Exhibition - WAR FLOWERS (2017-2020)
Borealis Gallery, Parliament of Alberta (CA)
Château Ramezay, Montreal (CA)
Canadian National Memorial, Vimy (France)
Campbell House Museum, Toronto (CA)
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa (CA)
Reford Gardens, Grand-Metis (Canada)
The travelling art exhibition - WAR Flowers, was produced by the Reford Gardens. During the First World War, George Stephen Cantlie sent a series of pressed flowers, gathered from the gardens, fields and undergrowth of war-torn Europe, to his young daughter in Montreal. The exhibition examines Colonel Cantlie's flowers through the medium of floriography - a mode of communication through flowers developed in the Victorian era - to reflect on human nature in wartime. Each flower represents a human characteristic, which the exhibition invites visitors to explore through smell, sight (crystal sculptures) and hearing.
Curator and producer: Viveka Melki
Director: Alexander Reford
Production: Les Jardins de Métis
Artist perfumer and olfactory design: Alexandra Bachand
Other creators and collaborators on the exhibition: Mark Raynes Roberts (crystal sculpture), Normand Dumont (exhibition design), Céline Arseneault, Claude Langlois (music), Fernande Forest (graphics), Odette Desormeaux & Marjelaine Sylvestre (archives), ...www.fleursdarmes.ca
In 2015, Alexandra Bachand proposed, imagined and began the creative process for the olfactory component of the international exhibition Fleurs d'armes. Accompanied by an art historian and the curator of the exhibition, she visited the battlefields of the First World War in Europe, in order to immerse herself in the history in its context. A moving research process, but essential to the process. Her intention was to create perfumes, as authentically as possible, to pay tribute to the 8 men and 2 women celebrated in the exhibition. She thus composed 10 perfumes evoking the themes of the exhibition based on the symbolism of flowers. She accompanies her perfumes with poems that she writes to guide the visitor on the narrative intention. The story proposed through each of the perfumes allows visitors a personal and emotional sensory experience.
Alexandra Bachand was inspired by these themes and the impressions she gathered during her honorary journey in the Somme in France and Belgium, to write 10 olfactory poems that dialogue with each of the perfumes she composed in order to underline an olfactory memory of history and thus propose to visitors to live an intimate and emotional immersive experience.
Familial love (Georges S. Cantlie/Yellow Rose)
Innocence (Jean Brillant/English Daisy)
Mother's love (Grace Julia Parker Drummond/Daisy)
Grace (Talbot Papineau/Rose)
Resolve to win (Percival Molson/Columbine)
Devotion (Edward B. Savage/Lavander)
Solitude (Alexander Y. Jackson/Heather)
Memory (Elsie Reford/Forget-me-not)
Healing (Georges Vanier/Stitchwort)
Eternal sleep (John McRae/Poppy.
NARRATIVE POEMS WRITTEN BY THE ARTIST
SCENT : RESOLVE TO WIN
"At dawn, a masculine smell of tobacco and alcohol disperses, galvanizing the determined troops."
SCENT : MEMORY
"The blue hour brings back the memory of the past, which is sublimated by a perfume of exacerbated lily flowers. A refuge of the time that is written."
SCENT : FAMILIAL LOVE
"Dreams of the family home at bath time. A crackling wood fire, swelling leathery notes, emanating from the stable."
SCENT : SOLITUDE
"Under a heavy and continuous rain, smells of wet tobacco, sweat and urine clash."
SCENT : INNOCENCE
"On the banks of the St. Lawrence River, sheets float in the wind. The smell of fresh laundry meets that of newly cut grass."
SCENT : MOTHER'S LOVE
"A smell of attachment, warm and vanilla, unconditional and deep. Notes of honey and white flowers, the scent of a lifetime."
SCENT : GRACE
"As the sun rises over the horizon, a proud and bewitching rose leaves a strong patriotic scent."
SCENT : DEVOTION
"Carried by a surge of inspiration, scents of lavender, frankincense and myrrh rise as a token of loyalty."
SCENT : HEALING
"In a military hospital, floats the smell of camphor and antiseptics, giving way to the healing of body and mind."
SCENT : ETERNAL SLEEP
"The enigmatic smell of death. Tough, harsh, heavy, that incense cannot mask. The silence is pervasive."
- Alexandra Bachand
Launch / Les Jardins de Métis, Grand-Métis (CA) 2017
Launch / Canadian War Museum, Ottawa (CA) 2017
Launch / Campbell House Museum, Toronto (CA) 2018
Launch / National Memorial of Canada, Vimy ( FRANCE) 2018
Launch / Château Ramezay Museum, Montreal (CA) 2018 - 2020