Curvy new sculpture reflects the twists and turns of learning

Posted on Monday, November 28, 2016


By Johanne Adam

A piece of art that’s super tall, curvy and full of colourful rings. That’s a brief description of Connectivi-T, the work that will take its place in the atrium of the future Learning Centre in fall 2017.

The 1,200-plus kilo structure features intertwined aluminum tubes nearly 25 metres high, making for an airy, organic feel. The overall effect suggests the meetings, exchanges, learning and discovery that are part of the academic world.

“I wanted to make the most of the building’s height, which is integral to its architecture. The vertical clearance will give different views of the work from the landings on each floor,” says the artist, Hélène Rochette.

The sculpture is attached to the ground and the ceiling. It will be lit up by passersby thanks to sensors installed throughout the building that will adjust the light projected on it based on the number of people walking through. “It’s a subtle way to give the sculpture a pulse,” says Rochette.

Selection process

The sculpture was chosen following a call for proposals. Thirty artists from different regions, from Winnipeg to Quebec City, responded, five of whom were asked to submit a design. Proposed works could be installed inside or outside the building and had to meet criteria regarding artistic excellence, creativity, sustainability and safety.

As part of this first public art competition organized on campus, artists presented renderings of their works at a public exhibition this fall. As well, members of the University community were surveyed via social media. “56% of respondents were students and 61% were less than 30 years old,” says Chantal Rodier, head of the University’s Public Art Program, who is pleased with the level of student participation.

The Public Art Program is an initiative of the Board of Governors, which wanted such a permanent program at the University. Funds have been allocated to acquire and maintain works of art.

“Art can transform spaces by changing their dynamics. Through the eyes and creativity of artists, a piece of public art can express the character, history, aspirations and challenges of a place,” concludes Chantal Rodier.

​​Hélène Rochette.

Who is Hélène Rochette?

Hélène Rochette’s entry, Connectivi-T, was selected by the University of Ottawa after a call for proposals for an artwork for the future Learning Centre.

Rochette, who lives and works in Quebec City, has been producing public art since 1990.

Her work can be seen in more than 20 public spaces in Quebec, including the Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain in Quebec City, the Montmorency Metro station in Laval and the front of the Hôpital Notre-Dame-de-Fatima in La Pocatière.

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