The Illuminated Crowd

Created in 1985 by Franco-British artist, Raymond Mason, this unique public sculpture is made from stratified polyester resin with polyurethane paint.

The Illuminated Crowd is a sculpture consisting of 65 people of all ages, race, facial expressions and conditions, depicted on four platforms. The sculpture illustrates the degradation of the human race and symbolizes the fragility of the human condition.

The plaque at the base of the sculpture reads: “A crowd has gathered, facing the light, an illumination brought about by 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.”

Raymond Mason was born in Birmingham, UK on 2 March 1922 and died in Paris, France on 13 February 2010. He was awarded a scholarship to Birmingham College of Arts and Crafts. Following being invalided out of the Navy in 1941, he won a painting scholarship to the Royal College of Art before returning, the following year, to Birmingham, where he earned a living producing portraits.

In 1946, he left for Paris, which was to become home for the rest of his life. There he found himself in the company of some of the greatest figures of twentieth-century art, from Balthus and Duchamp to Giacometti and Picasso, and, inspired by their example, set about making his own distinctive contribution to modern sculpture.

This sculpture is located on McGill Avenue, Montreal, Quebec in front of the BNP Tower.

Photo credit: Shirley Hobson.

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