Montréal, March 29, 2011 As part of its cultural exchange with the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP) and to celebrate 50 years of the Délégation générale du Québec à Paris and the 150th anniversary of public transit in Montréal, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) will present the Paris métro with a public work of art produced by Québec artist Geneviève Cadieux. “The STM is proud to entrust such a well-known artist with the creation of this work of art, one that will strengthen the bonds of friendship between Montréal and Paris,” declared Mme Odile Paradis, Senior Director of Public Affairs and Co-ordinator of the STM’s Arts and Artistic Heritage Committee.
Last May, the STM launched a competition for the creation of a public work of art that will be featured at Saint-Lazare métro station in Paris. No fewer than 37 artists from Montréal, Laval and Longueuil duly submitted their proposals before the deadline at noon on May 27. The three competition finalists were chosen June 1 by a jury composed of representatives from STM, RATP and Ville de Montréal, as well as several influent public figures in the Montréal visual arts scene. When the final proposals were unveiled on September 27, the one presented by Ms. Cadieux was selected by a majority of jury members.
A strong image from Montréal is transported to Paris
Well-known by Montrealers, the artwork installation by Geneviève Cadieux entitled La Voie lactée, perched atop the Montréal Museum of Contemporary Art, will be reproduced and undergo a metamorphosis at the Saint-Lazare station. Seen from afar in Montréal, seen up close in Paris, La Voie lactée will become La Voix lactée. The first is luminous and distant, the second shimmering and palpable. Set in close visual and physical proximity to people, and offering a decidedly poetic tone, La Voix lactée will draw the eyes of Paris transit users toward the “source of the melody,” a timeless encounter of place, image and words in a milky white underground passageway.
La Voix lactée will be created using glass mosaic tiles and fill the entire surface of the corridor’s spandrel wall linking the mezzanine from métro lines 9 to 14. Written by Anne Hébert, who lived in Paris from 1965 to 1998, these words will mark one of the corridor walls leading to the mouth design:
Bien avant les images et les couleurs
La source du chant s’imaginait
À bouche fermée
Comme une chimère captive
A highlly regarded artist
Cadieux’s artwork explores the metamorphosis of photographic images obtained through their recording and production process. Presentations of her artwork in museums, private, or public spaces, are inspired by theatrical, cinematic scenes, advertising strategies, and their effects on individuals. She is primarily devoted to producing large-scale photographic images and installations that essentially deal with both the human body and landscape, defined as where body and mind converge.
Since the early 1980s, Geneviève Cadieux has taken part in a number of group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, in Europe, Australia and Asia. In 1990, she represented Canada at the Venice Biennale. Her art has been the focus of several solo exhibitions around the world and is found is many museums and private collections; the elles@centrepompidou exhibition at Centre Georges-Pompidou in Paris is currently showing one of her works. Geneviève Cadieux is an associate professor at Concordia University in Montréal since 2002. She was presented with the Pratt & Whitney Canada Prize in 2007 during the Conseil des arts de Montreal's annual Grand Prix luncheon, awarded to a professional Montreal artists in the field of visual arts. The Canada Council for the Arts recently announced that she had won a 2011 Governor-General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
Unveiling in Paris set for October 2011
Once the production and installation of the artwork is completed, by the end of August 2011, an agreement between STM and RATP will formalize the gift. The public unveiling of the work is set for October 2011, as part of the 50th anniversary of the Délégation générale du Québec in Paris. The inauguration will also coincide with the 150th anniversary of public transportation in Montréal, the first tramways having started to operate in the city’s streets on November 27, 1861.
Lastly, the STM signed a cooperation agreement with RATP, in which the two parties pledged to exchange a work of art. Thus, in 2003, the Montréal métro gained a decorative wrought iron grillwork, in the Art nouveau style, by architect Hector Guimard, an authentic and masterful work of art surrounding the entrance to Square-Victoria métro station in the Quartier international de Montréal. A year from now, the Paris métro will own a decidedly modern work of art from Montréal, La Voix lactée.
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