Virginie Mercure was 2018’s Quebec artist in residence. This residency is generously supported by the Quebec Government, which allows for an artist from Quebec to be hosted in Mumbai for 4 months.
Virginie came to Mumbai in November 2018 and stayed till March 2019. She lives and works in Quebec City, and this was her first time come to Asia. She holds a Master’s degree in Visual Arts from Laval University. Virginie’s work revolves around two main axes: architecture and painting. The latter has been preponderant for a long time. She is now working to give the two parts of her practice an equivalent strength. Virginie is here in India to think about the ways in which the intention could be embodied in matter. Through the visit of architectural sites, art galleries, museums and artistic events, she fills her eyes and head with new images. It is in this basin of new brain materials, created by what India has in particular that she will glean ideas that will shape her future works. Parallel to her visits, she creates 3D drawings on her computer of architectural structures that could become sculptures. It’s a way of recording, testing and refining the ideas that come from her observations.
Virginie made the most of her time in India by travelling extensively around the country. A large part of her practice is the journey and this could be over bus, train, car ride and even walking. Like a flaneur, she incorporated exploration into her artistic practice, taking a vast number of pictures of the various different locations she went to, specifically the architecture.
She was particularly drawn to the vibrant colours of the buildings and homes in the smaller tier cities she visited and used this as inspiration for her paintings. Some of the places she went to were Kochi, Goa, Bodhgaya, Hampi, Pondicherry, Madurai and Mahabalipuram. Virginie picked out specific elements from the variety of architecture she saw, ranging from the ancient temples to the more colonial churches. This juxtaposed with the urban landscape of Mumbai provided for rich visual imagery which she translated beautifully onto her canvas.