Le jardin de givre

Michel Goulet

A cube, a three-dimensional block of ice, a shimmering structure that changes colour at the whims of programmed lighting and leaves the inside visible in a way that sparks the imagination by combining it with magic, creating a fantastical dream world.

The work takes its name from the famous verses of the poet Émile Nelligan. It immediately conveys the idea of the imagination as a guide to another realm awaiting discovery, to a secret space that we imagine as a place of perfect happiness. It hides a useful (but unaesthetic) piece of machinery from direct view without obliterating it completely, and redefines the space as one of dreams, where everything is magical and grand, and anything is possible.

Positioned higher up, the work turns your view inside out, allowing you to see the inside as magic, rather than the outside. The twisted cord that holds and orients this large surface is made of colours characterizing sports and signifying belonging to a group, while compelling these individualized colours to come together to create coherent wholes.

In the evening, the inner walls take on the same colours, coming alive and offering an ever-changing spectacle before your very eyes. When the rain or snow falls and the water tower – the heart of the space – creates steam, a column of light rises up and disappears.

Le jardin de givre is a place of perpetual motion where we lay our dreams.

Source: Ministère de la Culture et des Communications (free translation of the French)

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A sculptor born in 1944 in Asbestos, Quebec, Michel Goulet lives and works in Montreal. He taught sculpture, first, at the University of Ottawa from 1976 to 1986, and then at the Université du Québec à Montréal from 1987 to 2004. He is regarded by many as one of the outstanding figures of his generation in the field of sculpture. During his 35 years of continuous presence on the art scene, his works have appeared in numerous large exhibitions in prestigious venues both here in Canada and abroad, and are found in large public and private collections. A major exhibition of his work was featured at the Centre international d’art contemporain (CIAC) in 1997, and in 2004, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal devoted a solo exhibition to him, featuring a 30-year retrospective of his art titled Part de vie, part de jeu.

Mr. Goulet has participated in many exhibitions. In 1988, he officially represented Canada at the Venice Biennale, regarded as the biggest international event in contemporary art. He has also created many public artworks for cities throughout North America and even in Europe.

He has received a number of honours, including the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, the highest distinction awarded to visual artists by the Québec government (1990), as well as the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts of the Canada Council for the Arts (2008).


  • michelgoulet.ca/fr/index.htm
  • Ministère de la Culture et des Communications

Factsheet of the work

  • Relief artwork – three facades of the screen around the water tower
  • Anodized aluminum
  • Each panel measures 2.44 m long x 0.92 m wide
  • Year: 2015