the scenography of my shows gives a unique function to each of my kirigami or cutarts, and conveys a coherence across scales, hence: "Universe Gardens".