Michel Tremblay

A Quebec Icon honoured by the Musee de la Civilisation

Michel Tremblay is a Quebec icon whose reputation has gone beyond the borders of the province.   His creativity is just extraordinary and he has greatly contributed to literature, the theatre, the movie industry…   His greatest merit however is to have created works that mirrored the society of Québec in the midst of the critical changes taking place the nineteen sixties.   His sense of observation of people and places is highly sensitive. His own childhood has be the subject of particularly sincere autobiographies.

But how does one make an exhibition about an author?  Not so easy but to every problem, there is a solution and clearly the curatorial team of the MDC found it and met the challenge.   The role played by Lise Bertrand, Andrea Hauenschild, Jimmy Lakatos and Raymond Saint-Jean is remarkable.   They have assembled sound and visual documents that take the visitor back to the childhood of the 70 year old author.  The documents in their diversity tell us of his love for storytelling, his life in Montreal’s working class neighbourhood, of the people who influenced him, those who were his inspiration.

Various interviews of the author are continuously shown on large TV screens.  Bilingual panels and subtitles make it easy for the English speaking visitor to get a sense of Tremblay’s vision, of his strong personality.   Audio guides provided at the entrance further accompany the visitor passing by the side panels, the exterior three cubes at the center of the exhibition space.  They hold the few objects exhibited.  There are, for instance an arm like the one Michel Tremplay would curl up to read, a 1950’s chrome table evoking the family’s kitchen.  The Gold star stamps cover the walls and bring back the tradition of these promotional tools given out by grocery store of the time.  They were trading stamps that are a major item of the 1965 play «Les Belles soeurs».  Last but not least, through an iPad interface, visitors can sit at a make-up table to view more visual archives.

In keeping with the tradition, the Musee de la Civilisation has created an informative exhibition with the opportunity to have a very particular encounter with one of Quebec’s eminent writers and make an excursion into his world.