Posted at 7:00 am
The subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Québec, CDPQ Infra, unveiled this Wednesday the names of the first three artists selected to create works in the stations of the Metropolitan Express Network (REM). Among them the rising star Manuel Mathieu, whose five monumental mosaics will be integrated into a corridor of the Édouard-Montpetit train station.
“It is very moving to do this at the University of Montreal,” says the multidisciplinary artist of Haitian origin, who in 2020 had solo exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Power Plant in Toronto, among others.
“When I arrived in Canada I was living in Rosemère but I was studying at HEC. It’s like coming full circle a little. »
in the The inhabited mountainManuel Mathieu wanted to initiate a conversation with the public art works that have shaped Montreal, as well as the artists who “have captured our imaginations for years”, a question of drawing inspiration from the past while looking to the future.
“It’s an honor to present a work of this magnitude in the city,” he says. There’s also an accessibility component that I really like. I arrived in Montreal at 19, now I’m 35. I became a man in Montreal, it forged my sensitivity. »
This city gave me something and today I can give it back.
Manuel Mathieu, multidisciplinary artist
Manuel Mathieu doesn’t hide it: he wants to create something “mind-blowing” in this station, which is 70 meters underground. “We really are in the center of Montreal, in the heart of the mountains, of the stone. It’s very symbolic. »
The three artists were selected following a very rigorous process and had to propose projects related to the precise location where the works will be installed.
“We provide sociological and geographical information about the users and the people who live in the area, about what is in and around the station,” explains the curator of the art collections of the Caisse de depot and Placement of Quebec, Marie Justine Schnuffler.
The controls were also very clear. In the case of Édouard-Montpetit, the mosaic was a requirement to commemorate the Montreal Metro. At Brossard, given the station’s configuration, we wanted a diptych so that we could “see the work from anywhere”, which required more sculpture. In Panama, another station in Brossard, the work, “installed in a very dark passage”, had to be presented in a backlit box, a “light box”, which was therefore more suitable for painting or photography.
The selected artists have worked very little in public space during their careers. “That wasn’t our mission,” clarifies Marie-Justine Snider. But that’s no coincidence either.
It is time for new voices and diverse perspectives. And yes, part of the excitement is choosing artists who had challenges to overcome!
Marie-Justine Snider, curator of the art collections of the Caisse de dépôt et Placement du Québec
Such is the case of the sculptor David Armstrong VI, chosen for the Brossard station diptych, experiencing art in public space for the first time. “I’m so excited, so happy,” says the man who has exhibited in Canada and internationally since 1997.
“I didn’t think it was a dream to make art in public spaces. But right now I feel like I’m living that dream. I can’t imagine doing something that makes me so happy. »
The connection to public transport is very significant for the Montreal artist from Belleville, Ontario, who was inspired by the symbolism of the train and all its “potential” for stories and encounters The passengerstwo very tall bronze sculptures that react to each other and change shape depending on the viewing angle.
“It opens up the dialogue, it’s very magical. I will definitely be spending a lot of time at Brossard station and people watching them! »
It is, in turn, the notion of movement that inspired photographer Chih-Chien Wang for Brossard’s Panama Station, located in an area of the South Shore he knows well.
I am very excited to be working on this project. When I arrived in Montreal, some of my friends lived in this area. For years I went there every week to buy groceries and to visit her.
Chih-Chien Wang, photographer
The Taiwan-born artist, who has lived in Montreal for 20 years and received the 2020 Louis-Comtois de la Ville prize, superimposed dust photos with aerial photographs. The work entitled An endless journey beyond the present goes from the infinitely small to the infinitely large and evokes the transformation inherent in movement.
“Whether we leave Brossard to work or study in Montreal, or leave our country to start a new life in another, we change our way of thinking. »
The two Brossard works will be inaugurated in spring and summer 2023, those of Édouard-Montpetit at the end of 2024. In total, about ten REM stations will benefit from permanently integrated works of art with a budget of 7.3 million. Marie-Justine Snider’s team is still looking for the best locations for the next.
“These don’t necessarily have to be train stations, they can also be places. We search, we are like archaeologists. We tame the network to understand where these works best live. »