Les Grands bateaux attendent (no 8)
20.32 x 20.32 cm
144, Rue Lindsay, Drummondville
Description of the work
With the series Les Grands bateaux attendent, artist Baptiste Grison delves into what he considers an anomaly in the seascape of the St. Lawrence River. A few kilometres off Trois-Pistoles and Les Escoumins is a stopover for the colossal merchant vessels from around the world that drop anchor at night and then disappear as mysteriously as they materialized.
Through the lens of a spotting scope, Baptiste Grison captures ships waiting to moor. His rudimentary photographic process muddles the images, adding to the enigmatic character of these apparitions in the river waters.
Is it a dream? The ship seems to be floating through the air, as the horizon, sky and river meld and slip away in an optical illusion.
About the artist
Baptiste Grison lives and works near the St. Lawrence River, in Bas-Saint-Laurent. In the course of his meanderings, he maintains a dynamic relationship with the landscape: “The landscape is an experience of space […]; you have to live it.”
Active since the late 90s, the artist holds a master’s degree in visual arts from Université Laval and a degree in art history from Université de Rennes II – Haute-Bretagne (France). His work has been featured in a number of solo and group exhibitions in France and Québec, as well as in various publications, exhibition catalogues and his artist book, Fatima (2017). Baptiste Grison’s practice has also served as the guest curator of exhibitions, including the Rencontre photographique from (2013 to 2015).
Baptiste Grison explores spaces that intrigue him—those that may seem trite but, to him, are wholly unique: a virtual border cutting across the river where cargo ships pause (Les Grands bateaux attendent), a national conservation park on which tourists are increasingly encroaching (Citadelle) and an Indigenous reserve in the heart of a streamless forest that was never actually occupied by First Nations people but continues to survive on maps (Les Barricades mystérieuses).
Experimenting with the photographic medium, he surveys sites like a geographer through a conscious ambulatory practice, gradually taking in what he sees and absorbing the space. These intent observations give way to a narrative he communicates through photos.
Baptiste Grison enjoys serial work. To him, an image can’t be worth a thousand words. Indeed, the combination and confrontation of different images create the story.
In his own words: “The huge vessels wait right across from where I live. I don’t see them come; I don’t see them go. I simply notice that one disappeared into the night or, on the contrary, appeared. Lying at anchor, often pointing west and flying the flag of Nigeria, Greece or Malta, they wait days and sometimes weeks. Through the lens of my telescope, I observe them and say to myself that someone must be busy doing something aboard. Filipino, Pakistani, Ghanaian? But never any silhouettes on the deck. Then I think back to the sailors bored to death on the Pytheas, Gerasimos and Diamandis in the Nikos Kavvadias novel.”