Inhabitat recently visited the incredible Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and found a bevy of works by artists using recycled materials in their collection! The museum has a comprehensive collection ranging from Ancient Cultures to Contemporary Art, and features exhibitions that showcase historically important works as well as some of the hottest current artists. Read on for some of our favorite pieces from eco-conscious artists.
Claude Cormier’s colorful “Heads of Christ” is a dream collage for kids of all ages. Using old stuffed animals, the artist has created a massive plush carpet that spans an entire room. Faces of stuffed bears, bunnies, walruses, frogs and the like peak out in every direction, grouped by color to form a patchy quilt. The piece delights the child within, while also evoking the idea of animal skin rugs without the cruelty.
Stephan Balkenhol used traditional wood carving made popular during the Middle Ages to create his sculptures of men and women. Using large tree trunks of poplar and Douglas fir, he carves away wood and bark to form life like busts. His male and female heads at this museum are realistic, but also show the viewer that they are comprised of wood.
En Masse is a Montreal based group of artists that transform derelict spaces into collaborative murals. Using only black, grey and white, the artists involved are unified through color palette. En Masse has transformed vacant buildings into works of art across the country including Art Basel, in addition to an entire room at the museum, complete with bean bags to lounge upon and examine the work.
Folkert de Jong’s lifesize sculptures are made from found materials that are often not recyclable with traditional methods. The artist uses foam and Styrofoam along with other found materials, pieces together large scale horses, humans and allegorical figures.
Montreal artist Gilles Mihalcean’s eco-sculptures have been popular in Quebec since the 1970s. In the museum’s collection, his piece “Portrait of my Father” is a sculpture column made from found wooden furniture, like bed knobs and chair legs, which are assembled then further carved into shape.
Havana based duo, Los Carpinteros, use their woodworking skills to hone large scale objects. Their “Jewelry Box” comes complete with many workable drawers, but is in the shape of a grenade. The group is inspired by their upbringing in Cuba, and the tradition of woodworking.
The late artist Nam June Paik often worked with disused televisions. A member of the Neo-Dada movement, Fluxus, Pak’s sculpture collages fused the culture represented by TV with various shapes, like musical instruments or animals. His multimedia sculptures were often accompanied with music and performance.