French artist and author Olivier Bodart, currently based in PEI, will present his exhibit Imperial at The Gallery @ The Guild in Charlottetown. Imperial will be on display August 9 to September 5 with an opening reception on August 11 from 5–7 pm.
Imperial is the name of a county in the far southeast of California in the Sonoran Desert. The sparsely populated area is very arid. “Life in this desert requires a certain will, or even a certain ingenuity,” explains Bodart.
Imperial, the project, describes the year (2020) that Bodart spent in this county, blocked between the four walls of a house he was renovating. The pandemic, fires and pollution—everything seemed to force him to stay confined in the desert.
Bodart set up a project that would evoke a possibility of escape. While the outside natural elements were gradually coming inside the house, sand blowing through a crack in the door for example, Bodart reproduced, on the ground, a 3D map of Imperial County. The pile of sand gathering on the kitchen floor would become a dune, a stone washed up on the living room floor was transformed into a cliff. This new panorama at ground level became the scene of a photographic stroll, the setting favourable to a phantasmagorical and artistic escapade through the landscapes of a reconstructed valley.