Edouard Sautai  /  Castorama, le paysage canadien

The noble art of craftmanship

Artist Edouard Sautai, is presenting his playful vision of the canadian landscape, inspired by the beaver. Following the example of the beaver, who uses only materials found by the shoreline, Sautai has accumulated urban objects available on site, such as cone shaped, empty thread reels and kindling firewood.

Sautai thinks that the beaver is «the actor in the landscape because it modifies that landscape» The artist, therefore, is trying to superimpose his work over the rodent's, hoping to incite a reflexion on the importance granted by society to certain forms of work. «Often, regrets Sautai, there is no relation between the work done by the urban people and what they consume. By doing craft work, people find a sense in what they are making» He also regrets the fact that in society, the contemporary artist is often perceived as the «comic» and that the artistic work is not put to value. «Should the artist be as productive as the beaver is?» he asks.

In the exhibition area, the great canadian spaces have been reduced to a few distinct elements: pieces of wood, piled one on top of the other, resulting in irregular shapes and wood boxes placed on the floor. The cylinder shaped skeletal structures that stand out vertically are a reference to the beaver's habitat. They seem outrageous beside the rectangular boxes, which call to mind water planes - on which the cones move spontaneously with the help of fans.

The natural proportions of each element are put aside, as if a tireless beaver had been rebuilding a series of Towers of Babel. The desire to produce disproportionate objects comes from Sautai's perception of the North-American space. His preoccupation with scale is represented by an obsessive accumulation of empty thread reels, resulting in towers that seem to be growing beyond the ceiling.

Surprisingly, this installation is interpreting nature from manufactured materials. Sautai is proposing a landscape in which the «natural» has been evacuated, giving advantage to a man-made vision, and his installation is a comparison of the productivity implied in the manufacturing of objects to the labour needed in artistic work. The image of the beaver, portrayed here as the hearty builder, is associated to the engineer constructor of bridges. For the artist, the rough side, emanating from this installation, is a way of preserving a «sign of the unfinished». It also helps understand how things are made. For Sautai, the artist is «the one who makes».

François Cliche