Presentation of the artworkOptimax, like all of the artworks produced during the International Sculpture Symposium that took place in Mount Royal Park in 1964, is installed in the clearing that the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted called “the glades.” This abstract artwork is made of two elements. The trapezoid-shaped reinforced-concrete base, the façade of which slants backward, serves as a pedestal for a geometric limestone volume composed of two cubes resting on a triangular volume, which was originally red. The surface of each of these forms has been treated differently: whereas the cubes are textured, even rough, the triangle is smooth. The sculpture is in close relation to the topography: the base is perpendicular to the footpath on its edge and matches the slope of the terrain.
Associated eventsEloul’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.
Kosso Eloul began his art education in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1938, and then continued his studies in Chicago, from 1939 to 1943, with Frank Lloyd Wright and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. He served in the army during the Second World War and the war of independence from Palestine, before returning to his art practice in 1948. He represented Israel at the Venice Biennale in 1958. In 1961, he created the eternal flame for the Hall of Remembrance at Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial to victims of the Holocaust. Eloul moved to Canada in 1964. He has produced a number of works of public art in Canadian cities as well as in Mexico City and at the Canadian embassy in China.