As we brace for the approaching winter, one of this city’s greatest havens of warmth and shelter is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The commercial underground complex, Place Ville Marie, often referred to as “Montreal’s Grande Dame”, has been an important landmark from day one. Incorporating the latest technological, energy efficiency and environmental innovations, PVM has 10,000 occupants and attracts some 360,000 visitors every week. To commemorate its anniversary, it has commissioned a work of art for its outdoor esplanade, and the winner of a competition launched in 2011 was Montreal artist Nicolas Baier. (His art is already incorporated in the architecture of the Sir George Williams campus of Concordia University, the artist’s alma mater.) The following criteria were applied for the selection: the art had to be by a recognized Quebec artist with pertinent experience in public art, and with works found in Quebec museum collections. Fulfilling all of the above, Baier’s Self-portrait, created with the architectural firm Atelier in situ, features a massive conference table surrounded by typical office chairs and emblematic objects, with mirrored walls that both open up and enclose the space. The work, in the words of the artist, “sprung from the desire to share, Self-portrait seeks to reduce this place of consultation, co-operation, meditation, decision-making to its purest, simplest expression (…)”. A snapshot of Montreal’s striking architectural complex, Baier’s installation is elegantly modernistic and conceptual while remaining accessible and recognizable. It exemplifies what is best in public art, and is an encouraging symbol of the relevance of contemporary art is today’s, and any epoch’s, society.

 
NICOLAS BAIER
Self-portrait, 2012
Work created with the architectural firm Atelier in situ, a gift from the Royal Bank of Canada, Ivanhoé Cambridge and AIMco on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Place Ville Marie.
nicolasbaier.com/
www.flickr.com/photos/nino_ary/7992009575/(lien externe)

Image
Image