The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is pleased to unveil the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World. Located on the 4th floor of the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, the wing’s 10 fully refurbished galleries create a dialogue between works of ancient cultures and those by local and international contemporary artists from a renewed intercultural and transhistorical perspective. This ambitious reinstallation project was made possible thanks to the generous support of Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery.
An exceptional tool to discover and understand cultural diversity both in Canada and around the world from yesterday to today, this new MMFA wing displays a rich selection from its collection of 42,600 art works, including over 10,000 archaeological objects and pieces by artists from world cultures. This collection is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Canada.
The 1025 m2 of the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery wing contain more than 1500 objects and works by artists who hail from every continent. Located in the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion, the largest and most visited of the Museum’s five pavilions, the wing presents treasures from Africa, Asia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Oceania and the Americas dating from the 4th millennium BCE to today. It invites visitors to take a fresh and 360-degree look at our ancient heritage and contemporary creations. Its layout highlights the exchange between cultures and the past and present while showcasing current disciplines and social concerns that go beyond the discourse of art history.
At the heart of a humanist and socially engaged museum, the Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery Wing for the Arts of One World promotes inclusive values that reflect Montreal, a metropolis made up of nearly 120 cultural communities. It invites cultures to come together to better understand the Other in a 21st century in which togetherness is a daily challenge.
“One World”: a tribute to Édouard Glissant
The MMFA’s World Cultures collection has been completely revamped. The new name of this collection echoes the One World concept introduced by Martinique poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011). “Relationship” is the key to his vault of thoughts on diversity and plurality. Questioning ethnocentric views of the world and history, Glissant interprets modernity as a relational process in a non-hierarchical world between all peoples and all cultures.
Artists in dialogue with cultures
The new wing highlights the work of international artists, such as Jim Dine, Julio González and Wifredo Lam, and about 70 Canadian and Quebec artists, including Shary Boyle, Léopold L. Foulem, Isabelle Hayeur, Richard Millette, Françoise Sullivan, Barbara Todd, and Kim Waldron, that enter into a dialogue with cultures from every continent. The wing also lets visitors (re)view works of Quebec photographers such as Darren Ell, Michel Huneault and Valerian Mazataud, who had previously been asked to set their gaze on the world for La Balade pour la Paix: An Open‐Air Museum in 2017.
A geopoetic promenade through the Arts of One World
The wing is laid out as large geocultural areas spread out in 10 galleries whose openings become areas that overlap with each other. Their borders are therefore not divisions but rather places of exchange that show how different worlds coincide.
Through this path, the Museum hopes that its collections can converse with the public about all issues of contemporary society. The layout also connects the past and present through current and cross-cutting themes: the use and exploitation of natural resources (gold, ivory, coffee, tobacco), pollution, migration, consumption, climate change, and more. Thanks to juxtapositions that stimulate reflection, the new wing embodies the humanist and socially committed vision of a Museum that is open to the world.
The different materials used to configure the galleries were selected to humbly reflect the cultural world of the displayed objects: corten steel with its rust-like appearance that recalls African red soils; charred wooden beams that resemble the Japanese technique of preserving wood buildings; and mashrabiya structures that pay homage to the traditional architecture of Arab countries.
Credits and curatorial team
The Stephan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery wing is curated by Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA, in collaboration with Iris Amizlev, Exhibition Concept Consultant – Arts of One World, Erell Hubert, Curator of Pre-Columbian Art, MMFA, and Laura Vigo, Curator of Asian Art, MMFA.
The MMFA also partnered with researchers Danielle Aimée Miles, MA Art History, Specializing in Critical Museology and the presentation of Greco-Roman archeology; Valerie Behiery, Middle East Contemporary Art Specialist, Art Historian and Independent Scholar; Professor John M. Fossey, FRSC, Specialist in Classical Archaeology and Emeritus Curator of Mediterranean Archaeology, MMFA; Céline Gillot, Pre-Columbian Art Specialist and Doctor of Anthropology; Rafah Jwejati, PhD, Middle East Antique Mosaics Specialist; Perrine Poiron, Egyptologist and PhD student in Egyptology and History (UQAM and Université Paris-Sorbonne); Andilib Sajid, Specialist of Islamic Art and Curator; and Akiko Takesue, PhD, Japanese art specialist.
The scenography was designed by Sandra Gagné, Head of Exhibitions Production, MMFA.
Visit the collection in the Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion