You might remember the extraordinary exhibition, of “Scènes de Crime” by Ariane Fruit at Galerie Documents 15, in 2018? The French artist had engraved the linoleum floor of her studio and designed a whole interior in black and white with a multitude of tools and other details, an atmosphere just out of a thriller. In 2019, at 43, she went traveling on the train from Toronto to Vancouver, and made large woodblock prints of the landscape, 58 cm X 94 cm, the size of the train’s windows. It is spectacular and you can see her works exhibited at Documents 15 until May 7.
Ariane Fruit used to be a photographer when that meant spending hours printing negatives, from traditional (argentique) photographs. With the growth of digital photography, she felt the urge to go back to a more technical art and studied to be a printer. The artist likes to reproduce movement and some of her images from the train are blurred just like her previous metro scenes, “Meutes” shown in 2018.
In this new adventure from Toronto to Vancouver, which took four nights and five days over 4 466 kms of The Canadian train journey, Ariane Fruit took photographs which she then used for engraving the woodblocks. She happened to be in Quebec for the International Biennale of contemporary prints in Trois-Rivières which she attended for the second time and decided to go on the journey after she won a Prize. All prints were made from 2020 to 2022 including during lockdown.
Her love for speed and blurred pictures is concretized here when she moves from forests of pine and birch trees to vast cultivated fields. Birches are her favorites because of their great graphical strength. The building of the Canadian Pacific train line took only four years in 1881 to 1885 and it greatly helped develop this huge country through Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton. It has become mythical since. The artist was fascinated by the large sights and extraordinary forests she went through. I once took a similar journey from Vancouver to Lake Louise on a Greyhound bus and was just as mesmerized by the mountains and fields.
The exhibition of 17 prints is extremely striking because of the large size of the prints (58 cm by 94 cm) and it is worth taking the time to visit the lovely gallery in the latin quarter at 15 rue de l’Echaudé. Her prints will be available at the gallery after the end of the show and also online (800€ unframed and 1 000€ framed). Documents 15 until May 7. Her next exhibition will at Fondation Taylor in March 2023.
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