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An Environmental Installation











This document (describing the ideas behind GALLERIA) was conceived in 1985 and is interesting in the sense that it helps understand the origin of the concept of “global representation” that characterizes so well Cerj Lalonde’s artistic project. Indeed, this concept is at the core of the methodology he uses today and serves notably as a back bone for his project entitled: FRACTAL UTOPIA  -  A Dream of Global Understanding. 




Information related to an artistic project taking place in downtown Montreal.


February 20th, 1985



Authors of this document and of this project:

















GALERIA is the Latin etymology of the French word « galerie» which is defined in French as: “a sheltered passageway or promenade, a lot longer than wide, installed either inside or outside a building or a room” (le Petit Robert)



The setting consists in a long corridor whose dimensions are approximately: 80’ length x 15’ width x 14’ height. This corridor connects a room whose dimensions are approximately 22’ x 30’.               

This passage is located in downtown Montreal. It traverses the Trizec corporate building and connects to the Atelier Transgression Inc.

This building also houses 22 French and 30 English-speaking companies. It is also immediately adjacent to the JEU DE SOCIÉTÉ Mural (80 x 60’; designed and produced by Cerj Lalonde in 1983) which decorates one side of  this  same building located at the corner of Bleury and de Maisonneuve Boulevard (metro : Place des Arts) . This neighbourhood is very busy, day and night, and attracts many types of people. (1)

The two entrances-exits of the GALERIA open up to urban areas condemned to demolition in the near future. In fact, within the next three years, excavation work is scheduled on this wasteland which serves as a passage to get in and out of the GALERIA. Moreover, the buildings supporting these two entrances-exits will be destroyed by Trizec in order to enable construction work to start “…at the latest in six years from now (December 4th, 1984)” (2)

Balmoral Street will disappear and a business-condo complex with an underground section underneath has already been designed to replace it. 

Taking place in the location described here-above, this artistic project consists in the unfolding of an iconographic set of elements produced through the use of various devices and materials. 

The art work stretches through the entire path used by the passers-by.



The theme is complex to define in the sense that it does not focus on any specific subject nor object; it is essentially an essay, an exercise, an exploration of a global and plural representation. 


Referring to the ensemble of pleasures and displeasures that one can experience, lives through or think about by choice. Choices being more or less imposed to individuals in our modern society. 


-          By the variety and the relativity of the interpretations possibly triggered by the artist’s work

-          By the multiplicity and individuality of the human beings

-          Without any absolute reality. 

If one may say, the general symbolic meaning structuring the whole of GALERIA (The urban « Dasein » - PHASE TWO, or the “urban Being-there” Phase II) could be schematically divided as follow: 


Organic, impulsive and expressive gestures. An action combining gesture, color and fantastical imagination, daytime reminders of individual and/or collective unconscious memories. 

Entirely covered. 


Attempt to illustrate the rational and structural aspect of human thought and human work-related achievements.

It presents a more explicit account of major characteristics inherent to our socially evolving world: a consciousness, a preoccupation, anxiety regarding technical, scientific and political things.   


Union of opposites, union of the non-antagonistic contradiction between the right and the left wall.

Universal solvent

Cemented floor

Introversion effect 

Territory, surface, coating, azure, sea, water, night, floor, wind, blue 


Firmament, universe, cosmos

Darkness, infinity, eternity

Ceiling, lid

Where parallel lines only meet in infinity

Absence and totality 

Maximum limit, a vault, a flotation tank, a row,

Shadow, smoke, tar

Night, coal, soot



-          Contrast, saturation, chiaroscuro (claire-obscure), site, fresco, cave, prehistoric paintings/murals

-          Darkness, humidity, the sacred, fire place, humanity, architecture, excursion 



Urban environment


Open ended art-piece 

Painting, oil, latex, acrylic, varathane, photography, water, pastel, computer, wood, pencil, paper, text, letter, 2-xem, engravings, serigraphy, music, graphics, make-up, stones, glue, varsol, shape, quotations, texts selected to be learned by heart,  photocopies, black and white, colour, rare beautiful objects found on this location, a ticket, a little angel made out of paper, dots, lines, maps, stains, a newspaper, markers, a painter’s proverb, a paint gun, light, bricks, cement, doors, strings, scrap metal, numbers, space, humidity, fire dust, entrance-exit, windows, wind, pipes, rollers, hands, bodies, sheets, pens, stencil, cut-outs, finger prints, graffiti, a stage, painting, mustard, lemon, peach, orange and rose, blue, yellow, red, black, brown, mauve, white, black, green, grey like the evening sky, actions, pulverisation, vaporisation, legend, town, witnesses, contradictory agitation.



Let me say a few words on this concept of OPEN ART PIECE which, as we’ve already seen, also characterizes the whole of the GALERIA project. (3)

As was previously mentioned, this work is an attempt at representing true plurality (through the range of relative interpretations, possibly triggered by the work itself). It now also introduces the notion of participation, anonymous or not, from the visitors - whether it be through written texts, through traces, through marks, or through any other possible sort of inscription.

Visitors’ contributions will even become part and parcel of the evolving GALERIA. They will also participate to the development of an urban language which is today undergoing a constant evolution.

Let us finally note that GALERIA provides an alternative way, open permanently, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all year long.

Therefore, this project is an answer to the problem at the core of the preoccupations of the new generation of cultural leaders, since it contributes to broaden the scope of art diffusion.


One cannot not possibly be unaffected by their passing through GALERIA even though it does not carry any explicitly formulated message



Note 1 

Supplemental sociological information*: 

- Down-town (St-Hubert – Guy / Sherbrooke – River) 

                - Residential population                    10,000 (50% above 55 years old)

- Nomadic population                         200,000

                -Car traffic (main arteries)                  20,000 cars / street/day                                                                                     

-Census taken in sector # 56 – « Statistique Canada » – 1981

  Bleury – St-Laurent / Sherbrooke – St-Catheine 

                - Residential population    460

                                Male                                       315

                                Female                                  145

                                0-24 years-old                        25

                                70 years-old and over         120 

                -Mother tongue

                                French                                   135

                                English                                    80

                                Other                                       245 

Police station  # 33 (Bleury – Delormier / Sherbrooke – River) 

-          The most crime-ridden district of Montréal

-          The largest number of calls (70,000 / year)

-          The largest number of people arrested (625 /month)

-          Homicides (1984): 8

-          Rapes registered: none (only 1 rape out of 10 is reported) 

* Reference:

-          CLSC Down-town Montreal

-          “Statistique Canada”

-          Police station  # 33  

Note 2 

Let us note that according to the report # 3609 signed by both “La Ville De Montréal” and the Trizec corporation, the following commitments have been made: 

-          Suppression of Balmoral street  in order to ¨… use the ground more judiciously.¨

-          To start the excavation work on the wasteland located at the corner of Bleury – Maisonneuve  “ …before the expiration of an allocated 3 year period starting  this present day” (dec 11, 1984)

-          To start the construction work «  …at the latest six years from the present day,…to complete the work at the latest nine years from the present day »

-          To construct a residential-commercial complex according to the defined general plan.   

Note 3 

Let me point out that the concept of an open art-piece was developed by the Italian semiologist Umberto Eco : « the open art-piece establishes a muliti-sided issue : in a nutshell, in consists in an open and unfolding situation”.  (Œuvre ouverte, 1965, p.37)





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