Hymne an die Nacht I, 1985
charcoal and paper collage on wove rag paper
114 x 76.2 cm overall; top sheet: 57.2 x 76.2 cm; bottom sheet: 56.7 x 73.9 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 29715.1-2)
These drawings were inspired by the prose cycle, Hymnen an die Nacht (Hymns to the Night), by the German Romantic poet, Novalis (Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, 1772 - 1801). Here Poulin investigates the metaphors of the cemetery and death in casket-like forms that rise and fall as opposing yet attracting forces. The overlapping forms and multiple perspectives and the blurring of dark mass and skeletal void suggest the movement of the viewer around a sculptural form and the play of light and shadow over its surface. Each drawing is composed of two sheets arranged vertically, the white paper generating a mobility that contrast with the gravity bound sculptures.