The New Edition of Passages Insolites is here...

Aug 03, 2017

You haven’t had the best of design festivals until you see this one. Think eccentric for the exhibition of unusual passages is here. For a fourth edition, Passages Insolites (Unusual Passages) is back in downtown Quebec City. Developed by EXMURO, and under the artistic direction of Vincent Roy, Passages Insolites 2017 walks off beaten trails to offer unusual, surprising encounters. 9 artists and collective of architects had reinvented and explored the idea of the passage as well as the concept of unusual. A unique way to experience the city!


 But over the years the structure gradually ceded its position on the city’s shoreline, until the obsolete, abandoned landmark was paved over with layers of asphalt. A 1977 reversal of fortune saw the Battery completely dug up and rebuilt. Impostor raises questions about the uses and abuses of historic landmarks with an illusory passage through the Royal Battery. By making two structures meet in a previously impenetrable site, the project evokes and interrogates the theatricality and sleight-of-hand inherent in the often factitious recreations of historic buildings.  


A widely used symbol in the sacred imaginary, mysticism, and mathematics, the cube has long been a source of fascination and mystery. Revered in some cultures as a symbol of stability and the divine, the shape also stands as an emblem of the human-made order (vs. the natural world), and powerful tool for rational spatial organization. With this playful exploration iconography and symbolism, Space Cube offers visitors a glimpse of an imaginary world concealed behind translucent yet reflective walls. Inside, a symbiotic system is somehow at once organic and geometric. Peering through the four peepholes reveals a hybrid city, selectively reflecting the world outside, augmented by emanations from within.


A desire to strip objects of their primary meanings and instead take them as raw materials for new and surprising forms resulted in a figurative and literal reimagining: the garbage container has not only ceased to contain anything, but its opaque interior is resplendent with mirrors. A plethora of small golden chains hang from the dumpsters perforated bottom, like cooked noodles stuck to the bottom of a pot. Those walking underneath the work will be gently brushed in the face by the chains, subverting our ideas of our surroundings. Thwarted expectations elicit contemplation, and this bizarre juxtaposition of ugliness and beauty inspires us to question our aesthetic prejudices and the meanings of the objects all around us in the urban environment.  The work evokes the hard passage between childhood and adult life. The plane, symbol of lightness and dreams, experienced a difficult landing. The design of the aircraft (white color with black edges) is a reference to the world of comics, place of escape as fantastic playgrounds of childhood.  


The piece evokes the feeling of sailing under heavy winds with a series of mast-like cylinders, a ship-like shape, and rigging. The masts are a wind organ, set vibrating by river breezes. An open volume evokes a listing ship; a lateral incline a vessel buffeted by wind and surf. On the ground, a tangle of hemp and nylon rope stands in for the tumult of waves and the convergence of the materials and know-how of yesterday and today.

Combining two classic symbols of freedom and mobility, the tent-trailer and the dirigible balloon,Outdoor Ball Games is a large-scale sculpture of a truly one-of-a-kind motor home. The classic compact tent trailer, a potent symbol of escape, is truncated and loaded down with a massive zeppelin, a vehicle that brings to mind certain more tragic moments in human history. With a healthy dose of humour, the themes of travel and migration are tackled in this improbable assemblage that plays with notions of proportion, makes fun of our concept of progress, and flings us headlong into a fictional universe.



Established in 2007, EXMURO has the mandate to design and disseminate pluridisciplinary artistic projects in the urban public space. Since 10 years, the organisation works on different artistic and architectural projects through the city. Among its achievements: Passages InsolitesHumanorium – L’étrange fête foraineLa Palissade – L’expo du siècle!,etc.


Photo Credits: Stephane Bourgeois

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