Carole Baillargeon’s work, while being contemporary in nature, also shares roots with the tradition of craftsmanship, considering the processes and techniques displayed. Her work is supported by staging strategies associated with scenography. Although she is mainly known as a contemporary fiber artist, Baillargeon is nevertheless interested in a wide range of materials, which she collects and uses either as ready-mades or as raw materials. Her relationship with matter is what triggers the materialization of her work. By acknowledging the history, memory and functions of the recycled elements she incorporates, Baillargeon instills her work with complex meanings and proposes new ways of perceiving and creating.
In order to evoke the complexity of the human experience, Baillargeon associates different ideas such as fiction and experiences from historic, universal and personal sources that she transposes in assemblies of everyday objects and transformed raw materials.
The importance given to the choice of materials and creation processes can be affiliated to the revival of contemporary fiber arts and the theory of mediology (Régis Debray, 2000), who suggests that matter precedes the idea. In this way, she underlines the importance of the original gesture and its context in history. Baillargeon’s fabrication process can often be linked to the DIY (do-it-yourself) movement or Slow Craft. As such, her art is not the fruit of technical virtuosity but of patience and will.
The human body is often represented in her art, albeit it is evoked through its fragmentation or its absence. This particularity implies a mnemonic game that we can find in her choice of materials, fabrication process and in our haptic relation with the artworks. The artist plays with our sense of touch, specifically the feeling of matter, the kinesthetic phenomena that promote the perception of our body in the environment and the power to project oneself into the fabrics as we would with a piece of clothing on a hanger. In her installations, each element has an individuality as well as a sense of collectivity. It is just as how an individual, while being autonomous, is also part of a society.
Over the past three decades, Carole Baillargeon’s art practice achieved recognition in Québec, America and Europe. She has been awarded many prizes and grants throughout her career. Notably, she received the prize Hommage en métiers d’art in 2016, and the prize for the international influence of her art at the Galas des prix Excellence Arts et Culture for the Québec and Chaudière-Appalaches regions. She has been honored with the grand prize City of Québec at the biennial show Découverte in 1993. She completed her Ph.D in Study and Practice of Arts at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), a Master Degree in Fine Arts at Concordia University in Montréal and a BA in Scenography for Theater at Concordia University. Recently, the exhibition Paysages-Vêtements has been presented in: Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec and the Museum of Contemporary Art of Baie-Saint-Paul. She lives and works in Deschambault and Québec City.