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Art Public

Ville de Montréal

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Raphaëlle De Groot

Les constellations de l'hippocampe

Presentation of the artwork
Les constellations de l’hippocampe is based on the embodiment and representation of memory as a social transformation process. The work is inspired by how memory operates, and its form evokes the function of the museum as a system that contributes to a broader circuit of memory connected to the city, its space, and its inhabitants. To awaken residents’ memories, Raphaëlle de Groot asked them, “How does Montréal taste? How does Montréal smell?” From the responses (traces and stories) gathered during spontaneous encounters and organized workshops, de Groot and her collaborators imagined a sculptural installation composed of two groups with celestial names. The “Milky Way” is an assemblage of 665 “memory keys” – made of fragments of road signs and aluminum and brass plates perforated with pictograms – bearing interventions by Montréalers. To these constellations are added seven bronze “nebulas” made from wax modelled by people who contributed to the creative process. The work represents different experiences of the city and results from a participatory approach that mobilized a large number of people in its design and production. Like the museum’s values, the work embodies openness, commitment, inclusion, accessibility, dialogue, and innovation. A total of more than 350 people took part in the creative process, as did community organizations, schools, and an early childhood centre. For more information, visit
Associated events
The production of Raphaëlle de Groot’s artwork falls within the context of the transformation and relocation of the Centre d’histoire de Montréal, which has become MEM – Centre des mémoires montréalaises, situated in the heart of the Quartier des spectacles. More than an institution dedicated to history, MEM is a citizen-museum space open to all who mobilize Montréalers around true local stories.
Raphaëlle De Groot
Raphaëlle de Groot lives and works in Montréal and Orsigna, Italy. For twenty-five years, her work has been shown in Canada and abroad. She has participated in Nuit Blanche in Paris, MOMENTA Biennale de l’image in Montréal, and the Venice Biennale, and her works were in an exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute. A graduate of the Université du Québec à Montréal (MA, 2007), she has received the prix Pierre Ayot (2006) and the Sobey Art Award (2012). In her multidisciplinary practice, de Groot fosters the encounter of experiences and meaningful narratives. This is her first permanent work of public art.
Awards and honours
  • Prix Sobey, 2012
  • Prix Graff, 2011
  • Prix Sobey, 2008
  • lauréat/lauréate, Prix Pierre-Ayot, 2006
Fine Arts
Mixed Media
Collection name
Integration with architecture
Date completed
Mode of acquisition
Public commission from the Ville de Montréal (competition by public notice)
Accession date
June 14, 2021
casting, cutting out, piercing, assemblage, welding
Bronze; stainless steel; brass; copper, recycled road signs
General dimensions
118,5 x 399,5 x 76
  • Dumontier, Ariel / Infravert
  • Ponton-Pham, Eva-Loan / Atelier La Coulée
  • Marcotte, Simon
  • Paquette, Anne-Marie / L4 Studio Inc.
  • Larocque, Gabrielle
  • Dancoste, Lola
  • SendCutSend
Les constellations de l'hippocampe
MEM — Centre des mémoires montréalaises
Civic address
1210 Boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2S5