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Art Public

Ville de Montréal

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Michel Goulet

Un jardin à soi

Presentation of the artwork
In the arboretum of the Montréal Botanical Garden, a chair made of brass and steel is placed in the centre of an enclosure made of stainless steel formed in a lace of leaf motifs echoing those that might be found in the garden. The seat of the chair is decorated with 12 arrows in the positions of clock numbers.

The presence of the artwork in this place produces an encounter between art and nature. Un jardin à soi creates its own space for meditation and contemplation in a contained area. It offers visitors who sit in it a moment of privacy and solitude and encourages them to take an artistic look at what is around them. Sensitive to the integration of his artworks with the site where they are exhibited, Goulet summarizes the complex relationship between Un jardin à soi and its environment:

“The small space does not compete with
the space of the garden,
but summarizes its charm and use.
Its always-open gate and the openwork grillwork
make it a friendly, welcoming place.”
– Goulet, inauguration speech, 2011 (our translation)
Associated events
Un jardin à soi has an unusual history. The work is the result of an incident that affected another of the artist’s works of public art. On 7 May 1995, the poem-chair “Les hauts et les bas” in Les Leçons singulières, an artwork in Place Roy in the Plateau-Mont-Royal Borough, was stolen. In 1998, having not been able to recover the piece, the Ville decided to commission a new one to keep the artwork’s integrity. When a resident finally found the original chair in 2007, Goulet was asked to propose a new artwork integrating it.
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
Fine Arts
Collection name
Public art
Date completed
Mode of acquisition
Commission from the artist
Accession date
March 8, 2010
Cut out; assembled
Brass; stainless steel
General dimensions
101.5 x 157 x 203 cm
  • Bernard, Claude / Formaviva Inc.
  • Ladouceur, Jacques / Conception & réalisation JL Enr.
  • WBL Technologie
Un jardin à soi
Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie
Jardin botanique
Civic address
4101, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, Québec, H1X 2B2