• James Armstrong

Hudson Land Art installation slated for removal


Due to damage to the supporting pine trees, Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt’s Land Art sculpture in Hudson titled ‘L’Écran’ will be dismantled in May.

The 2015 Land Art installation in Hudson created by internationally renowned Quebec artist Armand Vaillancourt titled ‘L’Écran’ is slated for demolition in May due to damage inflicted upon the pine trees flanking the hanging sculptural work.

“I wrote the letter to Vaillancourt in December explaining our concerns,” said Mayor Jamie Nicholls in response to a query from resident Louise Craig about the situation during the Monday, March 2 council meeting.

“I spoke with the Director of Parks and Recreation and the Director General about the removal of the work. To cut to the chase, we have set a deadline of May for the purposes of safety,” said the mayor, adding that the removal event might be documented in film. The safety issues of getting a skyjack to the site on Sandy Beach and removing pieces of dead branches suspended by chains between the two trees was the immediate concern. When asked by The Journal about the artist’s reaction, Nicholls replied, “I didn’t have a direct reaction from him. But his assistant said the letter was well received and understood.”

Damage issues

“We have seen the damage that has been done by the white birch that is hanging from the chain to the pines,” said Nicholls adding that the removal would first, take into consideration the safety of those doing the work and be done with respect to the sculpture itself.

Craig said that in the meantime, damage to the pines would continue and suggested wrapping the pines to prevent further damage. Nicholls agreed saying that a strong wind event would cause the suspended birch branches to inflict more damage.

History of the installation

Vaillancourt created the suspended sculpture over a period of four days as the centrepiece of the 2015 Land Art event. The installation is in two parts, the first near the entrance to the beach off of Royalview Road and the second larger piece near the trail leading to Jack Layton Park from Sandy Beach. At the time, Vaillancourt dedicated his work to the First Nations people.

“A thousand times pardon,” proclaimed the artist as he described his reasons for the homage referring to the history of domination of the First Nations community by settlers and subsequent generations and the violation, rape and disappearance of 4,000 indigenous women.

“Things have changed a lot since 2015 because of the debate about cultural appropriation that has taken place over the past three years,” said Nicholls also noting that Land Art is ephemeral in its nature and not meant to last forever.

“I would like to have Vaillancourt present or involved in some way when we take it down,” said the mayor. “That’s a work in progress.”

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