As part of their cultural exchange, Bruxelles Mobilité and Société de transport de Montréal (STM) today announced the names of the artists who will produce new public artworks for the Montréal and Brussels métros. Belgian artist Wim Delvoye will adorn Montréal’s Place-d’Armes station with his creation, while Québec artist Patrick Bernatchez is to reciprocate with a work of art for Brussels’ Trône station.
Brussels and Montréal, October 15, 2014 – As part of their cultural exchange, Bruxelles Mobilité and Société de transport de Montréal (STM) today announced the names of the artists who will produce new public artworks for the Montréal and Brussels métros. Belgian artist Wim Delvoye will adorn Montréal’s Place-d’Armes station with his creation, while Québec artist Patrick Bernatchez is to reciprocate with a work of art for Brussels’ Trône station.
The Montréal métro will be 50 years old on October 14, 2016. In preparation for this important anniversary and in the wake of the cultural exchange with the Régie autonome des transports parisiens (RATP) completed in 2012, the STM took steps to enter into another such exchange with the Brussels métro, as it will mark its 40th anniversary on September 20, 2016. Place-d’Armes station in Montréal and Trône station in Brussels were chosen for their location in the historic district of their respective cities, but also because they will both soon undergo renovations and did not yet have a work of art.
It should be noted that in 2002, the Brussels-Capital Region signed a cooperation agreement with the Government of Québec. As such, the Québec General Delegation in Brussels also expressed strong interest in a cultural exchange between the Montréal and Brussels métro systems and has offered the STM its full cooperation to help achieve it.
The panel of experts from the Brussels-Capital Region and Bruxelles Mobilité, the administrative body responsible for equipment, infrastructure and mobility, has chosen artist Wim Delvoye to create a work of art that will be installed in the heart of Old Montréal, inside Place-d’Armes station. The station serves the Palais des Congrès de Montréal and is located on the heavily-used Orange line. Born in Wervik in 1965, Wim Delvoye is a Belgian neo-conceptual visual artist with a reputation that extends beyond his country’s borders. His works lead to all manner of thought, linking opposites and creating contradictions, thereby revolutionizing contemporary art.
Through his thought process, Wim Delvoye sees the métro station as a place where people from different social classes and with different sociocultural characteristics ebb and flow. In the fare booth area, strongly-lit from overhead neon tubes, the human presence, during daytime and at night, is transfigured. Also, the circulation of people and interior layout leave little space to showcase a work of art. However, creating artwork inside a highly functional space makes Wim Delvoye want to melt into it.
“From this, the artist wishes to create a work of art that, beyond its aesthetics, will be functional within that space. It will be his way of disappearing, while leaving a hint of Brussels behind in the centre of Montréal,” said Olivier Bastin, master architect (Bouwmeester) in the Brussels-Capital Region.
An open competition launched last May led to Patrick Bernatchez being selected to produce a work of art for Trône station in the Brussels métro. Some twenty artists from Montréal, Laval and Longueuil submitted a proposal before the May 30 deadline. Three finalists were chosen on June 16 by a jury composed of representatives from the STM, Bruxelles Mobilité and the City of Montréal, as well as influent public figures in the local visual arts scene. Final submissions were presented on October 10, and the one by Mr. Bernatchez was selected by a majority of jury members.
A self-taught artist, Patrick Bernatchez lives and works in Montréal, where he was born in 1972. His work showcases his mastery of various media, including drawing, painting, photography, installation and video. For several years now, he has attracted attention both in Québec and internationally, through collective and solo exhibitions: at the Triennale québécoise, in Montréal (2008); the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, in Québec (2010-2011); the Vancouver Art Gallery, in Vancouver (2010); the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, in Berlin (2010); the Galerie West, in The Hague (2012); and Casino Luxembourg, in Luxembourg (2014).
Time and space are recurring themes in his work. For Trône métro station, he offers a composition that occupies the two portals dominating the train platforms. Closely integrated into the balustrade and handrail, his artwork features several materials including glass, bronze and wood. It draws its inspiration from actual stories in Belgian and Canadian history, which the artist interprets by relating the human experience in a poetic fashion. “The STM is proud to provide this emerging artist, who will soon be exhibiting in Brussels, with a springboard for his remarkable talent,” declared Philippe Schnobb, STM board chairman and customer representative.
The artists’ proposals
The proposed artworks are not being presented here today, as they are almost, but not quite completed yet. Nevertheless, they will be by the end of 2014 and will then be publicly unveiled. Until that time, the public is invited to go view each artist’s website at www.wimdelvoye.be and www.patrickbernatchez.com.
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