Born in Granby, Charles Daudelin took Paul-Émile Borduas’s advice to move to Montréal, where he took courses at the École du meuble from 1939 to 1943. Elected a member of the Contemporary Arts Society in 1941, he lived in New York and then in Paris, where he attended Fernand Léger’s studio. Teaching at the École des beaux arts de Montréal, Daudelin created the “integrated art” section there in 1963. Among his most prestigious accomplishments in integration art are the altarpiece in the Sacred Heart chapel at the Notre-Dame basilica and the sculpture-fountain Embâcle at Place du Québec in Paris.
A truly monumental work of urban landscaping, Agora is composed of a grouping of twenty concrete aediculas with hollowed volumes overlooking a promenade of inlaid cobblestones. Originally, pools and water curtains, a small stage, benches, and plants were scattered in this square, with the goal of appropriation of the site by the public. The sculpture-fountain Mastodo forms the central pivot of this minimalist composition.
This work, unique in the public art collection of the Ville de Montréal for both its size and its utilitarian purpose, is exemplary of a time when artists appropriated industrial materials in a brutalist aesthetic.