The Société de développement commercial Montréal centre-ville, supported by the City of Montreal and the Government of Quebec, announced on Monday the creation of an outdoor art gallery, which will operate 24 hours a day. firm Futil of designer and artist Alexandre Berthiaume, OXY, a gallery dedicated to digital arts, will open on rue Sainte-Catherine, opposite the Eaton Centre, in early fall.
Posted June 6
The OXY gallery will be set up in the space occupied until October 31 by several businesses, including the stripper club Super Sexe, which was ravaged in the fall by a fire. The owners of the land have agreed with the City to allow the visual arts project to see the light of day in this very busy section of Sainte-Catherine Street.
The designer of the project, Alexandre Berthiaume, had previously designed the art installation Galerie Blanc, an open-air gallery which presented photographs in the Village from 2017 to 2021. “The OXY gallery will be completely different,” he says. There will be no photographs. The fact of having two walls in this space will make it possible to offer digital art projections in large format and of high quality. The layout of the place will be different from one exhibition to another. »
The space will be fitted out, winter and summer, with street furniture that will allow the works to be exhibited and visitors to sit down to watch the wall videos or simply relax, in the middle of islands of greenery with a view. impressive on Place Ville Marie. “OXY will be a place of relaxation, reflection and contemplation,” says Alexandre Berthiaume. People will be able to meet there and watch the video works that will be shown on a loop. »
Place of oxygenation, OXY will be lit at night and fitted out in such a way that safety is assured. “There will be no place where people can hide in the gallery,” said Alexandre Berthiaume. The same way it worked with Galerie Blanc. And there were never any problems. »
The gallery will present one exhibition per year. The forty artists chosen for the first draft will be announced later. “These will be artists who innovate, working with state-of-the-art tools,” says Mr. Berthiaume, who will act as exhibition curator. With lots of digital imagery and animation. It will be a leap into the future with an experience for visitors. There could, for example, be augmented reality. And sculptures related to digital. »
As part of OXY, Alexandre Berthiaume could partner with Montreal organizations promoting the development of digital art. He is already in contact with the Ellephant gallery, which represents digital artists. “Associations in the future are possible, but we will try to be as independent as possible,” he adds.
“At least three years”?
Alexandre Berthiaume is well aware that the place will one day be taken over by the owners of the land to rebuild a building there. The OXY gallery will then be relocated, says Glenn Castanheira, general manager of Montreal centre-ville. “But it will take several years, at least three years, before a new real estate project develops there,” he adds.
The creation of the OXY gallery is an initiative taken as part of the relaunch of the city center, deserted during a large part of the pandemic. This relaunch, orchestrated with the creation of an “Alliance pour le centre-ville”, is funded by the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation, which has granted 3.5 million, or $700,000 for OXY and the rest for the deployment of light installations that will highlight the architectural heritage of the district.
“There will be a winter illumination of public places such as Square Victoria, Square Phillips or Place du Canada, and the luminous enhancement of Christ Church and Saint-James churches, which are heritage elements of the portion of the recently renovated rue Sainte-Catherine,” says Glenn Castanheira.