Montréal artist Eve Tagny’s current practice reflects her thoughts on how traumatic grief disrupts the natural cycle of life, and on the paths that gently lead us toward healing and renewal. In recent years, Tagny has viewed the garden as both a natural and domesticated space, one that is imbued with a sacredness that is essential to her own journey. Condolere Sanctuaries presents the poetic visual lexicon of the garden and what it represents by means of a broad and critical viewpoint that equally examines the paradoxes of this site as sanctuary.
The walled garden carries multiple meanings for the artist. Laden with tension, these sacred spaces can help us deal with the traumas we carry in our body, such as grief, by focusing our attention on the vivifying energy of nature’s rhythms. But this enclosed garden can also isolate us from the realities of the outside world and lead us to withdraw into ourselves. Tagny is interested in our desire to control nature within these spaces, and how we carry out acts that alter the organic process, in the name of personal taste and cultural norms. The gardener cuts, uproots, and mows their environment into submission.
Through a series of installations on the gallery’s walls and floor, Tagny creates a kind of path that combines her photographs and videos with arrangements made out of earth, plants, dried flowers, and suspended plastic drop cloths as makeshift transparent walls. Two elements take on a particularly symbolic meaning: first, a dirt staircase is placed in front of a wall that leads nowhere. Second, an archway creates a fake exit. The reappropriation of these objects’ function must be understood differently. Through its composition, the staircase becomes an emblem of sorts. The dirt creates and nourishes all life that grows within it. The archway represents the passage from one state to the next, like a portal into consciousness. A mysterious energy is activated by the tension these objects exude and by the presence of natural materials in the gallery.
Tagny also presents a new video produced during a recent trip to South Africa. Here, the artist looks at the passage of time through changes that happen gradually, for instance, the day-long trajectory of a shadow across a wall. The video features a series of sequences in a Johannesburg garden that the artist knows well. In the background of the video are a yard filled with lush plants, reddish earth and a cottage that serves as kind of refuge. We see carefully choreographed rituals representing the cycle of life taking place in the garden, and various images of the garden landscape. Tagny’s latest piece is the synthesis of a project she has been exploring for some time and is a bridge into new concerns that are taking shape within her current practice.
- Mojeanne Behzadi (translation by Jo-Anne Balcaen)
Eve Tagny is a Montréal-based artist. She holds a BFA in Film production/documentary from Concordia University and a certificate in Journalism from the Université de Montréal. Navigating between writing, photography, video, and plant-based installations, she explores themes pertaining to body politics and the ever-evolving expressions of hybrid identities. Most recently, her practice has focused on restoring traumatic disruptions through nature. Her work has been shown at Xpace Cultural Centre, Critical Distance, VTape, Cooper Cole, Toronto; Never Apart, FOFA Gallery, Montréal, Canada; nGbk, Kleiner Salon, Berlin, Germany; WISHLESS Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. She has an upcoming solo exhibition at Gallery 44, Toronto (Canada).
The artist would especially like to thank Mabvuto Kumwenba and Simon Belleau, as well as Atelier CLARK (Natacha, Peter, Yan), Centre CLARK (Corine, Fanny, Manon, Roxanne), Centre Sagamie, Mojeanne Behzadi, Maryse Bouchard, Nicolas Deltiens, Verlee Deltiens, Lauren Mulligan, Paul from Limpopo, Peggy the dressmaker, Guillaume Simoneau, Florencia Sosa Rey, Alain Tagny, Caroline Tagny, Isaac Zavale, Guy-Jacob, Che, Harry.