The Quebec artist Michel Goulet was born in 1944 in Asbestos and studied at the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université du Québec à Montréal. He has pursued a dual career as an internationally renowned artist and an educator, teaching first at the University of Ottawa and later at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He is recognized on the international art scene for his sculptures and permanent public art works, but also for his set designs for theatre and opera.
He has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and has represented Canada at the Venice Biennale (1988). The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal mounted a retrospective of his work in 2004.
Michel Goulet has received a number of honours, including the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, the highest distinction awarded to visual artists by the Quebec government (1990), and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2008). He was made an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 2018.
Seventeen sheets of steel are lined up down one side of a long corridor; on them are listed 60,000 illuminated first names, in every language and in alphabetical order. Each name is doubled by a tiny “garden,” also illuminated, coloured, and in perpetual motion. The seventeen sheets form a large screen on which passers-by may seek and find themselves among the first names of all communities of the world.
This is a triptych: passers-by may sit on a human-scale chair to take another look at all of humanity with its codes, signs, and symbols. They may also take a break and watch over their garden and those of others. Then, if they look ahead of them, behind the flow of passers-by they see the immaculate white wall and, finally, the timeless gate without lock or handle.