Text by Natasha Chaykowski
A word close to ‘ruin’ is ‘derelict’, yet these two terms prompt opposite reactions — a ruin inspiring poetry, the other calling for demolition.- Gilda Williams
The precariousness of all material arrangements is a cosmic reality. Nothing in this world is immune to the constant imperative of universal physical flux that manifests itself as ruination. Flowers sprout from seedlings and perish as frost settles in, even the most monolithic of buildings crumble at the foundations after years of erosion and subtle topographic shifting, and the passing of time takes an inevitable toll on our very own bones and skin. As they say, from ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Jannick Deslauriers’s woven sculptures fix specific moments in the process of change, inviting a consideration of impermanence through the use of delicate materials, whimsical forms, and their ethereal, floating presence.
The artist’s practice is characterized by a technique, use of materials, and aesthetic that is largely consistent; her sculptures are typically made of flimsy, translucent fabrics—lace and organza—that, when sown together in three-dimensional shapes, slump at odd angles, yearning to succumb to the demands of gravity. While her materials and aesthetic remain constant, her subjects are diverse, from industrial vehicles—tanks for example—and large pieces of furniture to preternatural arrangements of mushrooms and vivid displays of poppies. In rendering these varied objects—the organic and the manufactured—uniformly in diaphanous materials, Deslauriers fixes all matter in a state of delicate suspension.
In 2013, Deslauriers exhibited a series of works at Art Mûr that re-imagined construction implements—scaffolding, power tools, wheelbarrows—but here, she presents the antithesis of such creation in her consideration of the particularities of demolition. Her installation, a melange of drawing and sculpture, comprises a house, collapsing and half-broken, that expels an effluence of domestic and organic objects. These destructed materials are fixed in the moment of their reluctant acceptance of assured decay and disuse. Here, the artist contrasts the realities of demolition with floral forms, compounding the typically distinct material categories of the manufactured and the organic. Her works seem to suggest that, with the passing of time, these categories cease to exist at all.
Deslauriers’s delicate florals and gauzy textures usher her architectural subject matter from the domain of the derelict to that of the poetic, democratizing all forms of ruination; silk, lace, brick, and metal all in their turn decompose. After all, there are no material hierarchies in the realm of dust.