Born in 1925 in Montreal, Marcel Barbeau is a pioneer of the Automatist movement and counts amongst those artists who laid the foundations of modern art in Quebec. A painter, choreographer and sculptor, he has remained faithful throughout his career to an approach rooted in spontaneity, intuition and experimentation. Adhering to an ideology of non-conformity, he produced a protean body of work synonymous with great freedom of expression. Marcel Barbeau was made Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and is member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 1993. He was twice-honored in 2013 as he was awarded both the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
Marcel Barbeau, a painter, sculptor and transdiciplinary artist associated with Québec’s Automatist movement, created Le saut du tremplin in 1976, the year of the Montréal Olympic Games– hence the reference to the gymnast Nadia (Comaneci) in the tile. Originally installed in front of the headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Association (ICAO), this bright-red sculpture, with its clean, dynamic lines, now stands in Old Montréal, in the park at the corner of Saint-Pierre and De la Commune streets. Its installation on a base that raises it completely off the ground brings out the fluidity of its design and its sense of lightness, and invites viewers to walk around it and experience it in terms of space and time.