Jiri Georges Lauda was born in 1925 in Prague. He studies at the Prague Museum of Fine Arts. After a brief episode in Paris, he moved to Montreal in 1951 and studied to become a teacher. The practical and theoretical training he received in his native country gave Georges Lauda basic knowledge with which he could experiment and find his true path. This multidisciplinary artist also did engravings, sculptures, illustrations, murals, creative designs and worked with ceramics. He shared a studio with ceramist Paul Pannier.
In 1964 he was invited by the La Laurentienne insurance company in Quebec City to build an 11m long-bas-relief wall for the entry hall to the Grande-Allée building. That same year, his terracotta sculpture Le Phare earned him first place at the Concours artistique de Québec.
The artist also created a bronze plaque to commemorate the continuity between the first transport system in 1861 and the metro’s grand opening in 1966. This plaque now rests at the Berri-UQAM metro station. In 1968, Georges Lauda built a ceramic and forged iron mural, Le poète dans l’univers, for the Crémazie metro station. As was the case for the piece for the Université de Montréal, he worked in collaboration with ceramist Paul Panier. He also works as an illustrator and graphic designer in the field of education.
Paul Pannier was born on Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon in 1923 and died in Montréal in 1993. He was the founder of Pannier Céramiques ltée, where many of Jiri Georges Lauda’s table pieces were produced.
The mural covers an entire exterior wall of Aréna Garon. It is composed of three figures that emerge from a grouping of white, blue, orange, and red triangular and curved shapes in both figurative and non-figurative motifs. In the left-hand figure appear male athletes, one carrying a ball and the other a hockey player. In the right-hand figure are a female swimmer and figure skater. The third figure is a circle composed only of abstract motifs.
In a large number of the collaborations between the two artists, Lauda was responsible for the artwork’s concept and design, and Pannier fired and glazed the pieces. This division of tasks was likely maintained for production of this mural, the lines and colours of which are consistent with Lauda and Pannier’s previous artworks integrated with architecture.