In the middle of Montréal, walking up Avenue McGill College toward the Mountain, you can't help but run into the 65-person polyurethane sculpture "La Foule Illuminée" ("The Illuminated Crowd"). Sculpted by Franco-British artist Raymond Mason, this public art has stood in front of the BNP/Laurentian Bank Tower since the mid-1980s.
In the words of the artist: “A crowd has gathered, facing a light, an illumination brought about by a fire, an event, an ideology—or an ideal. The strong light casts shadows, and as the light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates; rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man. Illumination, hope, involvement, hilarity, irritation, fear, illness, violence, murder and death—the flow of man’s emotion through space.”
Get up close, eye-to-eye with some of the details, and you'll see why this sculpture still generates both controversy and bemusement in the middle of this vibrant city.