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.
Trait d’union is a fountain-sculpture created by Michel Goulet to adorn the entrance to the Saint-Léonard Library situated near the borough town hall. Its placement on the site creates a link between the two institutions. It is composed of 12 columns of different heights, erected in pairs, on a single axis. On top of the columns sit different masonry compositions. On the four tallest ones, a complex metallic structure, from which a trickle of water flows into basins made of concrete and stone, forms a sort of dolmen.
These archaeologically inspired elements evoke vestiges from ancient times. They testify, in the form of invented architectural traces, to the civilizations that preceded and inspired ours.
As its title indicates, this sculpture should be seen as the link that connects the two public buildings on the site and their functions. “This hyphen is placed midway between the library, the sum of human knowledge to share, and the town hall, guardian of individual and collective rights in an organized society.” 1 The artwork, which is one of Goulet’s first public art projects, is thus presented as a reminder of the heritage of Western culture and a way to perpetuate it through creativity.
1. Michel Goulet, project submission, 1984 (our translation).