Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck's traveling project Épistolaire Imaginaire (2014-2017) is a collection of happy memories.
Her invitation to the visitors to share a moment of simple happiness came from a deep-rooted wish to achieve peace and understanding through dialogue and sharing. In exchange for the memory, written down or drawn in a notebook handmade by Johanna, the exhibition's guests had the possibility to take home a letter written by the artist: a simple and beautiful form of transaction.
Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck initiated her traveling collection of positive thought in 2014 in Tokyo (Épistolaire Imaginaire わ けあうことば at Utrecht Now Idea), and continued with Épistolaire Imaginaire - Les Fleures du Japon in Los Angeles (Iko Iko Space, curated by Claire Cottrell). The story behind the spelling of the title is space for one of the artist's own memory. Épistolaire Imaginaire - Le Refuge (2016), the project's third edition, took place at egg, Maureen Doherty's space in Knightsbridge, London. Pieces and elements from all the installations were present in the final comprehensive exhibition at Galerie Jean-Francois Kaiser (France) in 2017, titled Épistolaire Imaginaire - Merci.
On each occasion, the artist employed the memories shared by the participants to create artworks presented in the following edition. Pieces originating from the Épistolaire Imaginaire project include Le Refuge (an organic textile installation with embroideries made by the artist of a selection of the memories of happiness shared) and Les Fleures du Japon (a short film).
Text by Celina Basra.
Images by Juliette Riegel, Naoi Magaki Woodward, Claire Cottrell & Johanna Tagada Hoffbeck.