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Gallery of Artists

Jacques Fournier and Éditions Roselin

My goal is to produce works in which I work closely with writers and visual artists to create a book that integrates the various elements perfectly.

Through bookmaking techniques and related expertise, I try to respect and harmonize the words and images that go into a work. I prefer using materials such as glass, wood, minerals and different papers. My work is an exploration of words, their meaning and the role that books play in communicating them. My book designs also seek to emphasize the importance of books by placing the text and the book as object within a scenario or ritual appropriate to their exhibition, manipulation and reading.
[Translation]

—Jacques Fournier

Jacques Fournier loves books. First and foremost a bookbinder, he has been fulfilling the wishes of artists, bibliophiles and writers since 1983, creating beautiful presentations and boxes to preserve the works within. Fournier listens closely to these requests so that he can select the most appropriate materials. This close collaboration took on a new dimension in 1993, when poet Gilles Cyr encouraged Fournier to establish Éditions Roselin, a publishing house dedicated to producing unique artists' books.

Black book case covers with a white page in between them which is covered by black print.  The left book case cover has a small brown square in its centre.

De la douceur

Source

A triple threat—publisher, writer and artist—Fournier is very familiar with the sources of inspiration that have influenced artists' books in Quebec over the course of their history. Éditions Roselin is part of that tradition, adding an innovative twist through the work of its senior craftsman, who is an expert in the material and perceptual possibilities offered by the book as object.

La connaissance, an early work published in the form of a flip book, breaks boundaries and turns the reader into an "operator."1 With a flick of the thumb, the translucent words start to move and whirl, adding a poetic element to the visual and literary content. Winner of the Grand Prix des Métiers d'art du Québec in 1996 with La passion du sens, Fournier invites the reader to participate in constructing this reading "installation." The text of the book is reflected onto an opposing piece of slate, where it takes on a ghostly appearance and the words almost disappear. Viewers are invited to place a small stone at the exact spot specified by the reflected text, as in the Jewish ritual where a stone is placed on a grave marker to rekindle the memory of the dead person.2 In this instance, reading becomes an experience and extends beyond its literal meaning. The same is true for Le 6 avril 1944, in which the artist added lead under the false bottom of this book object as if to add further weight to the gravity of the subject: the deportation to Auschwitz and subsequent death of 44 children who had sought refuge in a house in Izieu.

The sense of theatre evident in these books is emphasized by the intensity of the subjects addressed, but at Roselin, the book sometimes becomes self-referential, relating to its own history and that of the materials composing it. In Parfois les astres, the device used to display the poetry of the two authors is reminiscent of the newspaper racks found in libraries and some cafés. With the opening of each codex, Jaune rouge bleu represents the evolution of printing instruments: the poetic sequences are composed in lead and linotype, and embossed on the inside cover of each book, while the entire work is created in the colours common to the four-colour printing process.

The works of Jacques Fournier and Éditions Roselin appear in many collections and have gained recognition through national and international shows.

1 This is the word used by poet Stéphane Mallarmé in reference to the reader. More applicable to an artist's book, the poet's suggestion indicates a creative intervention by the person holding the work.

2 As stated in the video Sylvia Safdie, Earth Marks, directed by Doina Harap, 2000 (48 min., 3 sec.).