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Montréal, June 1, 2023 - 

As celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of Jean Paul Riopelle’s birth are taking place all across Québec, Espace pour la vie is very pleased to highlight the important contribution of this world-renowned artist by presenting RIOPELLE - A Bird Wild and Free, a unique interactive experience combining visual arts, immersive projections and symphonic music, at the Biosphère starting June 3.

An immersive and interactive experience unique to Québec

This project was produced in collaboration with GSI Musique, creator of Riopelle symphonique, and the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation. Through large-scale projections and symphonic music inspired by Riopelle’s work and performed by the OSM, the immersive experience invites visitors to step inside the world that so inspired the artist at the end of his career: the majestic landscapes of L’Isle-aux-Grues, where he lived, with snow geese soaring in the sky above. This feature marks the difference between the interactive tour proposed by the Biosphère and traditional exhibitions in which the public would come to see works by the world-renowned painter.

A collective creation “in the manner of” Jean Paul Riopelle

In a setting inspired by the master’s studio on L’Île-aux-Oies, and steeped in the places where Riopelle produced his works inspired by the wild goose, the public is invited to experience a collective creation “in the manner of” Jean Paul Riopelle. Visitors will get to admire an original work by the artist, never shown publicly before, which will be exhibited along with others presented in digital format. Mediation activities inspired by those available through the Studio Riopelle educational platform will also be offered to the public. Powered by the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation with the support of the Government of Canada, Studio Riopelle enables thousands of students and young people across Canada to be inspired by the work of the great master through a wide selection of educational video vignettes and fun learning activities.

RIOPELLE - A Bird Wild and Free is the only immersive and interactive experience to be presented in a Québec museum as part of the celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth.

The MIGRATIONS exhibition

To accompany this immersive experience, the Biosphère is simultaneously presenting a second exhibition, MIGRATIONS, featuring works by 12 young artists from the French-speaking world on the topic of migration. This exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Biosphère/Espace for Life and LOJIQ - Les Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec, as well as GSI Musique, the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation and the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques.

Île Sainte-Hélène is located in the heart of the river corridor where many species of birds migrate, including Canadian geese. The works invite visitors to reflect on how climate change influences the migratory movements of humans, animals and plants, as well as on their fragile balance.


“The soul-stirring Riopelle experience at the Biosphère raises awareness of the importance of caring for both nature and the community around us. I invite Montrealers to enjoy this unique experience and to discover the MIGRATIONS exhibition, which showcases fabulous artists from the French-speaking world and highlights Montréal’s francophone character,” said Caroline Bourgeois, the member of the executive committee responsible for the city’s major parks, Mount Royal and sports, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Espace pour la vie and Montréal’s east end.

“The Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation is delighted to join forces with Espace pour la vie and its prestigious partners to present these two unique exhibitions as part of Riopelle’s centenary celebrations. The immersive and interactive experience RIOPELLE - A Bird Wild and Free is a genuine invitation to plunge into the artist’s universe through the majestic natural landscapes and sites that were for him an endless source of inspiration. Visitors to the Biosphère will also have the opportunity to extend their experience with the exhibition MIGRATIONS, dedicated to a theme so dear to Riopelle. We are enormously proud to give 12 up-and-coming artists from the French-speaking world the opportunity to shine through this groundbreaking exhibition,” said Manon Gauthier, executive director of the Jean Paul Riopelle Foundation and general commissioner of the artist’s centenary celebrations.

“The GSI Musique team is very proud to present its first major exhibition project at the Biosphère. For the celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of Jean Paul Riopelle’s birth, we wanted to create an immersive and interactive exhibition that would whisk visitors into the world of one of the most prominent Canadian artists. Visitors put themselves in the shoes of this exceptional creator as they are lulled by an original 75-minute musical score composed by Serge Fiori and Blair Thomson and inspired by the life and work of the artist: Riopelle symphonique,” said Nicolas Lemieux, president of GSI Musique.

“The activities of the Biosphère help raise awareness of the importance of protecting our environment, and we are proud to participate in this mandate by supporting Espace pour la vie. This exhibition reminds us how much nature is part of our lives and of our identity. Nature not only contributes to our well-being and that of our communities, it also inspires and amazes us. Our government is committed to protecting nature, and it so happens that it was right here in Montreal, at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, that Canada and the 195 other members of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity agreed to a historic global framework for preserving nature and halting and reversing biodiversity loss,” said the Honorable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

“Showcasing the beauty of nature through the arts is a concrete way to make people aware of the importance of protecting our land. Riopelle, through his great art, has not only contributed to the development of Québec’s artistic culture, but also to the discovery, both here and abroad, of the richness of our landscapes. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to learn more about this renowned painter, to appreciate the works of emerging artists, and to observe the beauty of Québec's nature,” said Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, and minister responsible for the Laurentides region.

“I am tremendously proud of the work accomplished by the teams at Espace pour la vie. It’s a privilege for us to take part in the centenary celebrations of this monumental artist. Beyond his talent, this immersive experience highlights Jean Paul Riopelle’s deep love of nature, which literally radiates from his works. As far as I’m concerned, it epitomizes the importance of creating an emotional bond with nature. First to love it, then to protect it. That’s what we at Espace pour la vie are striving to do," says Julie Jodoin, director of Espace pour la vie.

“The Biosphère brings together art, science and citizen action to help humans live in harmony with nature. RIOPELLE - A Bird Wild and Free and MIGRATIONS eloquently highlight the influence of nature in the visual arts while reminding us of the importance of protecting it,” said Isabelle St-Germain, director of the Biosphère.

“We are very pleased at LOJIQ to have commissioned and supervised these 12 visual artists from the French-speaking world who will present their works at the MIGRATIONS exhibition as part of the celebrations surrounding the 100th anniversary of Jean Paul Riopelle’s birth. LOJIQ and its Cultural Action arm enable new artists to develop their careers, to make themselves known to different audiences, and to contribute to the development of arts and culture in Québec and elsewhere in the world. LOJIQ supports young artists in the migration of their career and their work towards greater personal and professional fulfillment,” said Jean-Stéphane Bernard, president and CEO of LOJIQ.

“The Centre de la francophonie des Amériques is pleased to be a partner of the MIGRATIONS exhibition as part of the 100th anniversary of Jean Paul Riopelle’s birth, in addition to promoting the diverse French-speaking community. In this regard, two visual artists from New Brunswick and Mexico, supported by the Centre, were selected. Their works are inspired by the topic of migratory movements dear to the artist Jean Paul Riopelle. What a pleasure to see that the next generation of artists continue to keep the legacy of Jean Paul Riopelle alive today,” said Sylvain Lavoie, president and CEO of the Centre de la francophonie des Amériques.

RIOPELLE - A Bird Wild and Free
and the MIGRATIONS exhibition

June 3, 2023 to May 5, 2024
at the Biosphère
Online ticket reservations

Get the Espace pour la vie Passport at 25% off from June 2 to 23
and visit the largest museum complex in the country for 12 months!
About Espace pour la vie

Espace pour la vie is made up of five major attractions: the Biodôme, the Biosphère, the Insectarium, the Jardin botanique and the Planétarium. These prestigious municipal institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.

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Contact our team

Junior Bombardier
Roy & Turner Communications
514 941-3794
Chantal Côté
Espace pour la vie
514 290-7236

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