Moving Dunes

An experiential mirage of large ripples and sandy mounds drifts in the heart of Downtown Montreal’s avenue Du Musée.

Inspired by the early arts, Moving Dunes is an extension of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ (MMFA) temporary exhibit From Africa to the Americas: Face-to-face Picasso, Past and Present, designed by Canadian architecture firm NÓS.

Photo credit: Alex Lesage

Each year, the MMFA calls for proposals for an ephemeral installation on the avenue de musée. This year’s anamorphic installation references the plastic approach of cubist painters who questioned the role of perspective in visual representation.

By manipulating the street surface, the large ripples are generated, recalling the features of a body or a face. Reflective spheres and geometric shapes amplify patterns and multiply points of view. As the observer moves, the street transforms, shapes are reversed, the ground comes alive and destabilizes.

Photo credit: Raphaël Thibodeau

The MMFA’s goal was to pedestrianize the street and to create a temporary signature layout. Among the challenges encountered were the development of a concept in relation to the theme of the exhibition, the activation of a pedestrian public space while allowing the passage of emergency vehicles, and the creation of an experience with high media impact on a limited budget.

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