Gwenaël Bélanger lives in Montréal. He has had solo exhibitions at the Musée régional de Rimouski; EXPRESSION, centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe; and in Montréal at the Galerie de l’UQAM, Centre d’art contemporain Optica, Centre des arts actuels Skol and Galerie Graff. Among the group exhibitions that have included his works are The Hidden Land at the Nettie Horn Gallery in London (2009), Still Revolution in the Contact Photography Festival in Toronto (2009), and La Triennale québécoise at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2008). A recipient of the Prix Pierre-Ayot en 2009, Bélanger is represented by Galerie Graff in Montréal and the Nettie Horn Gallery in London.
La Bourrasque is a mural work composed of pieces of cut-out stainless steel slightly separated from the concrete surface to which they are attached, giving the sense that they are floating. The pieces portray more than 100 symbols referring to knowledge, which the artist has arranged as if they had been blown around by a strong gust of wind. Gwenaël Bélanger describes La Bourrasque as follows: “I imagined the poetic instant when everything that is contained in the different documents in the library escapes through the slot in the book chute. And so, outside, we see a big jumble of sheets of paper, images, lines, objects, letters, numbers, figures, drawings, and more taking flight pell-mell.” The artwork is typical of Bélanger’s work, as he is interested in falling, movement, and bursting as ways to challenge modes of representation.
Both outside and inside the building, the artwork is integrated with the wall perpendicular to the main entrance to the library. La Bourrasque welcomes visitors and guides them into the lobby, where the artwork seems to take flight upward and through the large clerestory.