Presentation of the artworkFive bronze busts placed on stainless steel bases form the sculptural grouping Carrefour, which is situated in what used to be the cashier’s booth at the service station. Each bust is a portrait of an inhabitant of the neighbourhood: thee elderly people and two teenagers. The elderly people are mimicking facial expressions of young people, and vice versa. The models were selected following a public invitation by the artist, and their facial expressions were faithfully rendered thanks to the alginate casting method. The artwork reflects the site’s new vocation as an intergenerational crossroads for young and old. The bases of the sculptures create a visual dialogue with the simple style of Mies van der Rohe’s architecture.
The artwork is typical of the artist’s approach, as he is interested in introducing the gestural into traditional sculpture. This work is reminiscent of another of Montillaud’s public art projects, Curiosités, this one in the Saint-Boniface Sculpture Garden in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2012, for which the artist also called upon the population in order to cast their bodies and expressions or mimicries in bronze.
Associated eventsThe artwork was produced when the former service station designed by famous architect Mies van der Rohe was repurposed to be an intergenerational community centre. Designed in 1967–68, the service station was a keystone of the Île-des-Sœurs development project, intended to be a garden city. The service station lost its primary function in December 2008, when it was closed; declared a historical monument, it was then rehabilitated to become an intergenerational community centre. Restoration of the building fell under the government of Québec’s Politique d’intégration des arts à l’architecture et à l’environnement des bâtiments et des sites gouvernementaux et publics.
Francis Montillaud is an artist born in the Québec City region. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in visual arts at Université Laval in 2003, where he concentrated in new media. He moved to Montréal and earned a master’s degree in visual and media arts at UQAM. He was selected to be in the Manifestation internationale d’art 3: Cynismes? de Québec, presented by curators Patrice Loubier and André-Louis Paré in 2005. In 2009, his participation in the Paysages Éphémères festival was critically acclaimed, bringing him to the notice of the public in Montréal.
Awards and honours
- Mention spéciale, Fondation Sylvie et Simon Blais, 2011
- Prix La Vague/Judith Hamel, meilleure oeuvre en art numérique, 23e Festival International du Cinéma Francophone en Acadie, 2009
- Bourse de la Fondation Charles-Gagnon, 2009
- Finaliste à la Soirée des Masques pour l conception vidéo de la pièce Ailleurs de Kevin Mccoy., 2007