Summer 2019 – Passages Insolites 2019, Quebec City’s 4 km public art circuit, invites residents and visitors to discover 14 installations in the historic Petit Champlain and Saint-Roch districts. Produced by EXMURO arts publics, the 6th edition of the event features “unusual passages” by local and international creatives putting surprising elements in pathways that are normally taken for granted as well as posing profound questions about nowadays social and environmental issues.
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Quebec City-based Jeffrey Poirier’s Echo installation features a sphere rolling down the alley… “Or is it purposely blocking it? Its shape confronts the straight vertical lines of the surrounding buildings, despite the illusion that all are made of the same material, brick.”
Quebec City-based collective BGL explores the precarious balance between the need of control and freedom. A metal gate constructed from security fences marks a fictitious border that seems to have been forced. “This barrier appears austere and intimidating, but a closer look reveals handcrafted ornamentation, which makes its presence less intimidating while sowing doubt about its true function.” Say at BGL.
Toronto-based artist Max Streicher has stuck two inflatable clown heads between building walls. Compounding the strangeness, the figure of the clown—an object of mirth—takes a turn for the disturbing, depending on our point of view and our level of sensitivity. 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.
The bust of Louis XIV, trapped in an eternal snowstorm, is the centrepiece of this oversized snow globe-turned into monument to remind the the passage of the seasons and make reflect on climate change. The installation by Lucie Bulot and Dylan Collins from Toronto brings winter into the summer. “By capturing a “sample” of winter, the installation rises above the passage of the seasons, bringing two climates into coexistence.”
Why would a canon – a weapon designed to kill- be a more important emblem of a city than a child’s play set, a lamppost, a park bench or even a trash can? Montreal-based artist Guillaume La Brie puts street furniture on a plinth to morally rebalance the hierarchy of urban elements. “I wanted to question the way we consciously and unconsciously classify objects all around us and especially the consecration of official heritage elements”.
Montreal-based Collectif Allard-Duchesneau presents Celestial Rubbish, a sculpture made from dumpsters. The ingenious composition provides an immersive passage through a surprising space juxtaposing the ugly and the beautiful. The duo of artists questions “our preconceived aesthetic judgments of both art and urban objects”.
Brandon Vicker’s Alouette satellite has once again crashed in Quebec City! The installation recalls modernity’s failed promise of a brighter future. “It could equally well represent our ever-growing obsession with connectivity and the resulting accumulation of space garbage”. Will the day come when the sky finally does fall down on our heads?
All photos: courtesy of Passages Insolites 2019.