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Ville de Montréal

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Gilles Mihalcean

La peur

1993
Presentation of the artwork
Situated at the end of the walkway linking the Centre d’histoire de Montréal and the Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum, in a square described by its architects as “a counterpoint of sidewalks and green space,” La Peur brings together an assortment of highly symbolic elements. From a granite slab rises a cross formed of a complex assemblage of square steel rods. On the ground, an aluminum disk adorned with an index finger, made from a cast of the artist’s finger, leans on the cross, and a layered block of sandstone, limestone, and marble is placed on the base. At a slight distance is a granite rock painted green.

Made from manufactured, processed, and raw materials, La Peur reflects the different stages in the development of civilization. The rock and the block made of strata of stone refer to the most ancient times. The cross, the essential symbol of Christianity, refers to the active participation of religion in Québec’s development; from a geographic point of view, it echoes, on a human scale, the cross on Mount Royal. An unusual shape appended to it evokes a satellite placed in orbit in space. The finger, inserted into the disk transformed into a shield, is read as a metaphor for fear.

This unique assemblage, inspired by memories of childhood, was Mihalcean’s first outdoor artwork. It engenders a form of semantic indeterminacy that appeals to the imagination. Like many of the artist’s works, it is the viewer’s interpretation that creates the true poem. In Mihalcean’s view, it is “an attempt to create a scene by multiplying images that could be associated with it, so ... that the sculpture is presented ... as a sort of story in motion” (1998; our translation).
Associated events
The artist created the artwork specifically for the back courtyard of the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. The courtyard is integrated with the new layout of Place D’Youville, which evokes the history of this site, once an important economic and political centre in western Ville-Marie.
Gilles Mihalcean
Since 1969, Montréal-born Gilles Mihalcean has been exploring the poetic value of materials, raw or ready-made, in a way that creates a metaphor, a story born in the viewer’s imagination and inscribed in time. This self-taught sculptor, whose work contributed to the revival of sculpture in the 1970s, had a retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain in 1995.
Awards and honours
  • prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, 2011
  • bourse de carrière Jean-Paul-Riopelle, 2005
  • prix Victor-Martin-Lynch-Staunton, Conseil des arts du Canada, 1988
  • prix des Concours artistiques du Québec, 1969
Presentation of the artwork
Situated at the end of the walkway linking the Centre d’histoire de Montréal and the Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history museum, in a square described by its architects as “a counterpoint of sidewalks and green space,” La Peur brings together an assortment of highly symbolic elements. From a granite slab rises a cross formed of a complex assemblage of square steel rods. On the ground, an aluminum disk adorned with an index finger, made from a cast of the artist’s finger, leans on the cross, and a layered block of sandstone, limestone, and marble is placed on the base. At a slight distance is a granite rock painted green.

Made from manufactured, processed, and raw materials, La Peur reflects the different stages in the development of civilization. The rock and the block made of strata of stone refer to the most ancient times. The cross, the essential symbol of Christianity, refers to the active participation of religion in Québec’s development; from a geographic point of view, it echoes, on a human scale, the cross on Mount Royal. An unusual shape appended to it evokes a satellite placed in orbit in space. The finger, inserted into the disk transformed into a shield, is read as a metaphor for fear.

This unique assemblage, inspired by memories of childhood, was Mihalcean’s first outdoor artwork. It engenders a form of semantic indeterminacy that appeals to the imagination. Like many of the artist’s works, it is the viewer’s interpretation that creates the true poem. In Mihalcean’s view, it is “an attempt to create a scene by multiplying images that could be associated with it, so ... that the sculpture is presented ... as a sort of story in motion” (1998; our translation).
Associated events
The artist created the artwork specifically for the back courtyard of the Centre d’histoire de Montréal. The courtyard is integrated with the new layout of Place D’Youville, which evokes the history of this site, once an important economic and political centre in western Ville-Marie.
Gilles Mihalcean
Since 1969, Montréal-born Gilles Mihalcean has been exploring the poetic value of materials, raw or ready-made, in a way that creates a metaphor, a story born in the viewer’s imagination and inscribed in time. This self-taught sculptor, whose work contributed to the revival of sculpture in the 1970s, had a retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain in 1995.
Awards and honours
  • prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, 2011
  • bourse de carrière Jean-Paul-Riopelle, 2005
  • prix Victor-Martin-Lynch-Staunton, Conseil des arts du Canada, 1988
  • prix des Concours artistiques du Québec, 1969
Detail
Category
Fine Arts
Subcategory
Installation
Collection name
Public art
Date completed
1993
Mode of acquisition:
Purchase
Accession date
October 1 1998
Technique(s)
Painted; welded; assembled
Materials
Granite; aluminum; galvanized steel; sandstone; limestone; marble; natural granite; epoxy paint
General dimensions
365 x 121 x 320cm
Manufacturer
  • Mihalcean, Gilles
  • Vallée, G. L. / Les granits Montval
  • Usinage Peacock
  • Galvan Métal Inc.
La peur
Borough
Ville-Marie
Park
Place D’Youville