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Marie Côté

Les attrape-vents, 2008-09

Porcelain and maple

Installation of five sculptures

Photos: Guy L’Heureux

Prices range from $8,500 to $10.000. Please inquire for more information

Dimensions left to right (height, depth, diameter):

26.4” H x 14.1” D x 9.8” dia (67 x 36 x 25 cm) 26.2” x 14” x 15” (66,6 x 35,5 x 38,3 cm)

26” x 15.5” x 20.6” (66 x 39,5 x 52,5 cm)

31.1” x 15” x 7.9” (79 x 38 x 20 cm)

23” x 15.7” x 14.4” (58,3 x 40  x 36,5 cm)

Available as a group or individually. Please inquire for prices and shipping information.

The genesis of Marie Côté’s Attrape-vents (Wind Catcher) series coincided with the inception of a broader artistic venture entitled Les vents (The Winds). During this period, Côté embarked on a unique collaboration with musicians, melding her ceramic craftsmanship with the world of sound. For her, ceramics evolve through the interplay of volume and its inner and outer spaces. Drawing inspiration from a Chinese Taoist saying, "One moulds a pot out of clay, but it is its inner void that holds what one wants," she delved into the notion that the patterns etched onto the external surfaces of "les vents" should be mirrored within. Here, within a fertile void, sounds could be liberated. Consequently, she adopted the unconventional approach of “turning her pieces inside out, as one would a glove,” to fully explore this concept.


This series draws heavily from wind maps and isobaric maps, which depict the ever-shifting directions and varying intensities of the wind. These maps, designed for utilitarian purposes, possess an unexpected aesthetic allure, with their contours and lines spiralling in fluid, flowing and dynamic patterns. Marrying the characteristics of wind with her mastery as a ceramicist, she designs patterns that articulate the energy and force of the wind, as well as the pressures and manipulations exerted on the clay as it transforms into a vessel. The wind's inherent nature, characterized by perpetual and circular motion, served as a compelling metaphor. Despite its tangible impact on the environment, the wind remains elusive to direct apprehension – invisible except by the things it moves. It manifests through its effects and the forces it imparts, leaving us with only hints of its amplitude. In line with her prior sculptures, the "Attrape-vents" endeavour to illustrate the invisible dynamics of space.


Extending her explorations, Côté ventured into a series of "drawings" (which she calls “Papiers”) on paper using a transfer method. This technique involves rolling raw clay onto paper, allowing the clay's moisture to permeate the paper and, during the drying process, causing it to crumple and create textured relief drawings. The transfer process orchestrates a delicate interplay between various forces—the clay, her hands shaping it, and the paper itself, with its unique fibre qualities and thickness, all contributing to the emergence of these impressions. These drawings effectively portray imaginary topographies, recreating the nuances of clay's moisture migration in the paper's atmospheric environment.

The juxtaposition of these Papiers and the Attrape-vents engenders a visually captivating encounter between the paper's folds and the porcelain's patterns. Any divergence in substance fades into the background as a continuous narrative unfolds from one motif to the next. Côté elaborates: “The whiteness of the papers and that of the porcelain retain light and expose the relief even further. Finally, this encounter conveys the permeability and interaction between the different forces involved and its vital spark.”


Lastly, this body of work includes a video, created in collaboration with independent filmmaker Mehdi Benboubakeur. Shot inside the three attrape-vents, the camera and lighting magnificently showcase the patterns and drawings, yet the central theme of the artwork remains the movement itself. Notably, it is not the camera but the attrape-vents that rotate in the spotlight. As viewers are immersed in this mesmerizing process, the clay itself regains its inherent flexibility and malleability, unveiling yet another facet of Côté's artistic exploration that turns on notions of interconnectedness.  

Les attrape-vents were exhibited at Zone d'affluence - promenade des arts inattendus de Mercier (2007), Galerie Lilian Rodriguez and Les escales improbables de Montréal (2008), Galerie Nuha Al-Ali, Damascus, Syria (2009), Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery (2013), Maison des arts de Laval and le Musée régional de Rimouski (2016), and Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (2018).

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