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Michel Goulet

Les leçons singulières (volet 1)

1990
Presentation of the artwork
The first part of Goulet’s Leçons singulières is a bronze, brass, and stainless steel sculptural ensemble composed of eight unique chair-objects and a fountain-table portraying a map of the world. The poem-chairs are also adorned with everyday objects representing the world around us, such as a wheel, a spiral, a funnel, and a puzzle.

The poetic mixture of common objects transforms the viewer’s vision and apprehension of the square. By juxtaposing public and private space, the poetic and the utilitarian, this amazing furniture is liberated from its primary use to energize the connection between residents and the space that they share with the community. In the artist’s view, Les leçons singulières “constitutes a grouping of poetic references to urban life and takes a close look at community relations. It invites us down a real and imaginary path and forces us to make the detours and turn-backs necessary for an adventure of discovery.” A transit point or a place to relax, the square offers a moment of engagement thanks to the artwork’s influence.
Associated events
In 1988, the city announced that the parking lot situated at the corner of Rue Roy and Rue Saint-André was to be transformed into a square. The following year, a public competition – the first following the Ville’s adoption of an action plan respecting public art, in 1989 – was held, resulting in the selection of Goulet’s proposal. A second section of the artwork was installed at the end of Rue Roy, in the Léo-Ayotte belvedere in Parc La Fontaine.
Michel Goulet
Born in Asbestos in 1944, Michel Goulet studied art at the Université du Québec à Montréal. A number of his large-scale projects are in the form of poem-chairs anchored to the ground in public areas, such as the ones temporarily installed at the southwest entrance to Central Park in New York (1990) and those in Place de la Gare in Québec City (2008). Goulet explored this concept when he represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1988. His works of public art are also on display in Toronto, Lyon, and Paris.

He had a retrospective exhibition at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2004.
Awards and honours
  • Ordre national du Canada, 2012
  • Docteur d'honneur, Université de Sherbrooke, 2010
  • Membre de l'Académie royale des arts du Canada, 2009
  • Prix du Gouverneur général en arts visuels et en arts médiatiques , Conseil des Arts du Canada, 2008
  • Prix Paul-Émile Borduas, 1990
Detail
Variation of title
Les leçons singulières (première partie)
Category
Fine Arts
Subcategory
Installation
Collection name
Public art
Date completed
1990
Mode of acquisition:
Public commission from the Ville de Montréal (competition by public notice)
Accession date
September 30 1990
Technique(s)
Cast; cut out; shaped
Materials
Bronze; brass; stainless steel
General dimensions
97 x 2000 x 1000 cm
Manufacturer
  • Fonderie d'art d'Inverness Inc.
  • Atelier Métatechno
Les leçons singulières (volet 1)
Borough
Le Plateau-Mont-Royal
Park
Place Roy