In a world beset by the fantacious machinations of artificious intelligence, the distinction between the modes of imagination and those of fantasy is fundamental. The debate is not new: philosophers have long favoured imagination, which mobilizes a force and a depth that fantasy does not possess. For the 16th-century German mystic Jacob Boehme, for example, it was "bad imagination," phantasia, i.e., false desires, that alienated humans from Gods and led to the fall of Lucifer. Good or true imagination, on the other hand, puts us in touch with our nature, the very nature that modern psychology associates with latent influences and powers.
Alexandra Levasseur's paintings are celestial territories where the artist cultivates the mythical, symbolic and scientific universal imaginings through which humanity finds its place in the cosmos. This meditation gives rise to constellated characters, often female, who reign over these timeless gardens in perfect harmony with the cycles of life and death, growth and decomposition, renewal and fertility.
Isabelle Beaupré's small paintings, created with a skilful blend of acrylic and sand, charcoal and ground pastel, look like precious treasures buried in an attic or hidden in the dark corner of a flea market. Although the artist uses photographs taken at the Biodome and Botanical Garden in Montreal, we readily associate them with memories of a magical and mischievous childhood in the tropics.
On the other hand, Tuan Vu's large works source real memories of his childhood in Vietnam, filtered through his passion for the history of painting, particularly the work of artists he admires. Like Gauguin, Bonnard, Redon, Peter Doig and Matisse, he is a follower of art that celebrates all the senses, but in his case, sight, no doubt, but also hearing, smell, touch and even taste are summoned in a quest for a time regained.
Mégane Voghell's energy runs through the sheet of paper like electricity through the incandescent filament of a light bulb. To the seductive power of images, she opposes the force of extreme sensitivity. The slightest voltage and current intensity fluctuations are recorded on the paper's surface. It is a resistance that illuminates.
It does not matter whether it is our body or our environment; it all depends on our ability to transcend the boundaries that separate these planes. The "gestures of imagination" that establish the works of Isabelle Beaupré, Tuan Vu, Alexandra Levasseur and Mégane Voghell are born of a desire to do away with the limits that separate us from a real, invisible and omnipresent latency that inhabits us and that we inhabit.