Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

Zone A Exhibition - (Curated by: Candice Hopkins)

Richard Purdy, L'écho-l'eau

101 College Street (East of University Avenue)
View Location

L'écho-l'eau, 2011

Richard Purdy - Ottawa / Saint-Élie-de-Caxton, Canada


Navigating the perfect reflection (miroir d'eau) of the MaRS atrium in a limpid pool, suddenly you will crest the rapids of time, shooting back a hundred years to experience a traditional log run. The motor of Eastern Canada's economy in the nineteenth century, and self-serving polluter of its rivers, the drave is a uniquely Canadian phenomenon, at once nostalgic and troubling. Come in rain gear (boots and umbrellas) or walk barefoot through this environmental tour-de-force.

The technique of the miroir d'eau was created by Purdy in 1989 and refined in the three-month laboratory of Shawinigan Space over the summer of 2010. Flooding 28,000 square feet of exhibition space with one centimetre of water, the artist invited visitors to wade through the vast halls in an upside-down visual game of monumental proportions. The miroir d'eau introduces visitors, even large groups, to seeing upside-down right-side up, and to experience the caudal and ventral directions lived daily by your average fish or bird. Purdy's regional incursion into Shawinigan Space, a National Historic Site of Canada curated by the National Gallery for seven years, was the first solo exhibition in this venue by a Canadian artist, and broke all the rules.

Holder of a PhD from the Université du Québec and titular professor of drawing in that institution, this virtuoso of the in situ installation has been surprising and mystifying audiences for over 30 years with 100 solo and 61 collective exhibitions. He has realised 16 accessible and permanent public sculptures, for which he is acknowledged to have one of the most original practices in Québec. Internationally, Dr. Purdy is as well-known for his writings as his visual art.

Suitable for all ages