Projections libérantes is an art music concert production company founded in 2011 and based in Montréal (Quebec, Canada). Since it is not tied to any particular group of performers or seasonal programming requirements, the organization puts the creative project at the forefront of every production. Projections libérantes’core mandate is to valorize and mediate meaningful artistic processes through concerts and monographic publications.
Projections libérantes takes its name from a Paul-Émile Borduas text published in 1949, as a tribute to this author, an icon of artistic, spiritual, and intellectual modernism –and freedom –in Quebec. This reference sets the vision of Projections libérantes, an organization with a moral commitment to its community, rooted in that community’s heritage, and determined to play a key part in its future.
1. To articulate each production around a single artistic project (with both premiering new works and reprising repertoire works). To maintain consistency in the aesthetic experience, we produce short concerts presented, as much as possible, without interruption (intermissions or on-stage changes).
2. To ensure that each production receives wide distribution, mainly through national and international tours, but also through radio broadcasts and the release of recordings.
3. To foster the creation of new artistic content offering a plastic, formal and organic design of correlated sound, time, space, and light, through research and creation in collaboration with all participants to the project.
4. Contribute to the acknowledgment of art music as an autonomous discipline –a source of inspiration in terms of formal modelling and esthetic thought –and the acknowledgment of its works and artists. #top
Projections libérantes emerged out of an unusual context in Quebec, as it became the first organization without an appointed group of performers to be solely devoted to the production of concert music.
The organization develops artistic projects from their conception and determines what technical, human, and financial resources will be required to produce them We work outside the constraints of seasonal programming and presentation pressures. Our flexible structure is put entirely at the service of the works and the artists, and these are put up front and centre. In this approach, concert music gets in step with the other performance arts for which the performance is being designed per se, e.g., as a whole rather than a collection of pieces commissioned one by one.
When comparing the field of concert music with, not only dance and the theatre, but cinema, poetry, and the visual arts, one sees that a composer’s works are often scattered across the repertoire instead of being presented and documented in the form of events in which they are the main focus – the raison d’être.
Projections libérantes introduces a new paradigm in which the time and money alloted to design a concert ensure that the artists involved can embark on a real creative process, and that the producer can develop a press kit that will capture the interest of presenters, media outlets, and the public, and attract exposure. #top
Paul-Émlie Borduas’ text Projections libérantes was published in June 1949. In it, Borduas (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, 1905 – Paris, 1960), a Québécer painter, praises his teaching methods after being fired from the École du meuble [School of Furniture Design]. His termination, confirmed by ministerial order, followed the publication of a manifesto, Refus Global [Total Refusal], in 1948. Written by Borduas and co-signed by several individuals, a number of his students among them, this manifesto ended with the following words: “Until then, without surrender or rest, in community of feeling with those who thirst for better life, without fear of set-backs, in encouragement or persecution, we shall pursue in joy our overwhelming need for liberation.” (Paul-Émile Borduas, “Refus Global”, Écrits/Writings 1942-1958, trans. and eds. François-Marc Gagnon and Dennis Young, Halifax: 1978, p. 54.)
Our organization is called Projections libérantes [Liberating Projections] as a tribute to Borduas, who felt an imperative need to speak publicly, to communicate about art, but also about art in society for, in the end, there is no chasm between the two, as they both translate a way of being in the world. However, back in Borduas’ time, for art to be acknowledged meant for it to be accepted, while we feel that, nowadays, our challenge consists in getting acknowledged as in getting identified amid the mass of products from the culture industry. We believe that art is identifiable by self-contained traits such as its symbolic finality, poetic representation, and critical feedback.
Art music creates mediate distance (instead of immediate identification) between the work and its receiver. This is the space of concept, reflection, dialectics between signified and signifier, between perceived sound and the meaning it takes within a system of formal relationships. In this age of instantaneousness, of use-and-discard, of listening superficially to countless low-quality sound files, Projections libérantes insists on contextualizing, referencing, and active listening in concert. When it claims its self-contained traits, art music is advocating for the survival of what makes it possible.
To choose the name “Projections libérantes” is to put forth two desires: first, to put down roots in Québéc heritage and the history of thought; second, to look to the future using the energy we draw from inner (intimate and spiritual) necessities, which are themselves pushed to transform constantly by the quest for unity –of consistency with the outer world. Here is the lesson that we take away from Borduas’Projections libérantes: keep reassessing your relationship to the world; expand your perspective in the direction of the past and the future, so that it doesn’t close up on the eternal present to which the entertainment invites us. #top
Borduas’ struggles were emblematic of his people’s. And these struggles are still current today, as Quebecers are still stuck in the non-history of their (neo)colonial status, which has prevailed for the past two hundred and fifty years. The following quotes, dating more or less from the time Borduas passed away in 1960, illustrate this well.
“Borduas turns tradition over to send us in a new direction. The national debate can find in him a bottomless source of topics of reflection. … His liberating impulse might even propagate through our history and rush the onset of conflicts whose scope is hard to predict. For you cannot unsuccessfully invite a nation, known until then for its conservatism, to exercise their freedom, a people who remembers not to remember, a class that is aware yet hesitates to spread into the unknown.” (Pierre Vadeboncœur, “La ligne du risque”, La ligne du risque, Éditions HMH, Montréal : 1963 , p. 187 & 190; translated for us by François Couture)
“The deep nostalgia we all feel, in times of doubt as much as in times of exaltation, comes from the presence, behind us, of a history of freedom.” (Fernand Dumont, La vigile du Québec, Bibliothèque québécoise, Montréal : 2001 , p. 55; translated for us by François Couture) #top