For the 375th anniversary of the City of Montréal, Jaume Plensa will create Source, a work of public art that will be installed at the future Bonaventure gateway to Montréal. The sculpture will be about 10 metres in height and will face the city.
"This work will make for a majestic gateway to Montréal's downtown and contribute to the city's image," stated the mayor of Montréal, Denis Coderre. "This monumental artwork will brilliantly complement the development of this new stretch of road and create a gateway to downtown that is prestigious, functional, and friendly."
Currently in the design stage, the work will be inaugurated in September 2017 during the celebrations of the 375th anniversary of Montréal. Situated at the intersection with Wellington Street, at the southern threshold of the future Robert-Bourassa Boulevard, this artwork will become an important reference point for the city.
Plensa was conscious not only of the city's history as dependent on water for trade, immigration and communication, but also the history of the First Nations as Montréal's founders. Source, a word identical in both French and English, refers to the origin of a spring, but it may also be understood equally as the root of a city's energy and vitality: its people and their origins, their fluidity and creativity of ideas, reciprocal cycles of movement and renewal. To Plensa, "Source is talking about our body as a gathering place, as a palace of dreams." Even more, Source stands an emblem of Montréal's rich history rooted in the city's founders, the First Nations.
Source belongs to a family of sculptures, each a figure composed of letters in random arrangement from multiple alphabets including Latin, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, and Cyrillic. These sculptures, variously titled "soul," "roots," and "we," make physical Plensa's metaphor for language, as well as the poetry of building a single unit from many components: cells make up the body, letters construct words, people form a community. Source is a metaphor for the richness of cultures passing through Montréal in the nearly four centuries since its founding. As a symbol for Montréal of the past, present and future, Source, whether illuminated at night or seen in the day, invites the inhabitants of the city to walk, to dream and to encounter.