By Gaëtan Vaudry
Before arriving in the city of La Baie, I had not even heard of Jean-Jules Soucy. However, it wasn't long before I was introduced to this artist, the pride of the entire Saguenay region. Born in 1951 in La Baie, where he has always lived and worked, he earned a Bachelor's degree in the teaching of visual arts from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) in 1976. A diligent worker, he showcased his work both in Quebec and internationally.
In 1993, Jean-Jules Soucy exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, presenting Stressed Carpet, a piece composed of 60,000 liters of folded milk cartons, collected from all over Quebec! But it was in 2000 that the artist made significant waves when he unveiled the Pyramid of Ha! Ha! in La Baie. This installation was made up of 3,000 traffic signs, commemorating the Saguenay Flood of 1996.
In 2008, Jean-Jules Soucy received the Arts and Letters Council of Quebec Award for visual and media arts. 13 years later, his career was celebrated in his native region at the Order of the Blueberry ceremony, where he was inducted as a member. The Bay's pride's career has also been the subject of numerous documentaries and reports, notably the 1994 film Art is Not Without Soucy by filmmaker Bruno Carrière.
My reason for discussing the great Jean-Jules Soucy is that I had the opportunity to view the exhibition "What to Offer in Case of Water," presented by the Espace Séquence of the BANG Contemporary Art Centre in Chicoutimi. The exhibition features a selection of colorful and humorous works by the artist, who passed away in July 2022. These works, dating from the 1970s to the present, are available thanks to his sister, artist and scenographer Hélène Soucy, who began restoring them in the past year. I greatly enjoyed this vibrant exhibition. I discovered an artist with a sharp sense of humor, a master of wordplay. The exhibition is on display at the Centre BANG until December 23. A must-see!