Jean-Paul Mousseau, 1961-62
In 1944, 17-years old Jean-Paul Mousseau befriended the Automatistes associated with Paul-Émile Borduas and became captivated by the Surrealist theories circulating among the Montreal avant-garde of an art inspired by dreams and the subconscious. Mousseau signed the manifesto Refus global in 1948, supporting its demand for freedom of expression and for a new social and political order in the Church-dominated society of Quebec.
In a 1967 interview, Mousseau said, “For me, art is the expression of a certain awareness…of conscious or unconscious needs…art should be expressed in all that surrounds us, in all that we touch and in all materials”.
Mousseau’s commitment to an art that was socially engaged led him to produce art outside the frame, when he exercised his talents as a set and costume designer for theatre and dance and as an interior decorator for discotheques.
Maintaining his painterly preoccupations with colour and light, he used glass and electric light to create suspended sculptures, and in 1966, he employed ceramic tiles for public spaces such as the murals in the Peel Street station of the Montreal Métro.
Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly book, 2000