A unique way
Discover 12 playful, intriguing installations by visual artists and architecture collectives, that question our relation to the world and the urban space. Under the artistic direction of Vincent Roy, PASSAGES INSOLITES 2015 (Unusual Passages) walk off beaten trails to produce unusual, surprising new ways of living the city.
In the language of archaeology, Material Culture refers to all the artefacts from a period, a civilisation, an area or a population. Like a cliché depicting a society frozen in a given era, Acapulco presents an archaeological site that evokes the passing of time and a troubling yet whimsical fictional past. At the very heart of a historic neighborhood, Material Culture invites passersby to reconsider our history, our posterity, our legacy. With its strange anachronistic remains and artefacts, the installation also questions the roots of our identity and shakes the visitors’ critical thinking.
Acapulco is a collective founded in 2009 in Quebec City by Pierre Brassard, Vincent Hinse and Marie-Pier Lebeau. These self-taught visual artists have studied fine woodcrafting. Their projects often take the form on outdoor interventions, infiltrating works and site-specific installations, built on ambiguity and hoaxes. They have been presented among the satellite exhibitions of Manif d’art 7 (with the collaboration of EXMURO and Maison Hamel-Bruneau) and as part of events such as CHANTIER (Regart), Projet Clés en main (Folie/Culture), Art Souterrain (Galerie SAS, Montreal) and Meublémouvants (Centre MATERIA).
A park is taken over by three oversized pigeons with their eye on a can of Campbell soup. The birds look like they cannot figure out how to open the object or how much food it contains. A reference to pop art and Andy Warhol, the installation becomes a representation of the so-called hermeticism that brings criticism to contemporary art.
Cooke-Sasseville is a duet of artists based in Quebec City, working together since 2000. They lead careers as sculptors and installation artists and have produced many public art works. Their works have been shown in over fifteen solo exhibitions, and they have been part of numerous collective events in the province of Quebec and abroad. Recipients of many prizes and grants over the course of their career, Cooke-Sasseville have developed a particular artistic approach bearing reflections on the artist’s status, alienation, the advertising culture and the relation between art and triviality.
The installation overflows in the space, bursting in colors. Seeing colorful objects from their familiar environments inside shipping containers, visitors are faced with the notions of expansion and excess. The work with its vivid colors is quickly perceived as seducing and playful. However, there is something disturbing about it, as if it held a potential threat. The excessive accumulation of plastic objects overflows from the installation and increases the feeling of insecurity.
José Luis Torres was born in Argentina. He holds a bachelor's degree in Visual Arts, a master's degree in Sculpture and professional training in Architecture. He has been living and working in Quebec since 2003. His works have been on display in many solo and collective exhibitions, public interventions and artist residencies across Canada, Argentina, the United States, Mexico and Europe.
Black Strands (Great Wind)
Mysterious amusing yet threatening shapes spring from a facade on Saint-Paul Street. Entanglements of wild, waving cedar fragments sprawl above our heads. These reminders of the wind flow also depict the unpredictable fluctuations of algae, of hair, or the sinuous wiring of the nervous system.
Laurent Gagnon lives and works in Quebec City. He holds a master’s degree in Visual Arts from the Université Laval (2002). A sculptor, he has also added printing techniques to his practice. He has created several solo and collective exhibitions in Quebec, Ontario and internationally. In the last few years, he has developed a strong interest for the various forms of public art, and collaborated with partners such as Folie/Culture, EXMURO arts publics or XO Développement. He also produces works as part of Quebec’s integration of arts into architecture program. Laurent Gagnon’s works have been included in several private and public collections such as those of Hydro-Québec, Pétrolia, the Institut Canadien or the Archives nationales du Québec.
Landry & Francis
The skeleton of a bell tower is dressed in a membrane that hugs its slender body. Forsaken, this work is a reminder of our mixed origins. A bell tower without a building, a buried vessel’s chimney, the sculpture rises from the ground like a rocket ready to take off. Its canvas dress evokes a shelter, a tent, a tepee. With its rather unusual erection in such a narrow passage, the Solitary catches passersby by surprise. The urban platform at the entrance invites us to enter this space and experience the celestial aura of the arrow.
Born in Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Diane Landry lives and works in Quebec City. She has initially studied Natural Sciences and worked in agricultural before receiving her bachelor’s degree (Université Laval, Quebec City) and master’s degree (Stanford University, California) in Visual Arts. Her works have been exhibited in North America, Europe, China and Australia, where she has also presented performances. In 2009 the Musée d’art de Joliette in Quebec published the first retrospective of her work, The Defibrillators. Her first American retrospective The Cadence of All Things was on view at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC. Landry is represented by Galerie Michel Guimont (Quebec City), Carl Solway Gallery (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Barbara Edwards Contemporary (Calgary). She has received many distinctions including the Guggenheim grant in 2015.Born in Batiscan, Francis Labissonnière has studied welding and molding as well as visual and media arts. He also holds a diploma in sculpture from the École des métiers d’art de Québec. Inspired by the shape, the story and the memory of things, Francis Labissonnière produces miniature versions of everyday objects and tries to give them back some formal poetry. Using various sculpting techniques (assembling, welding, molding), he creates a better world at small-scale, in an attempt to capture childhood. Francis Labissonnière has shown his works in Quebec City, Lévis and Toronto, among other places. He lives and works in Quebec City.
Agora is a reflection on the future of Quebec, in the context of the current neoliberal politics. The artist addresses themes such as the disengagement of the government, the privatisation of public institutions, the austerity measures, the erosion of political freedom, of education, of the environment… She has invited researchers, journalists, politicians, activists, environmentalists to send her their reflections on the current political situation. She has asked them: “Where are we heading? What does the future hold for Quebec?” “What outrages you?” “What are your fears, your hopes?” From the thoughts she has received, she creates virtual murals with texts that appear and disappear.
A digital image artist based in Montreal, Isabelle Hayeur is known for her photographic montages, her videos and her site-specific installations that highlight the pitfalls of urbanization. Her works have been widely shown in Quebec and internationally. They are to be found in collections such as those of the National Gallery of Canada, the Fonds national d'art contemporain in Paris, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. Isabelle Hayeur was a finalist at the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2015.
Invasions, modulations, gradations of color over large transparent plastic strips distort our perception of the architecture. The organic, mineral color spreads and questions our bodies’ relation to the notion of artifice. At the scale of the urban or natural landscape, the artist offers a sensory, dynamic experience. Painted in this deep, lively palette, a new vibrating wall disseminates light that changes throughout the day.
Born in Saint-Vallier, France, Elsa Tomkowiak lives and works in Nantes. For a decade, she has been occupying architectural and natural spaces with her large-scale installations. Her colorful interventions have taken over the snowy slopes of the Alps as well as abandoned industrial sites or the walls and structures of various buildings. Her installations, drawings and works from mixed techniques have been shown all over France, in solo and collective exhibitions and as part of major events.
La Tour de Babel aux échelles
Alluding to both order and chaos, the installation is inspired by the myth of the Babel Tower. It represents a project of society in constant transformation, driven by an immoderate ambition. It is not a definite structure, but a process. An anarchic construction, this DIY colorful tower combines strength and insecurity. The evolutive installation changes progressively. The artist stages his work. An hybrid character dressed and equipped as a construction worker, he organizes his site, constructs, climbs up his ladders. With a touch of humor and undeniable exuberance, Babel Tower at the Top of the Ladders evokes our increasingly complex contemporary civilization. It suggests the presence of alterity and diversity, the ever fragile essential values of a project of society, of a human construction site that calls for participation and social cohesion.
Yves Gendreau has developed an artistic practice that oscillates between commissioned public art creations and independent sculptures. His works have been exhibited in site-specific contexts (Chantier 365, L’intention Daredare, 1998), at events and symposiums, in Quebec (D’un millénaire à l’autre, Maison de la culture Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal, 2000), Switzerland and France (Chantier Public, 4mcube art contemporain, Rennes, 2003). He has produced many works integrated into the architecture such as those that can be seen outdoors at the Université de Montréal’s J.A. Bombardier pavilion, at the de la Concorde metro station (Laval), at the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain (Quebec City) and the Complexe multisports of the Université Laval (Quebec City). He has also been involved for 30 years at artist-run center 3e Impérial.
In the vacuum rhythmed by the sound of the streets, a wall exhibits its personality. Its facade invites passersby to question their role in the city’s architectural landscape. The wall pretends to be the city. How can we distinguish reality from fiction? Why so many ornamentations? Do we consume human relationships as we consume architecture? Judging on the surface? Yet there are perceptible clues. The passage between the openings is a reminder of the relationship between the inside and the outside. A different space. The awareness that beyond the surface hides a story. The edge of the wall is a space of its own, a passage that recalls the thickness of the walls around. Is such thickness necessary or are we being played? The inside of the installation laughs at its surroundings. A place of its own contained between two walls, an ode to the unusual. A game, a theater set… inside a theater set? At Place-Royale, facades are talking and telling stories. Life stories.
Francis Fontaine, Luca Fortin and Pascal Labelle are a creative group of individuals from distinct universes who have punctually worked together since their first encounter at the École d’architecture of the Université Laval. Combining their backgrounds in art, engineering, and architecture, their experiences and studies in France, Switzerland and Sweden, their singular approach leans towards architecture and design. At the base of their creative methodology, which is bound to evolve, is a quest for balance between the innovating technologies, sensitivity to sites, and taste for playing with shapes and for absurd humor.
Bas les armes!
Loading and unloading concrete, repeatedly. Mixing equal parts of love, effort and gear, losing oneself in the process.Playing with words; mortar, mortars, cannons of Quebec City… The wooden structures get a little carried away, in a military logic of cascading movements. Bodies bend and straighten up, they turn around and over. All eyes are on an out-of-focus horizon. Weapons are swirling, taking their entourage as targets, at cross-purposes. Aiming thoughtlessly in every direction is like shooting oneself in the feet. Taken lightly, the carriage of arms is a game loaded with meaning.
Holding bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and in Visual Arts as well as a master’s degree in Quebec Studies, François Mathieu has worked as a technician at the École des arts visuels of the Université Laval, at the Valet de Cœur and L’Œil de Poisson’s studios, and at the design department of Collège FX. Garneau in Quebec City. As a sculptor, he has shown his work in 30 solo exhibitions and several group events in Canada, Mexico and Belgium, in addition to producing many commissioned public art works. His still machines convey poetic visions of the world’s meaning. A native of Saint-Éphrem in Quebec’s Beauce region, he lives and works in Saint-Sylvestre, near Quebec City.
Between hanging gardens, honeymoon fireflies, databank computer cables and organisms from the future drowning in chemical agents, the electronic gardens spread over the dark corners of the city. They are a source of wellbeing for vitamin D-deprived citizens…
Rosemarie Faille-Faubert, a candidate to the master’s degree in Architecture at the Université Laval, has recently returned from a fulfilling year in France. She has won a few contests such as Paysages en dialogue and Passages Insolites. Passionate about discovering landscapes, she is into the kind of architecture that is experimental as well as attentive and reactive to human needs.A student of the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Montpellier (France), Victor Gounel is also a painter and founder of the Tristesse Collective, which promotes pluridisciplinary arts. He is interested in various art forms and in experience as a driving force for new creations.
From scale models, I have created a series of life-size statues, reversing the usual ways of doing tributes to great men. My proposal is to insert in the public space six bewildering yet realistic sculptures that go back and forth between figurines and statuaries, between the figurative and the abstract, between comedy and solemnity. Positioned here and there in the park, these strange statues shake up our relation to public art and to traditional monuments by derailing the systems of body image construction and mocking the figure of the hero.
Francis Montillaud lives and works in Montreal. His work has been exhibited in galleries, artist-run centers, culture houses and events in Canada and in France. Since 2007, he has created many short-lived installations in Montreal. His permanent works can be seen at Station de Mies Van Der Rohe on Île-des-Soeurs, at Parc Dollard-des-Ormeaux, at the Sculpture Garden in Winnipeg and at elementary school aux QuatreVents in Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu. He has developed and designed the video and scenography of Ailleurs, a multimedia theater performance by Kevin McCoy, for which he has been nominated at the 2007 Gala des Masques.
starting on JUlY 24, 2015
From July 24 to September 28, 2015, take part in the “La Belle Insolite” photo contest held by EXMURO arts publics in collaboration with Restos Plaisirs! There are 3 ways to win:
1. Share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook your JPEG picture including one of the works of the public art circuit Passages Insolites 2015 with the #passagesinsolites hashtag and have a chance to win one of 10 Instant Participation Prizes: a $25 gift cards in one of the Restos Plaisirs.
2. Like EXMURO arts publics’ Facebook page, share your JPEG picture including one of the works of the public art circuit Passages Insolites 2015 with the #passagesinsolites hashtag. Invite your friends to like EXMURO arts publics’ Facebook page and to vote. You have a chance to win the “La Belle Insolite” Public Grand Prize: a $150 value meal for 2 at Restos Plaisirs and a $310 value gift basket.
3. Fill out the form and upload a picture including one of the works of the public art circuit Passages Insolites 2015 (1024 x 768, 72 dpi JPEG). You have a chance to win the “La Belle Insolite” Jury Grand Prize: a $150 value meal for 2 at Restos Plaisirs and a $310 value gift basket.
Only one entry per person is accepted. See contest details and rules.
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