Arts·JET AGE

Montreal's historic reputation as a city of stained glass gets reworked with a contemporary vision

When Mark Twain visited in 1888, he called Montreal "the city of a hundred bell towers." Atomic3's airport installation builds on that history.

When Mark Twain visited Montreal in 1888, he called it 'the city of a hundred bell towers'

Montreal’s historic reputation as a city of stained glass gets reworked with a contemporary vision

5 years ago
Duration 3:00
When Mark Twain visited Montreal in 1888 he called it “the city of a hundred bell towers”, saying “this is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.”

When Mark Twain visited Montreal in 1888 he called it "the city of a hundred bell towers," saying, "This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window."

Montreal's Atomic3 built off this history for their installation at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport called Nuee de Verre — which means "a veil of glass" — meant to evoke Montreal's history with stained glass.

Atomic3 used to work in theatre lighting and directing, but co-director Louis-Xavier Gagnon-Lebrun says they "wanted to get out the black box of the threatre to try to tell stories in different ways on the streets and in public spaces."

Fellow co-director Félix Dagenais found working in an airport setting to be tough but extremely rewarding: "Working in an airport is quite a challenge because there's a lot of restrictions, security. It was quite a challenge to find a pattern and to integrate our piece of art into the new architecture."

(CBC Arts)

"There's a lot of people who will see your work and we tried to create a landmark for the city, so it's quite challenging to create something as strong as the city I come from and try to make something that the people in Montreal will be proud of."

Jet Age considers the evolution of airports from generic atriums into bonafide art galleries that surround and engage their visitors with stunning sculptures, architecture, and paintings. Watch all ten episodes of Jet Age now.

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