Magali Baribeau-Marchand didn’t arrive at Est-Nord-Est empty-handed. Intending to establish a first phase of exploration for her master’s degree, she wanted to define a way of re-enchanting the infra-ordinary, and she mixed objects gleaned on site with those gathered in the past, which she had brought with her from Saguenay to Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. Her approach begins with many small choices – that is, with very close attention to the micro-relations between things. In this accumulation resides what she calls the “self-process method of discovery.”
Baribeau-Marchand travels from residency to residency, from country to country, forming a mindful connection with each place that hosts her. The object thus arises as a situation. It embodies an offering and hospitality; sometimes, it is incorporated as a gift – to another person or to the public space. Baribeau-Marchand’s abiding interest in the object flows from a desire to remove the hierarchical associations between the living and the non-living. Influenced by “material vitality” (Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter, Duke University Press, 2010), she treats matter as something with its own agency, with which she can infuse interactions. She also gathers cultural symbols that might be meaningful in a given context. For example, she prints motifs onto roof tiles. The nature of the motif is not as important as their poetic function; related to clouds and smudges, they act as a veil superimposed on the history of the material – such curved tiles once having been shaped on the thighs of women workers. Other elements are used for their formal aspects – for example, how the light affects them. Baribeau-Marchand explores this in a video that she is producing, Inventaire aléatoire des choses qui vibrent (Random inventory of things that vibrate). She frames her subjects so that it is impossible to correctly identify the objects being handled. What counts here is not the functional use of an object, but the meaning added by her manipulations of it.
During her eight-week residency at Est-Nord-Est, Baribeau-Marchand delved further into her actions of discovery: bringing together objects – mirror, white shells, used wooden beam, lamp-switch chains, netting, and so on – then finding how to activate and assemble them so that their forms responded to each other. Not necessarily trying to set a particular significance for her many choices, she seized upon opportunities for rituals in the situations that she created. Her work is a poetry of attention, a way of magnifying the ordinary.
Magali Baribeau-Marchand is interested in the infra-ordinary as a source of re-enchantment. As she travels, she explores the idea of emotional territory. Her visual arts research is deployed through a practice involving objects that are at once sculpture, installation, and process, manifested in numerous gestures of assemblage and the desire to live in spaces differently. She resides in Saguenay and is pursuing a master’s degree in art at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. In recent years, she has participated in creative residencies in Québec, France, and Russia. Her work has been shown in Québec and elsewhere in exhibitions and art events.