PASSAGES INSOLITES Adds a Touch of Magic to Urban Experience in the City of Quebec

PASSAGES INSOLITES, produced by EXMURO under the artistic direction of Vincent Roy and presented by the City of Quebec, is taking place from June 26 to October 11, 2021. This 8th edition, unprecedented in scale, has met a great success.


Nicole Banowetz (Denver, United States), "An Adaptive Moment", 2021, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

More than 20 unique and surprising works by artists from Quebec and around the world have been adding a touch of magic to the urban experience and transforming how we see the city. PASSAGES INSOLITES is open and accessible to all, and the art walk is a safe activity that’s ideal for the whole family. From ephemeral installations to unexpected encounters, art is taking over the city and popping up a street corner near you!


Benedetto Bufalino, (Lyon, France), "Lawn Cars", 2021, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

The main circuit

From Petit Champlain and Place Royale, through the Old Port, and on to Saint-Roch and Saint-Sauveur, a yellow line painted on the road will guide visitors along the 5 km circuit of singular artworks. Intrigue, surprise, unexpected joys, and moments of poetry are the order of the day, as visitors enjoy 21 works that will make you see with fresh eyes. Artists and collectives have risen to the challenge with creativity, humour, and audacity, to make art take over the city and create a space of perpetual enchantment. 


Susanna Hesselberg, (Malmö, Sweden), "When my father died it was like a whole library had burned down", 2015, Photo credit: Stéphane Bourgeois_EXMURO

Public art showcases Quebec City heritage buildings

Exclusive to this year’s edition, works of public art will challenge how we see Quebec City landmarks: 

  • "King of the Mountain" by Charles-Étienne Brochu, presented in front of the Quebec Parliament Building.
  • "ARENA" by Benoît Maubrey, presented outdoors on the grounds of the Grand Théâtre de Québec.
  • "Through the Walls" by Collectif Tel quel, winner of the student competition held through our first collaboration with the Maison des métiers d’art de Québec, presented at the Citadelle of Quebec.

Charles-Étienne Brochu (Quebec City, Quebec), "King of the Mountain", 2020, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

In another exciting collaboration, historian José Doré has partnered with two collectives of emerging artists to provide detailed historical explanations of their exciting works: 

  • "Last Stop" by Collectif du Tropique, winner of the student competition organized in collaboration with the Art School of Université Laval, is a sculptural installation featuring reproductions of commercial signage that once enlivened the streets of the Saint-Roch district. 
  • "Delirious Québec" by the collective of the same name, winner of the student competition held in collaboration with the Université Laval architecture students’ association, is an architectural flight of fancy that reproduces and recombines many of Quebec City’s landmark buildings. 

"Delirious Québec", 2021, Photo credit: Stéphane Bourgeois_EXMURO

For the first time, the performing arts are part of the PASSAGES INSOLITES circuit

Like the artworks along the circuit, performing artists (dancers, circus artists, musicians, theatre artists, and multidisciplinary artists) are taking over the urban space to spark moments of magic in the Petit-Champlain, Place-Royale, and Old Port districts. This brand-new experience straddles the thin border between reality and imagination. Les embuscades – stealth performing arts pop-ups in public spaces conceived by EXMURO, in partnership with Théâtre Premier Acte and codirected by Marc Goudreau and Vincent Roy, will take place from July 14 to August 22, in collaboration with L’orchestre d’hommes orchestres (multi-arts), FLIP Fabrique (circus), Le CRue (dance), District 7 production (music) and Théâtre Kata (theatre).


Mark Jenkins (Washington, D.C., United States), Untitled, 2021, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

Bringing the magic back to Espace 400e

This emblematic building designed for Quebec City’s 400th anniversary will welcome the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), on tour from its Boston home for a first visit to Quebec City. For a single summer, the building will be transformed into an ephemeral museum housing a unique collection of the very best bad art in the world, work simply “too bad to be ignored.” Visitors are sure to find that there is a unique pleasure in work whose intent is serious but whose execution fails lamentably.


Collectif du Tropique (Quebec City, Quebec), "Last Stop", 2021, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

An international event bringing in public art from around the world

  • Benedetto Bufalino (France): "The Lawn Cars" in Petit-Champlain.
  • Benoît Maubrey (Germany): "ARENA" an interactive sound work, part of the Grand Théâtre de Québec 50th anniversary programming.
  • Nicole Banowetz (USA): "An Adaptive Moment" in Bassin Louise.
  • Mark Jenkins (USA): "Untitled" characters scattered around the city.

Benoît Maubrey (Berlin, Allemagne), "ARENA", 2017, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

PASSAGES INSOLITES is focusing on women artists through our first-ever partnership with the OpenArt biennial of Örebro, Sweden, which has brought work by three Swedish collectives and artists: STYRELSEN FOR STÖR KONST, Ulrika Sparre, and Susanna Hesselberg. In 2022, three Quebec artists will complete the exchange by exhibiting at OpenArt.

PASSAGES INSOLITES circulating works 

EXMURO arts publics has also begun circulating works from PASSAGES INSOLITES to other cities in Quebec, Canada, and around the world as a means of promoting its artists, achievements, and expertise designing and presenting temporary public artworks. This year alone, Longueuil, Trois-Rivières, Terrebonne, Montreal, and Gatineau (as part of its Sentier Culturel initiative) are hosting works initially conceived and presented in Quebec City for PASSAGES INSOLITES.


Valérie Potvin (Quebec City, Quebec), "The Sculptor Herself", 2021, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

The first-ever PASSAGES INSOLITES catalogue makes the perfect souvenir

For the first time in our history, we are releasing a PASSAGES INSOLITES exhibition catalogue. It’s the perfect way to take some art home with you, learn more about the stories, works, and artists, and savour the memory of the 8th edition of this unique public art festival.


Wartin Pantois (Quebec City, Quebec), "Phase I", 2021, Photo : Stéphane Bourgeois

About EXMURO arts publics 

EXMURO arts publics is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to design, create, and disseminate contemporary art projects in public spaces. Since 2007 EXMURO has constantly explored new avenues for presenting public artworks in the city. Through a range of projects, EXMURO works to expand the artistic possibilities of public spaces by reaching out to audiences to spark dialogue and foster critical thinking. For EXMURO, public art affords freedom of experimentation and expression that is a necessary counterweight to the forces of standardization and pragmatism that govern so many facets of urban life. By weaving artworks into the urban fabric, they create possibilities to break through uniformity and standardization to create original and surprising experiences and encounters.

EXMURO arts publics develops large-scale projects that build community and drive artistic development and is recognized as an international leader in the world of public art, thanks to:

  • Nearly 15 years of experience designing and developing artworks and multidisciplinary projects in public spaces.
  • Workshop and production spaces in Quebec City, and an experienced technical team. EXMURO has also successfully led remote co-productions with international artists.
  • Presenter of major events such as PASSAGES INSOLITES (since 2014, Quebec City) and HUMANORIUM – The Strange Carnaval (since 2016; presented in Quebec City, Montreal (2017), Summerside, PEI (2018), Saint John, NB (2018) and Trois-Rivières (2019)).
  • Developer of circulation projects to promote the work of participating artists and its achievements and expertise in designing and presenting temporary public artworks in other cities in Quebec, Canada, and internationally.