Press Releases

National Bank Unveils BLEU DE BLEU - This art installation will line a six-kilometre stretch of one of Montreal's main highways

Montreal, 25 November 2016 -

From left to right: Anne-Marie Barnard, Director, Communications, Marketing and Foundation of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal; David Birnbaum, Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy-McGee; Alain Paiement, artist and BLEU DE BLEU designer; Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal; Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank; John Zeppetelli, Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and Gilbert Rozon, Commissioner for Celebrations and Executive Committee Member of the Society for the Celebration of Montreal’s 375th Anniversary (Source: Philippe Casgrain, photographer)

Today, Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank, was proud to present the concept and the artist of an art installation that will be displayed along a major stretch of Autoroute 20.

BLEU DE BLEU was designed by artist Alain Paiement, under the production management of Sid Lee, to celebrate Montreal's 375th anniversary. It will be inaugurated during the festivities in summer 2017. Investments totalling $3.2 million, consisting entirely of private donations, will go into the creation and installation of the project.

The art installation will line a six-kilometre stretch of Autoroute 20 between the Dorval Circle and the 1st Avenue overpass, including a section of the noise barrier belonging to Quebec's Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports. The art will be displayed for three to five years.

"Every day, hundreds of thousands of people travel along the stretch of highway between the airport and downtown Montreal. This was an opportunity too good to be missed," said Louis Vachon, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank. "Montreal is a dynamic city with a reputation for innovation, and that's exactly what people will see as they drive into town."

"This art corridor along the highway between Montreal’s Trudeau Airport and downtown is a project that unifies Montrealers and shows our city’s bold, creative spirit to the world, making it visible to visitors as soon as they arrive. It reflects the business community’s strong support for our city as it prepares to celebrate its 375th anniversary," declared Martin Coiteux, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Land Occupancy, Minister of Public Security and Minister responsible for the Montréal region.

"This unique installation will enhance the experience of travelling between the airport and downtown. Truly a world-class project, BLEU DE BLEU is one of many innovative, creative initiatives that are inspiring and delighting Montrealers," said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal.

Evoking the St. Lawrence River
BLEU DE BLEU is designed to evoke the shores of the St. Lawrence River. Travellers along the highway will see the installation change and grow more complex as it adapts to the changing cityscape that surrounds it. Some sections will pulse to their own rhythm, lit by blue LED lights.

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal has played a key role in this initiative by supporting the artistic process behind the work. "BLEU DE BLEU is a way to bring art out of more traditional venues and make it accessible to Montrealers and visitors alike, while beautifying a key area of the city. I'm delighted to have played a part in this initiative and I applaud the trust and artistic freedom given to Alain Paiement," said John Zeppetelli, the museum’s Director and Chief Curator.

Alain Paiement: A talented, multi-disciplinary artist
The artist for this project was chosen in December 2015. At the recommendation of the City of Montreal's Public Art Bureau, a selection committee composed of Mr. Zeppetelli, architect and philanthropist Phyllis Lambert, representatives from National Bank, Quebec art curator and historian Louise Déry, artist Stéphane La Rue, and Sandra Chartrand of the Fondation Sandra et Alain Bouchard selected Alain Paiement for his work which blends painting, photography, installations and architecture.

Alain Paiement has taught at the University of Ottawa, Université de Montréal, Concordia University and UQAM, and, in 1992, was the first Quebecer invited to the Whitney Museum in New York for the Power of the City/City of Power exhibition. His work was also shown at Fotofeis: Scottish International Festival of Photography in 1995, the Mois de la photographie in Paris in 1996, Austria's Kunsthalle Krems in 1998, the 3rd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale in 1999 and ARCOmadrid in 2004 and 2005. He was named Brussels' Cultural Ambassador in 1999 and was awarded the Prix Graff in 1997 and the Prix Louis-Comtois in 2002.

BLEU DE BLEU partners
This project was made possible through the support of major Quebec sponsors, including Sandra Chartrand of the Fondation Sandra et Alain Bouchard, Pierre Somers from the Walter J. Somers Foundation, and Richard Fortin from the Fondation Lise et Richard Fortin.

National Bank would also like to thank all the partners involved in this initiative including: Martin Coiteux, the Minister responsible for the Montreal region, Laurent Lessard, the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification, Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal, the Musée dart contemporain de Montréal, Aéroports de Montréal, Sid Lee and Lumenpulse.

About National Bank of Canada
With $230 billion in assets as at July 31, 2016, National Bank of Canada, together with its subsidiaries, forms one of Canada's leading integrated financial groups. The Bank has close to 22,000 employees and is widely recognized as a top employer. Its securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NA). Follow the Bank's activities at or via social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

(The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives.):

Marie-Pierre Jodoin
Senior Manager – Public Affairs
National Bank
Tel.: 514-394-4209