At age 16, Claude Théberge was admitted to the graphic art program at the École des beaux-arts de Québec, where he studied with Jean-Paul Lemieux and Jean Dallaire from 1950 to 1954. From 1954 to 1960, he lived in Paris, where he studied, successively, at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, the École du Louvre, André Lhote’s academy, and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1963, having returned to Montréal, he founded Atelier Claude Théberge, bringing together 10 artists from various disciplines interested in the integration of arts with architecture, including Marcel Gendreau.
Force consists of a fountain-sculpture composed of seven concrete monoliths each fractured into two pieces. Installed in the centre of two juxtaposed pools, the monoliths are arranged vertically in parallel. The fractures within each monolith are serrated, producing a number of angular points from which water jets spout.
This work refers to a practice based on technical issues related to materials. For the artist, it symbolizes natural resources and bespeaks his fascination with the power of concrete: “I like working with concrete because it is hard, healthy, powerful. It is a material that is particularly well suited to northern countries.”