The Canadian Art Database
 

   
VIDEO PORTRAITS

Françoise Sullivan
Video clips are either in French or English.
Video clips © CCCA & Linda Corbett_Eyeris Inc. 2008
Note: some videos may take 15-30 seconds to preload before playing.


Les Automatistes

Françoise describes the “seven magic years” that began one November night in 1941 when she and close friends Pierre Gauvreau and Bruno Cormier visited artist/activist Paul-Émile Borduas in his Montreal studio. Fired by a new attitude towards art and politics and influenced by the ideas of the French surrealists, these three formed the core of the group called Les Automatistes.

running time: 10:07 français
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Beaux-arts

In 1940, Françoise enrolled at the École des beaux-arts in Montreal. Inspired by the paintings of Bonnard, she soon broke from the stiff academic style of her professors to find her own voice. She recalls her friendship with classmate Louise Renaud and a series of vividly coloured portraits on corrugated cardboard painted during this early period.

running time: 5:36 français
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Danse dans la neige

Danse dans la neige was conceived as one of a cycle of 4 dances themed for the seasons. L’Été (now lost) was shot on 16mm film by Françoise’s mother while on holiday in July,1947. A spur of the moment invitation from Jean-Paul Riopelle in 1948 sparked the improvisational performance the next day of Danse dans la neige. Danced and directed by Sullivan, recorded on film by Riopelle and on camera by Maurice Perron, only the photographs survive.

The full cycle of four dances was finally completed 59 years later. Les Saisons Sullivan (2007), a collaboration involving Sullivan (choreographer/director) Mario Côté (filmmaker), Marion Landry (photographer), Louise Déry (writer), UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), and dancers Andrée-Maude Côté, Anik Hamel, Louise Bédard, and Ginette Boutin produced a film and limited-edition book.

running time: 13:26 français
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Dance

Françoise’ concept was to perform 4 improvisational dances outdoors on the theme of the 4 seasons. In this clip she describes how she and her mother filmed L’Été (now lost) while on holiday in July,1947. But autumn passed without the opportunity to perform a second dance. At a chance gathering with friends, in 1948 Jean-Paul Riopelle invited Sullivan to his country place near Mount Saint Hilaire the next day where she danced, Riopelle filmed and Maurice Perron photographed the moment. Sullivan’s spring dance was never completed but Danse dans la neige survives in a series of seventeen vintage photographs shot by Perron.

running time: 4:28 english
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Process

In an extraordinary career spanning over six decades,
Françoise Sullivan has created a multi-media body of work. In this clip she reflects on the essential elements of her work in dance, painting, photography and sculpture. The artist’s conception and intention are filtered through the push and pull of materials, technique, and hard work.

running time: 2:34 français
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Homage

The large-scale series Homage evolved over the period 2002 -2003 when a group of her dear friends died. The works are influenced by minimalism, yet are not minimalist. They are a celebration of colour, infused with depth created by thousands of brushstrokes made as thoughts of her friends, “inhabited” her. “Each touch follows the movement of the heart”, says Sullivan who teaches her students to bring a positive attitude to painting and cautions them not to “use colours without love”.

running time: 6:07 english
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