Going green at Place des Arts



    MONTREAL, June 6 /CNW Telbec/ - This summer, Francis Montillaud, winner
of the sixth annual OEuvre d'art éphémère, a competition organized by Place
des Arts, invites the public to "go green" with his piece Se mettre au vert.
Installed around the Place des Arts Esplanade pool, this refreshing concept
stems from the artist's desire to superimpose the serenity of nature on
downtown Montréal, and in so doing to create a peaceful oasis in the midst of
an area in constant motion.
    Each year, a committee selects an artist to install his or her works in
or around the Esplanade pool for the entire summer. Marie Lavigne, Executive
Director of Place des Arts and initiator of OEuvre d'art éphémère, points out
that the competition's mission is to "offer a visual artist high visibility in
one of the busiest spots in the city. Each year, some three million passersby
cross the Esplanade. Most of this traffic is during the summer festival
season, when the Esplanade plays host to many major events. With the OEuvre
d'art éphémère, Place des Arts offers the public a chance to see art in an
urban environment."
    For Mr. Montillaud, Se mettre au vert is an environmentally themed
installation whose palette-as green as the name implies-stands in stark
contrast to the surrounding concrete. "Se mettre au vert pays homage to
nature, leisure and relaxation," he says. "It is intended to give passersby
who frequent this public space a momentary break from the frenetic pace and an
opportunity for reflection." To do so, the artist has created an arrangement
of brightly coloured layers that work with the ornamental pool in much the
same way as a theatre set. The superimposed layers form a spectacular
landscape with a giant flower as the finishing touch. Human silhouettes,
including a golfer, complete the ensemble.
    The installation draws on the tradition known as trompe l'oeil
(literally, "fool the eye"). From afar, the spectator sees a harmonious
landscape; but on approaching, receives the impression that the objects have
moved. The perspective thus varies based on a viewer's position in relation to
the work.
    The installation's various elements are made from steel and wood,
materials that reference the urban landscape and signal the increasingly
complex relations between urbanization and environmental concerns. In this
piece, nature's fragility is emphasized by its reproduction in an urban
setting-a context increasingly hostile to the natural world.

    BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

    For the past few years, Francis Montillaud's practice has leaned toward
video installation. His work has shown in Québec and internationally. In March
2006, he presented Helioplage at the Abattoirs de Toulouse. He also
participated in the Manifestation internationale d'art de Québec in 2005 and
the 6th Biennale de Champ Libre in 2004. Mr. Montillaud is also active in the
theatre. He created the video for Kevin McCoy's play Ailleurs. A graduate of
the Université Laval fine arts program, he lives in Montréal and works in
Québec City and Montréal.
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For further information:

For further information: Marie-Josée Poisson, Communications Advisor and
Editor, Magazine de la Place des Arts, (514) 285-4390, mjpoisson@pda.qc.ca

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