Quebec’s Largest Public Art Event
2023 marks the tenth anniversary of PASSAGES INSOLITES, Quebec City’s well-loved public art celebration. From June 22 to October 9, the province’s largest public art event will feature a retrospective route and four distinct circuits to discover the work of 40 artists from Quebec and around the world.
Prominent names this year include internationally renowned artist Felice Varini, who will present a monumental work blending into the iconic architecture of Place Royale. With massive-scale installations like Varini’s alongside miniaturist works, like the playful installations of Swedish collective AnonyMouse, contrasting scale is a leitmotif of this year’s event.
Visitors to the PASSAGE EXTÉRIEUR outdoor art circuit can view 18 public artworks in spaces ranging from the Old Port to Place Royale and Petit Champlain. New for the tenth-anniversary edition, the itinerary features the Retro Circuit, a “walk down memory lane” with photographs paying tribute to iconic works from past years.
The PASSAGE INTÉRIEUR indoor exhibitions unfold at the PASSAGES INSOLITES “epicentre” at 27 Rue Notre-Dame, where five site-specific installations are in dialogue with the architectural and heritage context of the historic Maison Hazeur, on Place Royale.
Opening August 12, the PASSAGE MURAL mural circuit will bring fresh life to a longstanding graffiti spot, Îlot Fleurie, as 13 muralists create art on the pillars of the Dufferin-Montmorency overpass. This joint project between Street Art In Action, Québec Nova Murale, and EXMURO will extend beyond the closing of PASSAGES INSOLITES 2023 in order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to visit.
The PASSAGE ÉPHÉMÈRE ephemeral interventions is a series of public art performances running from June to October 2023. Once a month, pop-up street performances and participatory installations will dazzle and delight visitors with an immersive experience in the wonderment of PASSAGES INSOLITES.
With a programming philosophy that values parity and diversity, the talents of Indigenous artists figure prominently in PASSAGES INSOLITES 2023, with six Wendat artists and one Atikamekw artist.
The 2023 tenth edition started with an opening ceremony on June 22 at Place Royale, with Andicha n'de Wendat, an all-women drum collective from Wendake, performing traditional song and dance along with a smudging ceremony in front of Quebec City’s Notre-Dame-des-Victoires church. Coming the day after National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, this emotionally resonant collective gesture represents a moment of celebration of Indigenous joy and decolonial reconciliation in the public space.
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 a 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.