The impact of Expo 67 on the Montréal, Québec and Canadian psyche is immense and continues to loom large in our collective memory. Yet much of what made it so exceptional—the creative freedom offered to artists, filmmakers, architects and designers to experiment with new forms and technologies, and the incredible diversity of cultural productions—is less known.
In Search of Expo 67 brings together works by nineteen Québec and Canadian artists inspired by the most innovative, experimental and provocative dimensions of the original event, and its artistic, cultural, social and political contexts. Created in dialogue with the spirit of 1967, these works (sixteen of which are newly commissioned) highlight Expo 67’s undeniable inventiveness while challenging some of its underlying presumptions.
The exhibition has provided contemporary artists with the opportunity to delve into the archives and histories of the original event in order to create new works that offer a glimpse into the myriad ways Expo 67 continues to resonate in the contemporary imagination. Revealing both the scale and ambition of some of the original projects, these works bring fresh perspectives on the legacies of Expo 67 as well as exploring the resonances between what Expo 67 was and what remains in 2017. The artists propose projects inspired by, among others, the Canada Pavilion (the People Tree, the Children’s Creative Centre and Katimavik), the Québec Pavilion, the pavilions of France, the Indians of Canada and the United States of America, Kaleidoscope, as well as the rich sound experimentations of 1967, and the history and current condition of the site itself. The exhibition is predicated on three layers of engagement: production of new artworks, revisiting of original works from 1967 using new technologies, and animation of archival material. Works are presented in these galleries, as well as on the ground floor and in Beverley Webster Rolph Hall in the basement.