A talk with Jane Penny, TOPS’s vocalist, at her home back in Montreal
Specialising in weaving, French textile artist Elise Peroi breaks down landscape images and reconstructs them on canvas. With the concept of weaving at the epicenter of her work, Elise has also investigated the fields of performance and installation which led to a recent collaboration with Hong Kong choreograph and dancer Mui Cheuk-yin. The confrontation between two distinct cultures evolved into a fusion of ancestral weaving techniques with traditional Chinese dance. After presenting the performance in Halles de Schaerbeek, they are now looking to transpose it to the Hong Kong Arts Centre. As a dance emerges when the artists’ gestures and movements succeed and cross one another, the performance comes to symbolise how Elise perceives weaving as an expression of the whole body.
How did begin doing your thing?
I learned weaving at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels in the textile design section. During my master years I developed a technique that allowed me to link my passions for textile and drawing. Later I wanted to transcribe a way of expressing and living a landscape. Gradually, as I followed through ideas around this theme I acquired more technique and expression. These experiments led to new discoveries. I also had the opportunity to work on a performance at the Schaerbeek Halles which helped me develop my research on the body, on gesture and on the notion of weaving links.
What are you working on for the near future?
One of my latest projects was a collaboration with a dancer and choreographer from Hong Kong. We worked together on movement, gesture and repetition. Our duo was built on shared values. There were two cultures, two countries, two disciplines but what touches us, what brings us together and our will to share come from the same essence. We came up with a timeless project which combines ancestral weaving techniques with traditional Chinese dance. This research was presented at the Schaerbeek Halles. The next step in the project is to bring this collaboration to Hong-Kong this July to exhibit it at the Hong Kong Arts Center.
Another project was to have my work be influenced by the space I was evolving in. The Friche collective invited artists to become resident in an old warehouse on Rue de la Senne in Brussels. There, I developed pieces capturing the spirit of the space. My sources of inspiration were these fragments and successive layers and the memories they held. Between real and imagined memories, one of the installations was centered around Aphrodite’s Myth existing of opposing and correlating plastic materials from the space with seaweed.
Who or what are your role models/inspirations?
Nature provides me with both the ideas and the materials for my creations. My work feeds on many thoughts and readings that all lead to reflections on the richness of nature: every element in nature is structured and connected so as to create perfect shapes and harmony.
The readings and artists that inspire me are those inspired by landscapes, architecture and gesture. To name a few, Vivre de paysage ou l’impensé de la raison by François Jullien, Vide et plein by François Cheng, La philosophie de la danse by Paul Valéry, Hanna Halprin’s works on the body, and the poetic works by Francis Alys.
What’s your motto/mantra/idea that keeps you going?
The intention to bring poetry in our everyday lives; intertwining words, expressions and myths linked to weaving; finally, I want to highlight the position of the artist.
What advice/lessons would you share with another young person in your field?
Take the time to explore what you’re holding deep down. Respect that time and its pace. Play with slowness. Continue to learn while surprising yourself.