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Ventis et soupiraux, turbulences et essoufflements
Pierre Granche
1948 - 1997

Pierre Granche graduated from the École des beaux-arts de Montréal in 1969 where he started created sculptures from different metals. After his studies, he then proceeded to learn new welding techniques. In 1976, he pursued advanced studies in sculpture at the Université de Vincennes in Paris.

Pierre Granche chose installation as his sculptural practice for public art or for exhibition sites. The artist renewed the codes of artistic practice in Quebec by expanding the notion of the artist, his or her art and the exhibition site.  The artist shows interest at an early stage in spatial organization, structural topology and topography. He sees art practically as a science, two fields for which research is a fundamental and intrinsic element. Formal research was his source of inspiration. Among the artists interested by art and the city, Granche belonged to a sub-group of people that were forever conscious for the perpetually changing aspect of the urban landscape.

It is paramount that artists integrate their work to architecture in Quebec. He participated in the Comité de la politique d’intégration au ministère des Travaux publics et de l’Approvisionnement’s study sessions and offered his services as a specialist in committees dedicated to selecting projects. Throughout his brief career, Pierre Granche created more than a hundred works of art which he integrated to architecture, to nature and, in an ephemeral way, to the exhibition site. He also created twenty public art works.

As a teacher at the Université de Montréal from 1975 until his death in 1997, Granche helped found the plastic arts section within the Département d’histoire de l’art. For Granche, you could only learn by working on concrete projects. He included students in the fulfillment of public orders or important installations for museums, adding a modern twist to the operating methods of the prestigious studios of the Renaissance or the Bauhaus.

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Acquisition mode
Source mention
Don de Gisel Saint-Hilaire
Overall size
182 x 244 x 91 cm
assembled, cut
Aménagement Faculty pavilion
Centre d'exposition, entrance hall (south wall)
2940, ch. de la Côte Ste-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3S 2C2
Monday to friday

Artwork description

In 1993, Pierre Granche was invited by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to collaborate in a collective and international exhibit L’Art prend l’air : vol parallèle, from September 17th to the 26th, directed by the Musée d’art contemporain museum curator Louise Déry.
While accepting the theme of the exhibition, which would push Granche to create links between art and airspace, he also takes the museum itself into account for his piece. Five elements are therefore included in the multi-leveled environment of the stair enclosure.
Following his exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the artist chose to keep but one element of the installation, which he modified slightly in order for it to be hung on a wall. The collaborators to this project were his students: Natalie Dionne, Katherine Paré, Gisel Saint-Hilaire, Nicolas Beaudry et Léo Dumont; the latter was his assistant for almost all his pieces.
In this piece, the element in question is a suspended cylinder in one extremity that evokes an airplane wing and three trees that appear to be twisted by the wind. Ventis, a possible reference to the piece’s title, is defined by ”trees destroyed by the wind”. The trees gain thickness by the assembling of three sectioned metal sheets. The artist fiddles with cutting the top layer and experimenting with the grill’s transparency, thus creating a shadow effect cast on the wall. The slightly inclined metal half-moons add a windy effect to the sculpture as a whole. The piece rests in front of the Centre d’exposition since Gisel Saint-Hilaire donation’s to the University de Montréal of the Fonds Pierre Granche (Pierre Granche’s archives).