RU: MÉTAFLORE draws creative crowds
Mount Royal is always bustling with people and last weekend was no different. In addition to the weekly tam-tams on Sundays, shops moved onto the streets under gazebos for an end-of-summer sale. By night, musicians, dancers and visual artists claimed their space on the crowded street.
RU (Réappropriation Urbaine) is a four-day creative hub connecting artists with the public and reclaiming Mont Royal Ave. for pedestrians. Marking the end of summer, RU is followed by the closure of St. Laurent Blvd. for a very similar family-friendly weekend.
Located in the aire commune between Boyer and Mentana streets, several local artists were grouped together for MÉTAFLORE, a multidisciplinary exhibition set among cargo crates, grassy patches and wooden structures, and also the theme of this year’s fair. Clad in turquoise and shaded by giant green and yellow prisms, the artwork below shared a similar biophilic essence.
Genevieve Dagenais’s fuzzy, pink, sea-cucumber-like sculpture was set in the heart of the space— flanked on either side by two cargo crates featuring the work of several other artists. On one side, Cesar Cruz-Merino’s bright and bristly sculpture complimented Dagenais’ nicely, and, though smaller, invited onlookers to get much closer. The sculpture, titled Euphoria Gloom, is a carnivorous fruit tree with an appetite for fresh flesh, born from their need for nitrogen, which is essential for the growth of the tree and the production of it’s nitrogen-rich Gloom berries.
Hanging on the crate walls surrounding Euphoria Gloom are a couple photographs from Linda Rutenberg’s series, The Garden at Night, depicting a variety of plants in ominous dark purple and mauve light.
“The project is a foray into the unknown nocturnal world of flora… I become an explorer and witness as photographer,” said the artist, who has a BFA in film and music and an MFA in Photography from Concordia. Rutenberg, who currently works at Dawson College, frequently leads open photography workshops, encouraging others to become explorers as well.
At the entrance of the site, a large metallic prism sits on a bed of grass.
“It is a sculpture that was designed to highlight two stages in the evolution of a modernized lily flower… the root, structured and straight which is the base of its development, and its flamboyant heart in full bloom which brings flexibility and life to the work,” explained Or Luminaria. Through this industrial sculpture, her intention was to become aware of the fragile beauty of our environment.
Among all the artwork being created and exhibited, onlookers were given opportunities to participate in collective murals and theatre performances throughout the weekend.
In an opposite crate, several glass bottles of various shapes and sizes containing obscur colourful liquid lined a white table, facing a video touring Montreal with a twist. Digital sculptures interrupted the urban and earthy scenes, transforming biological matter into the robotic.
These bottles were part of a matching game created by Alix Leclerc. The bottles contain olfactory elixirs that correspond to one of six plants and imaginary animals, archived on the walls of the crate. Visitors are invited to sniff, testing their nose’s ability to identify the scents and match them to the artist’s invented animals.
On Friday night several painters took to working on the streets, creating murals with tempera paint, which is easily washable, in line with the floral theme. Freelance illustrators Maylee Keo and Raphaël Dairon had their work screen-printed on RU tote bags by French artist, Léa Mercante, free of charge. While MU facilitated a participatory mural, inviting onlookers to take part of the action, crowds gathered to watch, dance and lounge on large red bean bags with Belle Guelles, completely inhabiting the Avenue.
RU: MÉTAFLORE took place on Mont-Royal Ave. between St. Laurent Blvd. and D’Iberville St. from Aug. 22 to 25. St. Laurent’s rendition of the street fair, BLVD – Boulevard Piéton, will be taking from from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 between Sherbrooke St. and Mont-Royal Ave. with numerous games to participate, and free skateboard lessons provided by Empire in celebration of their 20th anniversary.
Photos by Chloë Lalonde.