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Josée Dubeau, Mirador (plan), 2021
Photo: Josée Dubeau

Extramural Public art | La Filature

Mirador

Josée Dubeau

Extramural Public art

Josée Dubeau's Mirador is presented by AXENÉO7 artist-run centre as part of the 2021 edition of City of Gatineau's Sentier culturel and is produced with the financial support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Fonds de soutien à l'animation du centre-ville de Gatineau.

Josée Dubeau would like to thank F.O.L. Art Public Inc. for its generous contribution to the project.

As its name suggests, Mirador, the immersive and interactive work by artist Josée Dubeau, appears at first glance to be an observation tower. It was specifically designed to stand on the banks of Brewery Creek / Ruisseau de la Brasserie in Gatineau. The site is not neutral: the history of this canalized branch of the Ottawa River dates back to the origins of the tumultuous relations between Upper and Lower Canada. In the current context and in this location, the elevated control structure may elicit wariness due to its association with surveillance in a prison and military setting or along land borders. In complete contrast, this tower emerges in the midst of the recreational landscape around the creek and the backyard of La Filature, the former textile mill that is home to AXENÉO7. The watchtower questions the relationship between people and the geographical, historical and political context in which we live.

For the artist, the tower suggests the extension of our body and of a liberated consciousness that interacts with its environment and gives us the opportunity to project ourselves above ground and beyond ourselves. This (un)limited perception of space, which goes beyond our physical boundaries, scaffolds our gaze to a breadth that changes how we perceive our personal — and spatiotemporal — surroundings.

The tower’s golden ladder provides an ascent hypothetically traversed by vertigo echoing the paradoxical relationships of a geographical enclave like the Montcalm axis, which today shows signs of transitioning into a burgeoning and diverse area.

In her in situ and site-specific practice, Josée Dubeau seeks to achieve this effect of suspension — or floating; a transition within an interstice, between two worlds, a space in itself, an uncertain border that remains an unexplained element where, hopefully, we can calm conflicts and reconcile dualities.

"...and perhaps that’s what I feel, an outside and an inside and me in the middle, perhaps that’s what I am, the thing that divides the world in two, on the one side, the outside, on the other, the inside, that can be as thin as foil, I’m neither one side nor the other, I’m in the middle, I’m the partition, I’ve two surfaces and no thickness, perhaps that's what I feel ..."

— Samuel Beckett, The Unnameable, [translated by the author] Edited by Steven Connor, London, England: Faber and Faber (2010). 

Josée Dubeau lives and works between Gatineau and Quebec City. The artist develops her practice in the context of residencies and exhibitions both in Quebec and abroad. International residencies include the Studio du Québec in Berlin at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Germany, 2004-2005), the Studio du Québec in Tokyo (Japan, 2009), the Finnish Artists Studio Foundation residency (Finland, 2018) and the Canada Council for the Arts London Studio at SPACE (England, 2011). She has taught drawing and sculpture at the University of Ottawa and the Université du Québec en Outaouais (2000-2010). For the past twenty years, she has been working on projects integrating art and architecture. Her work can be found in public collections in Switzerland, Germany and Canada (Ottawa Art Gallery, Ville de Montréal, Collection Prêt d'œuvres d'art (CPOA) art bank of the Musée national des Beaux-Arts du Québec). Dubeau is also a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.

Consult the artist's website

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