L’atelier de poésie de Fernande Saint-Martin et Guido Molinari

Permanent exhibition

As the custodian of a collection of artworks, a library of reference books and a documentary collection consisting of fifteen linear metres of archives, the Foundation preserves materials that shed a light on Quebec art history, notably several files of handwritten and typed poems, the earliest of which were written as of 1949.

This evolving exhibition is based on the Foundation’s permanent collections and foregrounds works and archives related to the poetry practice of Guido Molinari (1933-2004) and Fernande Saint-Martin (1927-2019). The painter, teacher and theorist, Guido Molinari first made a name for himself as a “young painter and poet,” whose experiments let words come forth for “the sole quality of their colour and form.” Fernande Saint-Martin, an essayist, theorist, professor and semiologist, is particularly renowned for her research into the foundations of verbal and visual modes of representation. Over the course of her life, she also published hundreds of poetry reviews and maintained a rich writing practice guided by an “attentiveness to the sound of words.”

Conceived along the lines of a thought workshop, the exhibition comprises personal objects used in the couple’s individual writing rituals in addition to showcasing objects, works, poems, sketches and publications that belonged to both protagonists. The encounter of Guido and Fernande at the 1953 exhibition Place des artistes is at the heart of this project. From this historic event, we retrace the documentary rhizome of their respective contributions to the field of Quebec poetry.