Artist in residence
Discover ANDROÏDES, the latest work of Gilles Mihalcean, which is now part of Domaine Forget de Charlevoix Harmonic Sculpture Garden's permanent collection.
Inspired by renowned gardens such as Storm King Art Center and Pepsico in New York, the Domaine Forget de Charlevoix Harmonic Sculpture Garden is a unique destination. The institution wishes to enhance its breathtaking site by adding public artwork. Nearly half of the 100-acre estate displays more than 23 monumental sculptures by artsits from Quebec and beyond.
A self-taught sculptor, Gilles Mihalcean has created several public artworks including Paquets de lumière (2017) in the Quartier des spectacles in Montreal. He has also taken part in many exhibitions, including a retrospective at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal (1996). He is the recipient of several awards, including the Jean-Paul-Riopelle grant (2005) and the Paul-Émile-Borduas prize (2011). He also received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University (2019).
Domaine Forget de Charlevoix: Did you know about the Harmonic Sculpture Garden before being invited to create a piece for Domaine Forget?
Gilles Mihalcean: No, I didn’t actually. As a member of the jury for the Québec government’s 1% program in 1996 (Lucienne Cornet’s work) I had only briefly stopped by at Domaine Forget and was unaware of the scale and scope of its operations and outreach.
DFC: Did you immediately accept the invitation to create a sculpture at Domaine?
GM: Of course. I accepted Serge Murphy’s invitation with pleasure and enthusiasm because I firmly believe in the concept of open-air museum-gardens like this one. They make art accessible to all publics and have a true impact on bringing awareness to the art form that is sculpture.
DFC: Can you tell us more about "Androïdes", the piece that you created for Domaine Forget
GM: Inspired by the immensity of the graceful surroundings at Domaine Forget, I imagined a sculpture telling the story of two android beings from a distant universe coming together for a romantic dance. Interwoven together in a galactic choreography, they seem to point, with their pilgrim’s staff, towards the Milky Way. The sober palette unifies each part of the sculpture and tries to soften the giants to the point of transforming them into a bouquet of flowers, or even into a burst of light.
DFC: After being visiting the site in 2019, were there any changes or alterations needed on the work?
GM: I came to Domaine Forget in 2019 to let myself be inspired. At the time, I had not yet designed the sculpture. Once on the property, I was impressed by the huge rocks that are all over the site, that’s when I got the idea to include one in my work. I saw it as a sort of tribute to the unique landscape found at Domaine Forget.
DFC: How does this piece relate to your other works of art?
GM: Most of my works are developed vertically colour is an important element. "Androïdes" is no exception. All my sculptures have a playful aspect that prompts visitors to assimilate the reality of the sculpture and transform it into an object of their own imaginative experience.
DFC: What do you think visitors will make of "Androïdes"?
GM: I think that visitors will enjoy this sculpture. They should view it with great interest and curiosity due to the amalgamation of forms and colours as well at its reference to a present day theme. I also think that the effect of the light on the different parts of the sculpture as well as the invitation to be a part of this metaphor by gazing at the stars through a figurative eyeglass will intrigue visitors.
DFC: How do you foresee the development of the Harmonic Sculpture Garden?
GM: I really appreciate the fact the Harmonic Sculpture Garden at Domaine Forget is on its way to becoming a gathering place for works by Québec artists. I truly believe that it can be recognized as a major showcase for the aesthetics, interests, and concerns of our artists. In this regard, I’d like to acknowledge Serge Murphy and his team’s outstanding work.
DFC: Tell us about your future projects?
GM: I’m currently working on a vast exhibition of my sculptures for La Poste in Montreal. There will be a mixture of recent and older works on exhibit from October 16, 2021 to mid-January 2022. Starting mid-February 2022, a retrospective of my sculptures, based on the theme of the cosmos, will be featured at the Musée régional de Rimouski.
DFC: real. The main ones are: