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Currently shown
Patrick Coutu

Comet

Artist

Patrick Coutu
Born in Montreal in 1975

Title

Comet

Date

2016

Materials

Baked enamel on tempered glass

Dimensions

3 panels of 287 x 128.3 cm (each); 1 panel of 287 x 135.9 cm

Credits

Purchase, Ginette Trépanier Bequest, inv. 2016.461

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

Commissioned by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Path of Peace

After earning a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Concordia University, Coutu embarked on a singular career, making sculpture and other visual works that set him apart from the previous generation of artists. His pieces are inspired by his explorations of the natural world and its phenomena. Assemblages of sedimentary layers, his sculptures evoke rock formations, algae swaying on the ocean seabed or trees whipped by the wind.


This set of panels sprinkled with stars describes the upward path of Halley’s Comet. The right-angled panel alludes to the logic that governs the return of comets along their elliptical orbits. Coutu therefore gives us the full trajectory of Halley’s Comet, whose return (which happens every 76 years) was observed between 1705 and 1707 by Edmond Halley (1656-1742), a British astronomer, engineer and geophysicist. Coutu invites us to enter the world of scientific revolution and discovery. His interpretation of mathematics as it appears in Comet can be observed only from a certain distance. As we draw closer to the work, the image dissolves into a fine network of etched lines that echo a technique used in the Dutch Golden Age and were formed by the algorithms used in digital printing.

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