Montrealers will soon be able to climb to new heights after the installation of a public art piece that doubles as a rock wall.

The project got the green light last Wednesday, allowing Quebec artist Patrick Bernatchez to receive funding from Montreal's Bureau of Public Art.

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TL;DR Students at U de M could soon be rock climbing between classes at the new MIL Campus, slated to be completed by spring 2019. As part of the new campus, a public art piece will also be erected, which could include a rock wall.

Via Patrick Bernatchez

The Bureau of Public Art manages all the public art in Montreal, which is over 300 pieces at this point. 

Their mission includes conservation, development, and promotion of artwork across the city, from artists across the globe.

The artist, Patrick Bernatchez, lives and works in Montreal and has had major exhibitions across Europe as well as at our very own Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

He won the competition that the Bureau of Public Art held in 2018 to decide what piece of work to feature at the new U de M campus.

The new campus will transform 38 hectares of yard into a "true mixed, sustainable living environment, focused on public and active transport," according to the City of Montreal.

The new piece will feature two short walls as a base to the larger structure which could be climbed.

Whether the wall will actually be opened as a climbing wall is "conditional" on proper protocols of use, a detail that will be elaborated on further as the artist and the city of Montreal come closer to creation.

The project is currently being called 29 • 53 which refers to the "interval between two new moons," which is 29.53 days on average.

One face of the wall will be a reproduction of the landscape of the moon, the climbing side will exist to represent the hidden face of the moon.

The two sides come together to show the human desire to explore even the most hidden places in our universe.

The work will also mark the 50th anniversary of the first steps on the moon, an appropriate homage considering the artwork will be erected near the Université de Montréal's new Science Complex.

The Bureau of Public Art goes on to explain how the piece will also call to memory the history of the railway at the site. 

This piece and those it refers to are all missions that were accomplished thanks to technological advances.

@patrickbernatchezembedded via  

It is also in line with many of Bernatchez's other projects which speak to the human concept of time. 

The construction and installation are slated to cost around $1.2 million, a bill that the municipality will have to foot in its entirety. 


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