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Art Public

Ville de Montréal

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Louis Chavignier

Le carrousel sauvage

Presentation of the artwork
On an oval concrete slab at the top of a wooded rise in Mount Royal Park, a small pavilion formed of five limestone monoliths supporting a ring is presented as a lovers’ trysting place. In the surrounding area are fragments of rock that seem displaced, like temple ruins. The artwork forms a place of encounter in which the rocks, which can be used as tables and chairs, offer a convenient spot for conversation.

There are many quotations of ancient architecture in the artwork. Menhirs, dolmens, cromlechs, and tombs are nostalgically evoked with these rocks, marking the lasting gesture of humans who conquer death only through their artistic creativity. “I don’t want to seduce, I want to disturb,” the artist summarized on the effect of strangeness produced by these unusual evocations. 1

On the other hand, the title suggests something magical in the composition, a sort of merry-go-round transporting viewers into another world where the everyday rules don’t apply. With its circularity and verticality, Le carrousel sauvage explicitly fits with the “carrousel” series that Chavignier executed between 1962 and 1969.

1. Pierre Cabanne, “Louis Chavignier parmi nous,” Coloquio, no. 80 (1989): 4 (our translation).
Associated events
Chavignier’s artwork was executed for the International Sculpture Symposium in Montréal (1964), the first time a symposium was held in North America. The goals of this concept, created a few years earlier in Europe, were to have artists create monumental sculptures in a context of encounters with the public and to provide public spaces with international-calibre artworks. Instigated by sculptor Robert Roussil, this symposium gathered 11 sculptors from nine countries and attracted more than 40,000 visitors. It was seen as one of the events that brought Québec into artistic and cultural modernity.
Louis Chavignier
Louis Emmanuel Chavignier (1922–72) was an internationally renowned French sculptor. After a brief stay at the École nationale des beaux-arts de Paris, he went to work at the Louvre, where he restored objects from Egyptian and Chaldean antiquity. During the 1950s, he began to create his own artworks, influenced by his work as a restorer.

He executed a number of works of public art and integrations of art with architecture in France, notably at Vitry-sur-Seine and Blanc-Mesnil. Also on public display is his Le vaisseau lunaire, produced for Expo 67, on the shore of Lac des Nations in Sherbrooke.
Awards and honours
  • Officier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres, France, 1972
  • Chevalier de l'Ordre des arts et lettres, France, 1962
  • prix André Susse de sculpture, 1957
  • prix Fénéon de sculpture, 1952
Variation of title
Le carrousel sauvage (SISM-64) Le manège d'amour
Fine Arts
Collection name
Public art
Date completed
Mode of acquisition
Accession date
March 23, 1966
Carved; assembled
Limestone; concrete
General dimensions
315 x 1828 cm
Le carrousel sauvage
Parc du Mont-Royal