Événement Roc 2 : Élémental

Normand Fortin

October 1997

Événement Roc 2 : Élémental

Conceived at first as part of the project Événement Roc 2 by la Galerie du Nouvel-Ontario (GNO), Élémental meant to concretely express a research on the symbolism of the four elements, through the history of oriental and occidental traditions and mythology. Following the decision to locate the installation at Collège Boréal’s Sudbury Campus, aspects of Élémental were modified, while leaving intact the essence of the artist’s original concept. The site that would give the sculpture a home thus had an impact on the final result.

Élémental is in the heart of Sudbury’s prehistoric elementary rock and at the same time is connected to Collège Boréal’s modern architecture. Home of French language post secondary education in Sudbury, the college with its leading technology is in constant interaction with its six Northern Ontario campuses: Elliot Lake, Hearst, Kapuskasing, New Liskeard, Sturgeon Falls et Timmins. Some of Collège Boréal’s construction materials were offered to the artist and recycled to suit the project’s purpose, resulting in an interesting mix of natural and manufactured elements.

Reminiscent of children’s toys, the six giant pinwheels are installed on posts twelve to fifteen feet high. The pinwheels, facing the four cardinal points, drive the information forward in a constant movement towards and among the campuses. The posts supporting the pinwheels represent the six campuses dissemination knowledge. Only primary colors were used to maintain the elementary concept. These colors identify the different fields of education. The transposition of the colors on each of the six structures – one yellow post with one red pinwheel for example – indicates the interactive relations between campuses. Finally, the transparency of the pinwheels embraces knowledge, unifies the sites and fuses them together.

Large limestone blocks from Manitoulin Island used in the landscape of Collège Boréal, return us to earth’s crust and calls to mind the different geographic sites of the campuses. The base keeps the communities well anchored together, while maintaining their individuality. Engravings on the limestone stemming from several traditions bear witness to the mythology of the elements.

Visible within the posts (Inco super stack, telecommunication towers, hydroelectric transmission lines) Sudbury’s horizon is crossed by dark vertical lines manufactured by man.

The colourful pinwheels are images of children’s wonders as they discover the world. Wonders inherent to the learning process and to the interaction between individuals and communities.

The inception of Élémental was financed by Collège Boréal, which in return, inherited a monumental work of art set up on its permanent site. The sculpture was unveiled Saturday October 4, 1997, as part of Collège Boréal’s Opening Ceremonies.

During the construction phase of this project, the public was invited to visit the GNO to view the wind-mills as well as a series of photographs documenting the work in progress.

With Événement Roc 2, GNO solidly marked its territory once more in the heart of Nouvel-Ontario!

Normand Fortin | about the artist

Originally from Kapuskasing, Normand Fortin is a multidisciplinary artist-painter that has been working at his profession for over thirty years: painting, sculpture, installation, performance… His work has been shown in solo or group exhibition across Northern Ontario, in Ottawa and in Montréal. He regularly participates in visual artistic events and has created numerous sculptural installations.

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