Clemency, subject to museum

Clemency at the museum? Really? Those who know her well may still be perplexed … Not because they do not see the relevance of an exhibition paying tribute to the 61-year career of the Sherbrooke artist, from the first monologues to the most recent drawings, through television, cinema, stage, poetry, songs … There is enough material to fill a museum space and attract a few thousand visitors, there is no doubt.
But knowing how much Alfred’s daughter hated to look back and how painful it was for the research and memory exercise when the late Hélène Pedneault wrote her biography, the first reflex would be to believe that she has probably opposed, from the outset, a categorical no.

Except that things were different this time around: “I did not have anything to do! she answers with an amused smile. That’s why I said yes! ”

So much to do only this exhibition, called Clemence. From the facet to the museum and open to the general public this Saturday, May 12, will be discovered by the main interested only an hour or two before the opening.

“I can not wait, but I am also intrigued to see this, if it will be alive, amazing … If it represents me well, it will be both happy and poetic. I admit that this project touched me and that I never thought that I would end up in a museum. It is true that I had a good life and I always hoped for small galleries for my drawings, but I never thought of a place as important as the Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts! ”

It must be said that she was confident: the instigator of the project is one of her great friends, the director Annie Boudin, who has signed a documentary about her and already had many of her drawings.

“Annie was really interested in this project, but I also really liked the people at the museum who took care of it. I found them very serious. »

Comprehensive dive

We could also talk about an unusual venture for the Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts. Unless I’m mistaken, the establishment had never mounted such an exhaustive exhibition of an artist. Because From factrie to the museum, as one might suppose, will not only present visual arts creations: it is a deep-sea diving in the complete world of Clémence, explains Catherine Duperron, project manager . What’s more, the exhibition will last six months, two more than the MBAS average.

Clémence did not have to dig through her personal archives, since she gave them to the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec in 2011. “They served mainly as a reference, most artifacts, photos, album covers and from the archives of Radio-Canada, the Alfred DesRochers Fund [Sherbrooke BAnQ], the Hélène-Pedneault Fund [BAnQ du Vieux-Montréal], the Musée de la civilization of Québec, private collections and that of Clémence, especially for drawings, “explains Catherine Duperron.

“It was more difficult to find some drawings, says Clemence, because we did not know who had bought them. Other owners did not want to part with it, like my friend Reine Malo, who has a beautiful, Sleeping like cats, but she loves him so much, it was too hard for her to lend. I think the museum still managed to make a good harvest. ”

Poetry in the songs

” The exhibition will explore the main creative drivers that have marked the work of Clemence, such as childhood, family, nature and women, says Catherine Duperron. It will also include listening stations where it will be possible to hear songs, poems, reports and archive extracts. A person who lingers over everything can easily spend an hour or two. ”

“Annie made me record the lyrics of my songs without music, so that people realize that they are poems at the beginning,” says Clemence.

A part was also reserved for the testimonies of other creators (but also of the public) who confide how Clemence was important for them. Visitors can also do the same, in a large notebook that will be given to the artist at the end.

“We just received the grant to make the exhibition traveling,” adds Catherine Duperron. The next step will be to find other Quebec institutions wishing to host it, but I know there are some who intend to present it. We hope she walks for at least two years and even goes to the smaller cities. Because Clémence really touched everyone in Quebec. ”

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