Le Diamant to Receive a Work of Art by Multidisciplinary Artist Claudie Gagnon

March 6
2019

Le Diamant General Manager and Programming Director Bernard Gilbert and director and project initiator Robert Lepage announced the artist chosen as part of the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communication Integration Policy for the Arts in Architecture and the Environment. The selected artist is Claudie Gagnon, a well-known multidisciplinary artist originally from Montreal and based in Quebec City. Her work Atome ou le fruit des étoiles will be installed on the building’s facade above the main entrance on Saint-Jean Street.

A Symbolic Work in a Meaningful Location

The process of selecting and integrating the art work for the St-Jean Street main front entrance began in 2017. Four artists were invited to submit a concept, and, in November of the same year, artist Claudie Gagnon’s glass concept Atome ou le fruit des étoiles was selected.

Since the very beginning of the project, Le Diamant has been developed with the history of Quebec City, the Place D’Youville area, and the tourist destination of Old Quebec in mind. The selection committee for the Integration Policy for the Arts in Architecture and the Environment was looking for a work that would showcase the characteristics of Le Diamant. Through its varying effects, its multifaceted elements and its ghostly allusion to the old Cinéma de Paris sign, Claudie Gagnon’s piece meaningfully and symbolically marks the entrance of this new space.

— Robert Lepage, director and project initiator

Atome ou le fruit des étoiles

The circular work is made up of five layers of laminated glass, each with multiple facets and angles. It is enclosed by an aluminum-covered steel band and has an integrated fibre-optic light source. The work is designed to be in harmony with two principal aspects of the space: its name, Le Diamant, which refers to Cape Diamond (on which Quebec City is built) as well as the precious stone, and the architectural concept, which includes the glass, translucent elements echoed in the work.

The artist quickly decided on using glass as the primary material, as much to establish a dialogue with the glass facade as to create a work that could reflect and emit light, through which the various surrounding architectural elements would remain visible. Despite its considerable size (with a 4.5-metre diameter and a weight of almost 2.5 tons), the translucent piece doesn’t stand out conspicuously. Instead, its glass properties allow it to become an extension of the elements and hues of the building.

The work’s title refers to the atom as the symbol of the basic unit of ordinary matter composed of several smaller particles—an object containing a number of other elements. Also, on a poetic level, there is a legend in India that diamonds, which have been mined for 6000 years, are viewed as ‘the fruit of the stars,’ meaning that celestial bodies sowed them for humans to harvest.

— Claudie Gagnon

A Multifaceted Work

The work’s appearance varies depending on whether it is viewed by day or night. It evokes a number of things simultaneously: the lens of a scientific instrument, a perception-altering prism deflecting and reflecting light, a fragment of ice representing our Nordic identity, and celestial bodies. Its central section suggests a snowflake and also a compass rose pointing toward the cardinal directions, underscoring how Le Diament is a space to bring people together, a convergence point for creators and audiences from near and far. Atome ou le fruit des étoiles is a transparent work, at once discreet and scintillating. It plays with light and its surroundings to offer visitors, depending on their perspective, a kaleidoscopic view that is reflective, broadening and transformative.

My work is created from quotes, remembrances and repetition. I recycle, salvage and repurpose everyday objects, concepts, famous works, and visual and aural traces from high and popular culture. I believe they are rich sources of inspiration imbued with memory and worthy of continual renewal. In sculpture, glass is one of my preferred materials because of its contradictory qualities of fragility and resistance; its tendency to interact with light; and its transparency, which makes it appear ethereal and allows it to blend into its surroundings.

— Claudie Gagnon

In Production This Spring

Under the direction of Claudie Gagnon, this highly technical work will be built this spring by visual artist Ludovic Boney and his team in huge studios dedicated to the project. The total budget for this project is $239 000, and an amount of $207 000 is allocated for the creation of the work. The piece will be installed on the facade of Le Diamant during the month of August.

About Claudie Gagnon

Born in Montreal and based in Quebec City, artist Claudie Gagnon has a unique multidisciplinary artistic practice that explores a number of mediums, including sculpture, installation, collage, photography, food art, video and tableaux vivants. Claudie Gagnon’s work has been exhibited at the Musée national des Beaux-arts du Québec, the Montreal Fine Art Museum, and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. She has also created several public art projects including ones for Le Carré 150 in Victoriaville, the Musée d’art de Joliette and the Bibliothèque Monique Corriveau in Quebec City.