The 7.0 earthquake on January 12, 2010 that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti and surrounding cities, and killed hundreds of thousands of Haitians was also a profound tragedy for the diaspora. Paul's extreme grief from watching the destruction of the home, land, and people that raised him manifested a new series of mixed media works.
Goudou Goudou is a selection of Gardère’s final series before his death, produced in the aftermath of the earthquake on January 12, 2010 in Haiti. These mixed media works offer a visceral peek into the artist’s personal response to the disaster. Mud relief and carved wood come together with haunted figures and Kreyol text to emphasize the nature, experience and survival of “goudou goudou” – the Kreyol term for the earthquake, the syllables of which evoke the sound of the shaking earth. This body of work is strong, deeply meditative and dense with nuances that expertly exploit the ambiguities arising between darkness and radiance; abstraction and figuration as well as the intriguing play between formal intention and narrative potential. His use of a wide range of materials, styles, and techniques evince a longstanding commitment to cross-cultural hybridization as well as extracting textured patterns, images and symbols from his immediate environment. There is no hierarchy of images – the path of visual exploration for each composition is of our own choosing, and the viewer interprets the progression of images as though reading a language system. For the artist, the body remains a potent vehicle for the exploration of the human condition in a period of great turmoil, bearing witness to trauma through a visual narration that pays tribute to the strength of a people struggling to survive and move forward.
- excerpted from Skoto Gallery 2017 press release