78 Ophélie

Ink on paper, 2016

45.6 x 76.2 cm
$7 000
78 Ophélie is part of the series Constellation, for which Bertrand memorized a selection of poems by copying them repeatedly in a notebook. He never spoke the words out loud but relied solely on the process of rewriting the poems by hand. The number of times he had to read each poem to memorize it determined the number of times he rewrote it. For Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “Ophélie,” 78 readings were necessary—whence the title 78 Ophélie. This drawing-writing, which undulates like a watery surface, is traversed by a lunar form that refers both to the poem’s nocturnal theme and to Bertrand’s constellation project.
Biographical note
Simon Bertrand has been transcribing by hand some of the great founding narratives and excerpts of poetry and novels since 2008. His process enables the viewer to capture the spirit of each writing at a glance by making immediately visible the complete arc of the narrative. To this transcribing work is added a drawing practice that is rooted in repetitive gesture, the essential themes of which are metaphysics, alchemy, and quantum physics. Bertrand has exhibited his work, among others, at Galerie B-312, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, and the Galerie de l’UQO. His works are in private collections in Canada as well as in the collections of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and TD Bank.