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Ville de Montréal

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Liliana Berezowsky

Smoke and steel

Presentation of the artwork
The sculpture is set back from the main entrance to a fire station. It portrays a trail of smoke. Liliana Berezowsky fixes immateriality and ephemerality with a solid, permanent material, steel. Using minimalist formal strategies that lighten the material, the artist creates volumes with thin bands of steel tracing sinuous lines and creating gaps.

The title of the work, Smoke and Steel, evokes the artist’s interest in industrial landscape and machines. The work also refers, by extension, to the vocation of the building before which it is placed and to the poem by Carl Sandburg with the same title, Smoke and Steel (1920):

A bar of steel – it is only
Smoke at the heart of it, smoke and the blood of man.
A runner of fire ran in it, ran out, ran somewhere else,
And left – smoke and the blood of a man
And finished steel, chilled and blue.
So fire runs in, runs out, runs somewhere else again,
And the bar of steel is a gun, a wheel, a nail, a shovel,
A rudder under the sea, a steering-gear in the sky;
And always dark in the heart and through it,
Smoke and the blood of a man.

This poem is reproduced in the pamphlet for Berezowsky’s exhibition at Galerie John A. Schweitzer (Montreal, 1987).
Associated events
The fire station was built in 1975. At the time it served as a headquarters and was identified as the “south fire station.” Liliana Berezowsky’s artwork was installed there in 1986.
Liliana Berezowsky
Polish-born Liliana Berezowsky arrived in Canada as a child in 1948. She earned a BA in sociology at the University of Toronto before moving to South America, where she lived for six years. She earned a BFA in 1984 and an MFA in 1989, both at Concordia University. She has taught at Concordia University since 1988, as a lecturer in sculpture and drawing. A prolific sculptor, she has crated numerous works of public art and her works are in many collections, including that of he National Gallery of Canada.
Awards and honours
  • Bourse ""B"", Canada Council , 1992
  • Bourse de longue durée ""A"", Ministère de la culture du Québec , 1991
  • Bourse ""B"", Canada Council , 1990
  • Bourse de courte durée de type ""B"", Ministère de la culture du Québec , 1989
  • Bourse projet, Canada Council" , 1988
Presentation of the artwork
The sculpture is set back from the main entrance to a fire station. It portrays a trail of smoke. Liliana Berezowsky fixes immateriality and ephemerality with a solid, permanent material, steel. Using minimalist formal strategies that lighten the material, the artist creates volumes with thin bands of steel tracing sinuous lines and creating gaps.

The title of the work, Smoke and Steel, evokes the artist’s interest in industrial landscape and machines. The work also refers, by extension, to the vocation of the building before which it is placed and to the poem by Carl Sandburg with the same title, Smoke and Steel (1920):

A bar of steel – it is only
Smoke at the heart of it, smoke and the blood of man.
A runner of fire ran in it, ran out, ran somewhere else,
And left – smoke and the blood of a man
And finished steel, chilled and blue.
So fire runs in, runs out, runs somewhere else again,
And the bar of steel is a gun, a wheel, a nail, a shovel,
A rudder under the sea, a steering-gear in the sky;
And always dark in the heart and through it,
Smoke and the blood of a man.

This poem is reproduced in the pamphlet for Berezowsky’s exhibition at Galerie John A. Schweitzer (Montreal, 1987).
Associated events
The fire station was built in 1975. At the time it served as a headquarters and was identified as the “south fire station.” Liliana Berezowsky’s artwork was installed there in 1986.
Liliana Berezowsky
Polish-born Liliana Berezowsky arrived in Canada as a child in 1948. She earned a BA in sociology at the University of Toronto before moving to South America, where she lived for six years. She earned a BFA in 1984 and an MFA in 1989, both at Concordia University. She has taught at Concordia University since 1988, as a lecturer in sculpture and drawing. A prolific sculptor, she has crated numerous works of public art and her works are in many collections, including that of he National Gallery of Canada.
Awards and honours
  • Bourse ""B"", Canada Council , 1992
  • Bourse de longue durée ""A"", Ministère de la culture du Québec , 1991
  • Bourse ""B"", Canada Council , 1990
  • Bourse de courte durée de type ""B"", Ministère de la culture du Québec , 1989
  • Bourse projet, Canada Council" , 1988
Detail
Category
Fine Arts
Subcategory
Sculpture
Collection name
Public art
Mode of acquisition:
Public commission from the Ville de Montréal
Accession date
January 1 1986
Materials
Concrete, steel
General dimensions
"Flame : 163 x 60 x 18 Socle : 94 x 70 x 60"
Mediums
Smoke and steel
Borough
Saint-Léonard
Building
Caserne d'incendie 22
Civic address
5455, rue Antonio-Dagenais, Saint-Léonard (Québec) H1S 2X3