Sylvain Bigras
Artist invited to the Lycée Français de Chicago

The project is to produce, with students from a fifth year class at the Lycée français de Chicago, a series of works using wood pieces that had already been cut out. These objects could be in the shape of a sculpture, a wall sculpture or a brooch, according to each person’s inspiration.

I started by drawing the shapes onto some wood and then I cut them out. When I finished, I sent a box from Montreal to the Lycée in Chicago containing all of the pieces needed to finish the project. I then e-mailed the children and explained how we were going to get the project done.

After spreading out the wooden shapes on the tables as if we were going to take inventory, we will examine them and sort them out. Later we will trace them, paint them, glue them and cut them if we need to. And through the magic of creation, we will give a sense to what started out as insignificant shapes.

To achieve these sculptures, we will start by capturing wood shapes by tracing them on paper and painting what the tracing suggests. We will also use the paper to outline and to document the various stages of the sculptures throughout the project.

The first coats of colour painted onto the cuts of wood should not be definite. They should allow for a pictorial re-intervention of their surfaces once the sculptures have been assembled. So these shapes should be painted in such a way as to be integrated to a set of pieces, which will make up the sculptures.

Once the shapes have been painted, we will tackle the games involved with getting things assembled, with their multiple combinations. How do you get the shapes to hold? How do you provide the illusion of a character? How do you provide an architectural impression? It’s at that stage and with that questioning that our sculptures will take shape and take up space. They will suggest a story, an idea or an amusing construction. Doing things that way, with a flavour of adventure, we will take cuts of wood and create a very fascinating world.

See you soon.