“When you present something playfully, or even satirically, you create a space where people can drop their defences. When you manage to do this, you can reach them at a level at which they’ll be receptive to what you have to say.”
— Peter Gibson (a.k.a. Roadsworth)
Urban artist Roadsworth has made use of the by-products generated by the daily activities of the most important commercial retail centre in downtown Montréal – a UNESCO City of design – to create a monumental art installation, generated entirely from recycled materials: FRAGILE, an urban garden landscaped over five stories of the Montréal Eaton Centre.
Roadsworth (i.e. Peter Gibson) and fellow artist Brian Armstrong were invited by the PROJEKROOM collective and welcomed by the Montréal Eaton Centre to collect directly from its recycling containers, over a period of more than eight months, the working materials they would come to use to create the installation. Through the support of PROJEKROOM, which ensured the implementation of this initiative, the artists transformed the collected recyclable residual waste into an ecosystem that raises awareness of the value of everyday materials.
Internationally reknowned and recognized, Roadsworth first made his mark by painting the streets of Montréal, inspired by his desire to see more bike paths in the city. Since then, he has continued to develop a distinctive visual language, working with streets markings and other elements from the urban landscape, which has quickly garnered him public appreciation. Recently, he contributed to numerous artistic projects that had great success, namely in London and California. Roadsworth’s reputation knows no boundaries and the Montréal Eaton Centre is honoured to welcome this unique artist that, once again, presents us with a remarkable work of art.
Brian Armstrong (a.k.a '2Youth') is a notoriously unknown artist. Recognized for backing many progressively artistic Montréal movements, he is a founding member of Heavyweight production house (Montréal, L.A.) and Urban Ambush skateboards. His interest in multimedia installations and environmental studies brought him to collaborate with Roadsworth for this intervention. Part nature lover and part mad scientist, Brian is driven to learn from and reproduce the fundamental beauty of the natural world in all its forms. He has enjoyed working with Roadsworth on many initiatives but this exciting exhibit represents the pair's first fullscale collaboration.
THE THREE STAGES OF THE ARTISTIC APPROACH
- 1) The urban space
- The starting point was to use the urban space to tell a story. Work with the environment of the Montreal Eaton Centre to develop a new perspective and then, highlight the parallels between this complex space and organic structures from nature: underground networks teeming with activity, multiple levels that appear as strata of an ecosystem, escalators that can be likened to cascades that connect basins, etc.
- 2) The working material
- The design process as a medium of communication: For more than eight months, Peter Gibson, Brian Armstrong, and their team rummaged amidst the recycling containers of the Montreal Eaton Centre to cull out their working material. They also compiled data (e.g., the best days of the week to collect materials, the variety and quantities available), arranged and prepared the materials, and evaluated the possibilities.
- 3) The relation between the object and its meaning
(One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure)
Reinvent the usage as a means to communicate: transform a banal object and give it a second life. Start with the essence of the material to give it a new perspective. Make the materials talk by seeking inspiration from their attributes: water bottles become ponds and cascades, cardboard boxes turn into tree barks, plastic containers transform into the body of a fish, and plastic packaging metamorphoses into dragonfly wings.
THE MONTREAL EATON CENTRE
By being host to FRAGILE – a spectacular artistic undertaking by Montréal street artist Roadsworth, in collaboration with Brian Armstrong – the Montréal Eaton Centre welcomes another urban happening.
With some 26 million Montrealers and foreign visitors every year, the Montréal Eaton Centre is an ideal location to present creations, to reach out to the public through collective projects and to become the relay for important messages.
For many years now, the centre has opened its doors to many cultural, artistic, social and environmental initiatives, amongst which Turning Plastic into Hope by artist Phil Allard, The City in Focus photo exhibit, Behind the seams – a look at the heart of our fashion – in collaboration with the Museum of Costume and Textile of Québec, or Portrait-Selfportrait, by filmmaker Gilles Porte, an exhibit on Children’s rights.
By receiving Roadsworth, the Montréal Eaton Centre celebrates Art and is proud to showcase a creative installation that speaks of the fragility of our living environment, and of our place in nature.
Projekroom: A free, living, boundless space imagined by a collective of creators, artists and communicators, fed by an uninterrupted flow of ideas. A locus of exchange where unfettered spirits can expand, where the shortest distance between two points is on the road least travelled. An open platform fuelled by passion and wonder, where inspiration makes ideas come to life.