Back to Our Work


The book of Origins
International Exhibition
of contemporary design bindings

Cathy Adelman | Eric Alstrom | Michèle Amiot | Françoise Beaulieu | Christiane-Marie Bès | Françoise Biéri-Jama | Marlyn Bonaventure | Christiane Bour | Myriam Buecher-Pepino | Ghislaine Bureau | Michelle Castellan | Isabelle Chasse | Joan M. Collins | Hélène Delprat | Jean Des Lierres | Odette Drapeau | Laurence B. Duffar | Nadime Dumain | Monique Dupuis | Michèle Forget | Hélène Francoeur | Keiko Fujii | Lisette Gaucher | Wilfredo A. Geigel | Corinne Germez-LeRebeller | Emmanuel Guesquière | Nicole Renée Guesquière | Monique Gosselin | Philip Gremaud | Karen Hanmer | PerAnders Hübner | Hélène Jolis | Scott Kellar | Monique Lallier | Jacqueline Lellouche | Martine Lemay | Catherine Lévèque | Christiane Mairesse | Michel Marchesseau | Aline Mauger | Louise Mauger | Raquel Minteguia | Lucie Morin | Stephen Murphy | Antonio Perez Noriega | Adda Papadopoulos | Isabelle Poitras | Sylvie Richard | Daniel Rieu | Carlos Sanchez-Álamo | Anne-Marie Saint-Onge | Marie Johanne Senécal | Karydomatis Stathis | Alain Taral | Kaarina Tienhaara | Evelyne Toulotte | Jonathan Tremblay | Gerritt Vanderwerker | Véronique Van Mol | Peter D. Verheyen | Céline Vincent

The beginning

The Livre des origines exhibit has been in the works for more than three years. At first, it was only an idea discussed at the meetings of Les Amis de la Reliure d'Art du Canada. As a complement to our regular activities, we wanted a memorable event, one that would go beyond the Canadian and North American borders, one that would make cultural treatment, decor and material use differences stand out. This ambitious project required a sufficient number of participants from different countries so that their training, techniques and sensitivity would be quite distinct.

We are overjoyed to have brought this undertaking to term given the beauty and the quality of the work received. The "Amerindianess", as we call it in Quebec, gives rise to very mixed interpretations in the media. It is considered as a guardian of forgotten knowledge, of sensitivity towards nature, towards Gaia, that continuously questions the runaway consumerism and urban development practiced by many.

What held the attention of the art binders was the unique character of the Huron Nation, which, let us not forget, is upstream of all that took place in America. Its influence on our knowledge and our interests is far from negligible, notwithstanding that part of their blood also flows in our veins.

To our knowledge, only one Amerindian bookbinder is registered in our exhibition. This means that we must look at it from an "outsider's" point of view. André Ricard himself, author of the Livre des origines, is a Quebecker of French descent; his interpretation can therefore not be entirely free from myth and fiction. It contains however all we need to ponder: an open point of view, a thought yet to be fully formed and a vague mixed colour that allows the binders free reign to be imaginative and creative.

Ricard has found the right words to translate a part of the Amerindian reality. He has not said everything, but his comments are thought provoking. However, even by using colourful language and metaphors, the logos cannot say everything and a body, a decor, textures and colours had to be added to convey a quality of perceived sentiment from one book to the other. An image stands out; this is not surprising as it is marked by "rusticity", "simplicity", "asperity" and "minimalism". There are however few concessions to clichés, as the techniques utilised are very modern and often innovative.

Those who believe there is no Amerindianess in the words and the objects made by our non-Indian artists are wrong. In fact, nothing can be fixed in our memories without passing through the relay of thought and sensibility. Thus there can be much truth in the Livre des origines exhibit, that of the Huron People as seen by "others". I congratulate all participants that have generously lent us the fruit of their reflection and serious work on the subject we proposed.

The Author
From the stage to the written word

By the time he was 67 years old, André Ricard had greatly contributed to the life of the arts in the Quebec City and Montreal regions. Between 1957 and 1968, he acquired a university education in letters at Laval University, which he combined with studies at the Quebec Performing Arts Conservatory, where he confirmed his taste for the theatre. He established himself by founding and directing the L'Estoc Theatre, where he was stage director and scriptwriter. He then became a scriptwriter and broadcasting director for Radio Canada radio and television and for Radio-Québec television. He produced fiction films all while teaching at the University and the Conservatory. In the mid-70s, he decided to spend more time writing and producing, which earned him many distinctions.

Concerned with current events and social issues, he often delves into history and geography to find out what makes us what we are. His interpretation has led to several radio and television plays, two poetic suites and a short fiction book. It is however through the theatre that his work influenced the public and the critics. He wrote several works, namely: La vie exemplaire d'Alcide 1er le pharamineux et de sa proche descendance, in 1971, Silence ou je fais évacuer la salle, in 1979, Le tir à blanc, in 1982, and Champs de glace, in 1997. He was favourably considered by the Théâtre du Trident, the National Arts, the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, and the Café de la Place. He also spent much time translating drama texts, along with his activities as cultural activities organizer. He is currently General Secretary for the Académie des lettres du Québec.

From a Huron legend collected by the internationally renowned Marius Barbeau, he has prepared a tale very much in tune with the values and the vision of the Amerindian world, but from one point of view of all of humanity.

the illustrator
An enlightened path

Carmelle Martineau did not become an artist in the traditional way; she became an artist because of a pressing need to express what she felt and, as she creates, she can better express herself. ARA-Canada largely benefits from this leveraging effect. The publication of the Livre des origines contains original lithographic prints from the Les Tailleurs d'images studio, which she founded in Quebec in 1995.

Born in Quebec City in 1952, she grew up there and developed a very special vision of nature and man that she reworks and renews as she observes and experiments. She is a modern artist who changes rapidly and who, in spite of a few basic preferences, often adapts to new materials and techniques. In the Conseil des métiers d'art de Québec teacher's directory, she states that: "Since 1985, [my] practice centres on prints, more specifically stone prints." But she also says that: "Thanks to various training workshops and exchanges [I] have acquired an expertise in image transfer processes: a method that can be adapted to different surfaces and uses in arts and art crafts."

She obtained a bachelor degree in Fine Arts from Laval University in 1985 and has completed her studies in other ways during the last two decades. She studied at the Atelier Graff in Montreal, the Malapina Printshop in Vancouver, the Pons and La Bête à cornes studios in Paris, the Open Studio in Toronto, the Imago in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Centre de formation et de consultation en métiers d'arts du Québec. In her native city, she has been a member of Videre, of the Engramme studio and of the Conseil des arts textiles du Québec. She currently works as an artist's photographer and as a Fine Arts teacher. She has held 13 solo exhibitions in Quebec and in Canada and has taken part in about fifty collective expositions, including eight international biennials.

Her perceptiveness is therefore the fruit of hard work. The compositions she designed for the Livre des origines serve as a counterpoint to André Ricard's poetry and set out guidelines for the binders. They are not restrictive as they are mainly non figurative, but they create an atmosphere that invites a psychological, physical and temporal regression. Carmelle Martineau nevertheless proposes a thoroughly modern look of humanity, which well translates the conditions of today's Amerindians.