The Courrier du Sud | Longueuil removes a work that disturbed

A work of public art caused disruption in Longueuil, to the point where the City removed the realistic figure that was installed to give the impression that a girl was swinging from a tree in St. Mark’s Park.

The installation was removed after complaints were made. People were confused by the realism of the work, mistakenly believing that a person could be in distress.

“The City decided to remove the work of art by Mark Jenkins given that it created some confusion among citizens due to the nature of the work,” said the communications department of the City of Longueuil.

Vincent Roy, co-general director and artistic director at Exmuro, responsible for the installation, was informed of the situation after the work was removed. “I am disappointed for the artist,” he confided. It’s also one less broadcast.”

The explanatory panel was to be installed on Friday [21 juin], the day after the removal of the work, which surely contributed to the incomprehension of visitors to the park of the arr. of Old Longueuil.

However, the artistic director of Exmuro is not totally surprised. Mark Jenkins’ untitled work had previously sparked reactions in Quebec, Gatineau and Boston. “The artist is known for this desire for astonishment,” continued Mr. Roy. In Boston, people contacted the fire department. Ultimately, mediation made it possible to understand the work and was used for promotion.”

The removed work was originally scheduled to remain in St. Mark’s Park until October 1st.

St. Mark’s Park. (Photo: Le Courrier du Sud – Ali Dostie)

Leave time

Vincent Roy is a defender of the principle of letting the works speak, of giving them time. “We react quickly even though we would like to give the project a chance to live,” he summarized. Just about any piece of public art, even if it’s not disruptive, is disruptive. Time takes time.”

He observes that sometimes complaints don’t come from those you’d think might be offended. Often, they become good ambassadors for these works.

The art that shakes up

Mark Jenkins is an American artist who creates sculptural installations. These are known to be very realistic. For him, the street is a stage and his works find their place in the environment, to the point where passers-by unknowingly become actors in these installations.

The one installed in Longueuil was made from plastic and wood before being covered with clothing. The hair, plastered over the face, helps to hide emotions and thus accentuates realism.

“His works are playful, sometimes disturbing,” recognizes Mr. Roy. But for me, that’s what art creates. Sometimes you have to shake up conventions.”

Exmuro’s criteria for managing its collection are not to include works of a violent or sexual nature. Then, as the artistic director says, it’s a question of appreciation.

The removed work should return to Exmuro’s warehouses in Quebec. Mark Jenkins will also be contacted to explain the situation. “I think he might be disappointed, but maybe this is not his first controversy. »

Le Courrier du Sud attempted, without success at the time of going online, to obtain comments from the artist Mark Jenkins.



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