Agathe Piroir is a master printer, editor and gallery owner in the field of printed art. She continues a family tradition begun by her father, Alain Piroir, in 1975 in Paris, where he collaborated with Max Ernst, Francis Bacon and Roberto Sebastián Matta. In 1995, invited by Jean Paul Riopelle to l’Île aux Grues, Alain Piroir assisted the artist in creating an art book called Le cirque. Composed of original engravings accompanied by texts by Gilles Vigneault, this work marked the beginning of his career in Quebec. A member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, he is recognized as a distinguished artisan by the Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec. As for Agathe Piroir, she printed Le cirque and also worked for Goodwin in New York, with Kiki Smith, Robert Rauschenberg and Terry Winter. She derives great satisfaction from the deep dialogue she establishes with artists in the creation of artist books and prints.
The project brings together artists from various parts of Canada, such as Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Participants include Hélène Dorion, Joséphine Bacon, Chantal Ringuet, Jamasee Pitseolak, Peter Krausz, Catherine Farish, Olivier Bodart and Monique Martin. Each artist organizes community meetings in their home province or territory to encourage the active participation of local residents. The objective of this ambitious project, under the direction of Agathe Piroir, is to create an artists’ book that delves into the themes of nature, Indigenousness and migration by establishing dialogues between poetry and the visual arts that draw upon the works of Jean Paul Riopelle for inspiration.
The task of carrying out this project falls to the Atelier-Galerie A. Piroir, under the direction of Alain and Agathe Piroir, who are experienced master printers and engravers. They will provide support for the artists and promote the art of printmaking as a form of artistic expression. Agathe will supervise and bring the various stages of the project to fruition, from start to finish.
Workshops will be organized and facilitated by three poets and five visual artists specifically selected on the basis of the themes dealt with in the works of Jean Paul Riopelle. Each poet and artist will supervise a workshop focusing on one of the three main themes of the project. The objective is to promote creative exchanges, promote collaboration and provide participants with a rewarding experience that could be expanded into a unique artistic process.
The artists’ book, the project’s centrepiece, will consist of three poems translated into English and Innu‑Aimun as well as eight prints. The Atelier-Galerie A. Piroir will be responsible for producing and publishing this artwork, which will then be exhibited in four different locations, including at the Atelier-Galerie A. Piroir, the Trois-Rivières International Contemporary Print Biennial, the Musée des métiers d’art du Québec and the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. At each of these locations, a presentation of the artists’ book will be organized to promote the artworks created as part of the project.
This ambitious project provides a unique opportunity to bring artists from across Canada together and create an artistic dialogue between poetry and the visual arts, while exploring essential themes, such as nature, Indigenousness and migration. It showcases the vital role that printmaking plays in our society and offers the public an unforgettable experience.
Realized within the framework of the centenary
The creation of the Foundation was inspired by the dream of Jean Paul Riopelle, who wished to pass on his passion for art, his vision and inspire the next generation of artists to explore, innovate and surpass their creative potential.