By Helen Lam
AXENÉ07’s Endless Landscapes is on at La Fonderie in Hull. Gatineau’s historical foundry turned sports complex is home to community sports leagues for most of the year. In collaboration with DAÏMÔN, Galerie UQO, and the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene Festival, La Fonderie has been transformed into a temporary visual arts gallery for the summer.
The space is 58,000 square feet of glass and steel with no pillars interrupting the interior space. As a result, there’s a scale to the exhibit that is unexpected when you enter the floor. Installations fill the room from end to end. Some pieces tower above visitors, pushing your line of sight upward and outward.
Seven featured artists were asked to think about landscapes as more than physical spaces; they were asked to consider landscapes as products of the cultural questions from a specific time and place. Their installations try to give these questions a physical form.
Explorations of themes like urbanity, cultural appropriation, and environmental destruction are among those chosen by the artists as questions of our time. Even though their installations explore the realm of ideas, they’re not dreamlike abstractions. There’s an industrial functionality to their style – a raw, unfinished energy, constructed from unvarnished wood with tubing, wires and nails left in view.
Each installation’s personality is fun to explore. The Cooling Tower takes you all the way to La Fonderie’s ceilings, where you can observe a microclimate form and dissipate from inside the structure.
The Infinity Pool features naughty starlings perched high above swimming pools in a perpetual cycle of defecation.
The crayon forest in Tout est Fragile/le perchis will catch your attention with mysterious detailing within the “trees”. The installations’ lack of ornateness creates an allotment for plenty of light and space, which made for a strangely tranquil viewing experience in the afternoon sun.
With the help of the former foundry’s ample interior, Endless Landscapes is an affecting, contemplative exhibit. Seeing this gallery space before it turns back into a multi-sports centre is worth the trip to La Fonderie.
Endless Landscapes is on display at La Fonderie (211 rue Montcalm) until Wednesday August 30. Admission is free. Visit axeneo7.qc.ca for exhibition hours.