Barbara Claus

Visual artist / In-situ creations and residency / Installations, improv, drawing, sculpture, words and books / Death and the ephemeral as principal themes, 58 years old  

Barbara Claus is a visual artist born in Brussels, Belgium. She currently lives between Montreal and the Laurentians region. She has presented more than 30 solo exhibitions in Canada, Europe, Mexico and Argentina and has participated in more than 30 group exhibitions. Barbara was awarded the prestigious CALQ Studio du Québec in 2015 and Tapiola Studio in Finland in 2016. She has participated in numerous residencies, including at the Banff Centre in Canada and abroad in Mexico, New Mexico, Buenos Aires. In 2017, she was invited by the Swatch Art Foundation to create artwork in Shanghai for 6 months.

Amongst all of the questions that resonate with you about aging and growing old, which one seems the most essential for you that you would like to share ?

I wonder if having a passion in life or many passions, makes it possible to "age better", I wonder if curiosity, openness, social relations, the place where we live, good health, etc. are positive factors for a better "advancement" into the old age ...

Share an inspiring image of aging with us.

Recently during a [pierre&barbara duo] residency, we met artists in the region of Val-David, wishing to share their vision of the world, their passion, etc. A vivid memory for me was the improvised meeting with ceramist artist Kinya Ishikawa, who has organized the "1001 pots" event for 30 years. We met with him 3 times, he showed us around his workshop, shared about his process, his garden and his life ... He did not want to be filmed or recorded but he opened the doors of his place, we could go there anytime. What fascinates me about him is to see how his passions give him endless energy, that he has an infinite freedom of creation, that he has organized, collaborated and supported many other artists throughout his career and he has such a liveliness. His creative work is linked to the rhythm of the seasons, his garden is adjacent to the village school, etc. We made a video trying to capture the essence of this nourishing encounter, while integrating our duo creative process; video link:https://vimeo.com/398034722 Another important encounter was in a in Tokyo in 2015, we met an artist who had "build" his permanent/temporary house/studio in Yoyogi-koen Park (squat). We met him twice, the first time he told us that "the tent" was "his office", then while sharing a tea inside, we assumed that it was his "home" too; we did not understand everything of our exchanges but..., an excerpt: https://vimeo.com/197827124 https://www.pierreetbarbara.ca/japon

From your own experiences, tell us about a significant moment or event in your personal or professional life that shaped your perspective around aging.

Following a period of trying to make a living from my own funeral design company; in parallel of an introspective analytical work, as a result of "a creative emptiness period" , I decided with indulgence_ to put all my energy back into my art practice. I started a Master on death at UQAM, mostly to meet with anthropologist Luce des Aulniers. Then I had a solo show, where I accepted that for the art world I was "old", I was "dead" and "finished" [ je suis foutue ] ... since then my professional life as a visual artist evolves in accordance with my personal aspirations/dreams !

During our meetings last October, you imagined taking some first steps, the first actions. Can you remind us what they were? Can you tell us what happened when you put them into action?

If, in the coming months, you were given the time, energy and resources to set up a (new?) Project with our common questions at heart, what would it be?

According to your experiences and your expertise, where is the vitality, the curiosity, the strength to act in the face of the realities of aging?