La conjugaison des pensées complexes.
CIRCA Art Actuel, Montréal.
From March 18 to April 22, 2023.
(What Nowhere Knows) a text by Daniel Canty.
Louis Bouvier’s work, The combination of complex thoughts, has the feel of a Victorian romance.
Bouvier’s studio is located in the former parish hall of St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Hochelaga, which burned down in 1923. The ghost of this English church, far away in the French-speaking east end of Montreal, must have exerted an excessive pressure on my imagination. When I visited Louis’ studio, the works in progress immediately brought me back to my reading of Samuel Butler’s Erewhon, published in 1872.
Erewhon is, isn’t it, the flip side of Nowhere. A conjectural country, forgotten at the antipodes, in a fold of New Zealand or Australia. The kind of place, which before the advent of the Global Positioning System, could quietly continue to thrive with the benefit of the doubt, and where the ruins continue to elude aerial survey. In my imaginary travel memories––which, I must say, are a few decades old––singing sculptures guarded the entrance to Nowhere country. Tall stone pylons, pierced like flutes, where the wind modulated a ghostly melody. I went back to the book, just to verify this image. Butler assures us that the song of the statues takes up an air of Handel, and goes as far as providing a score. The pylons, which I had eroded to the point of abstraction, are atavistic idols, stone monsters, survivors of some obscure anthropology, predating the non-existence of Erewhon by millennia…