Passages Insolites: Québec City’s Public Art Circuit
The 6th edition of Passages Insolites brings together 14 artworks produced by 40 local and international artists and architecture collectives whose work plays on the idea of “unusual passages”.
These artists pose profound questions about the world around us by implementing unexpected elements in pathways that are normally taken for granted in Québec City’s historic Petit Champlain and Saint-Roch districts.
Passages Insolites is produced by EXMURO arts publics, curated by Vincent Roy, and presented by the Ville de Québec.
“Sometimes flamboyant, sometimes introspective, always surprising, these works together present a deeply contemporary take on the urban space they inhabit,” says EXMURO.
From June 20 to October 14, 2019, Passages Insolites invites people of all ages to discover its fun and thought-provoking artworks free of charge.
BGL (Québec City)
The collective BGL (composed of Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère, and Nicolas Laverdière) has created an ambiguous project exploring the precarious balance between the need for control and freedom, following the rules and letting loose. The Portal is a metal gate constructed from security fences with what seems to have been a forced opening, but a closer look reveals handcrafted ornamentation.
Guillaume La Brie (Montréal)
On Equal Footing
Unremarkable features of the public space—street furniture such as the common bench—are placed on massive plinths arranged at the same level so as to obviate all hierarchy. With On Equal Footing, the artist questions the way we consciously and unconsciously classify the objects all around us.
Guillaume La Brie is interested in issues surrounding how visual art is presented. He views the conditions under which we experience a work (the observer’s position, physical relationship with the exhibition space, etc.) as integral parts of the artwork that can be transformed or modified, in the same way that artists work with colour and form.
Caravane BLING BLING! (Québec City, Saint-Léonard-de-Portneuf)
“Reflecting the diversity of people who take part in Passages Insolites, a range of hybrid bodies inhabit the installation space, covered in small elements from “hexagon-spangles” to everyday objects that are crafted at public workshops—the fruit encounters between artists and participants. Dreamers’ Echo grows out of an inclusive, sensitive co-creation experience where everyone gets the chance to get their hands dirty and collectively create a maelstrom of matter and memories,” says EXMURO.
Formed in 2017, the Caravane BLING BLING! duo of Mathieu Fecteau and Loriane Thibodeau focuses on meeting other artists for unusual collaborations that play on notions of veracity and falsity and creating works with multiple hidden details.
Lucie Bulot and Dylan Collins (France and Toronto)
For a single summer, Lucie Bulot and Dylan Collins’ Eternal Snow will stand as a reminder to all of the rigours of Québec winters. The bust of Louis XIV, trapped in an eternal snowstorm, is the centrepiece of this oversized snow globe—an item normally bought as a souvenir, but here transposed on a monumental scale to represent an imagined meeting between the Sun King and winter, that most emblematic of seasons in Québec.
Consortium 19 (Québec City, Rouyn-Noranda)
The History Arcade
Consortium 19 turns history into a game by “putting into play” a large cast of characters and milestones of Québec’s history. Players can create new clashes between characters in a video game, try to win a stone fragment from a now-destroyed historic building, recreate the story of Alain Côté’s famous air hockey goal, or join a canoe race pitting eminent figures from the history of Québec against each other.
Consortium 19 includes Robin Dupuis and Pierre-Paul Guillemette (architecture), finlarmoiement (research and writing), Mathieu Plasse (video games) and Paquebot Design (graphics design), Mathieu Plasse (video game production), Lucie Perron (stuffed animals) José Doré (historical research) André Gagnon (technical design) and Vincent Roy (idea and concept development).
Olivier Moisan Dufour (Québec City)
Interior with Amenities
Olivier Moisan Dufour’s Interior with Amenities reconstructs an improbable dwelling formed by gathering and assembling large quantities of boards recovered from wooden pallets. Presented in a large window reminiscent of both shop windows and exhibition spaces, the project is habitable but inaccessible, occupied but not functional, private yet continually exposed to anyone who looks. The artist deliberately distorts perspectives while examining issues around the urban habitat and its precariousness.
Interior with Amenities won the 2019 Passages Insolites competition, organized in collaboration with the Université Laval faculty of art and GM Développement.
Jeffrey Poirier (Québec City)
Jeffrey Poirier’s art practice focuses on in situ installations that straddle the boundary between architecture, and sculpture. Echo is a giant sphere rolling down an alley — or purposely blocking it. Its shape confronts the straight vertical lines of the surrounding buildings, despite the illusion that all are made of the same brick material.
Max Streicher (Toronto)
Endgame (Nagg & Nell)
The choice of location for Max Streicher’s installations creates tension between the occupied space and the sense of whimsy represented by the balloon. Streicher has been creating inflatable sculptures for thirty years, with a particular interest in the motion of human breathing through artificial wind tunnel systems. The title Endgame (Nagg & Nell) refers to the Beckett play in which two characters, Nagg and Nell, live out their days in a dumpster after losing their legs.
Collective 5M2 (Québec City)
“Walk through the portals to discover a colourful world concealing a critique of our relationship with nature: artificial vegetation, industrial agriculture, sanitized food, and a dehumanized restaurant industry. Put together, it portends an uncomfortable future distorted by human efforts to exercise extreme control over the environment. Is this the inevitable endpoint of efficiency, or a sign of impending disaster?” says Collective 5M2.
Collectif 5M2 was formed by five second-year students in the Université Laval master’s of architecture program: Marielle Gervais-Joanisse, Samuel Laprise, Maxime Morency, Frank Saavedra and Catherine-Benedicte St-Laurent.
The group won the 2019 Passages Insolites competition organized in collaboration Université Laval architecture students’ association and Laurie Raphaël restaurant.
Previous Satellite Events:
Dries Verhoeven (Netherlands)
June, 21 to 29
Fare Thee Well!
At first glance, this immersive installation is an invitation to observe the landscape. Yet the four telescopes point our gaze towards a feed of words scrolling by on screens installed over two kilometers away, on the opposite bank of the river, on the rooftop of Les Résidences du Précieux-Sang, in Lévis. Over a Handel requiem, the texts of Fare Thee Well! evoke an assortment of farewells—to concepts, places, and aspects of popular culture that have fallen by the wayside, or are poised to do so. This work offers an experience into which the artist has woven certain nostalgia for lost things and a critical reflection on our collective future.
Dries Verhoeven is a Dutch theatre director and visual artist who creates installations and performances around the world. His work work interrogates the underlying mechanisms that influence our thoughts and actions.
HUMANORIUM – A Strange Carnival (traveling exhibition)
July 11 to 16, 2019
Designed and commissioned by Eve Cadieux and Vincent Roy, HUMANORIUM – The Strange Carnival is a traveling exhibition reminiscent of the carnivals and country fairs of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Works from previous editions of Passages Insolites:
— Photo Credit: Stéphane Bourgeois