Museum PR Announcements News and Information

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Presents The Tribe and the Hermit by Michel Rouleau

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts presents The Tribe and the Hermit by Montreal designer Michel Rouleau in the Design Lab, open through November 14, 201 .

Six tent‐chairs are arranged in a circle on an ersatz lawn dotted with artificial flowers. Each unit consists of a beach chair under a tent of two‐tone striped cotton canvas. A soundtrack alternates urban (cars, airplanes and crowds…) and rural noises (crickets and the wind in the trees…), interspersed with periods of silence.

The Tribe and the Hermit is a physical and sensorial spatial piece that examines the existential relationship between the individual and society. According to its creator, it is “a space you can immerse yourself in that tends to foster meditation and introspection – a meeting place for social introverts!” Visitors are invited to sit back and relax in these tent‐chairs, as all the furniture in the Design Lab is presented for the public to try out. Admission to the exhibition is free at all times.

As designers, artists, architects and craftspeople contribute to defining our domestic environment by stepping outside their field of specialization to explore new terrain, Rouleau has chosen to express himself by creating furniture the way others work with paint or photography. Trained at the École nationale supérieure des Arts décoratifs in Paris and in industrial design at the University of Montreal, Rouleau felt drawn to cabinetmaking. While he borrows techniques from shipbuilding and sewing, his projects are also enriched by drawing, and its computerized corollary, 3D modelling, as well as by experimentation and the building of models in the workshop.

Rouleau is known for the small furniture series he has been designing since 1989. His sensitive, intelligent creations take shape through his reflections on the human condition. Rouleau’s approach to furniture is distinctly sculptural. His vocabulary encompasses volume, texture and colour. And although his pieces may seem more attuned to the symbolic side of their reason for being, they remain nonetheless functional.

For the past several years, Rouleau has been producing installations, a medium that often requires the viewer to experience a work as a physical environment. The Tribe and the Hermit reads like a metaphor for our current individualism, where cell phones and portable MP3 players define social relationships. Opting for the tent‐chair allows a moment of introversion, where you can isolate yourself without leaving the group. Just as we might envisage “pulling the plug” on all our electronic devices to make exchanges more direct, we can imagine folding up these chairs, which look as if they were assembled from an IKEA kit, to give free reign to social intercourse.

Diane Charbonneau, Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, is responsible for the presentation of The Tribe and the Hermit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *