View the Night – When Art Becomes a Sensorial, Poetic Experience

View the Night - When Art Becomes a Sensorial, Poetic Experience

Experience the magic of the night through art in this immersive exhibition. Explore the senses, emotions, and creativity inspired by the night at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Discover how artists depict “Nocturnal Landscapes,” “Intimate Night,” “The City,” and “The Cosmos.” Dive into a poetic adventure that suspends time and draws you into the depths of the night.


The night has always been a canvas of mystery, fascination, and inspiration. Whether it’s the hushed whispers of nocturnal creatures, the soft glow of moonlight, or the interplay of shadows, the night holds a unique allure. In a world that often rushes through daylight, the Musée National des Beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) invites you to slow down and embrace the beauty of the night.

View the Night is not just an exhibition; it’s a sensorial journey that transcends conventional art displays. From November 2, 2023, to March 14, 2024, the MNBAQ presents an immersive experience that delves into the universal theme of the night and its profound impact on art, senses, and emotions.

Art and the Night: A Unique Connection

The Night, a Blank Canvas for Artistic Expression

The night’s mysterious charm has always captivated artists. It’s a time when the veil of daylight is lifted, revealing a canvas of obscurity and possibilities. Artists have long recognized the transformative power of the night, and this exhibition is a celebration of their unique ability to capture its essence.

The absence of the sun’s relentless glare allows artists to experiment with the interplay of light and shadow, creating captivating nocturnal scenes. Through the stroke of a brush or the click of a camera shutter, they bring to life the magic that only the night can offer.

In this exhibition, you’ll witness the evolution of artistic expression through the ages as artists have embraced the night as a muse. From ancient civilizations to modern times, the night’s allure has transcended time and culture, leaving an indelible mark on art history.

Nocturnal Light: Moonlight, Starlight, and Beyond

One of the most captivating aspects of the night is its diverse array of lights. Natural luminance, such as moonlight and starlight, paints the night sky with ethereal beauty. Artificial light, from flickering candles to the soft glow of electric lamps, adds a human touch to the nocturnal landscape.

In this exhibition, you’ll immerse yourself in the world of light and darkness. Experience how artists have harnessed the unique qualities of different light sources to convey emotions and stories. Discover the contrast between the gentle radiance of the moon and the stark brilliance of city lights.

The MNBAQ’s Innovative Approach

Creating an Innovative Exhibition: Immersing Art and Senses

Traditional art exhibitions often rely on textual explanations to guide visitors. However, View the Night takes a bold step by inviting you to experience art without the intrusion of lengthy descriptions. Instead, your senses and emotions become your guides.

Under the guidance of Maude Lévesque, exhibition curator, the MNBAQ’s teams embarked on a mission to create an immersive space where art speaks directly to your soul. This daring approach challenges the conventional way we engage with art and encourages a more personal and intimate connection.

Scenography: Transforming Space into Night’s Embrace

Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey, the exhibition’s scenographer, is a visionary artist with a deep commitment to environmental responsibility. Her delicate touch combines with a wealth of theater-based expertise to create an exhibition space that transcends the ordinary.

As you step into the exhibition, you’ll be transported into the heart of the night. The carefully crafted scenography envelops you in an environment where art and senses intertwine seamlessly. Every corner of this transformed space is designed to evoke emotions, spark curiosity, and awaken your inner explorer.

Soundscapes of the Night: Vincent Roy’s Auditory Magic

Vincent Roy, a multidisciplinary artist, has been entrusted with the task of creating unique soundscapes for the exhibition. Through carefully composed audio elements, he guides visitors on a journey from tranquil zones to more lively and intriguing spaces.

Close your eyes and let the auditory magic of the night transport you. The symphony of sounds, from the gentle rustling of leaves to the distant hum of city life, enhances the immersive adventure. Vincent Roy’s contribution adds another layer of depth to the exhibition, making it an experience for all your senses.

Engaging the Audience

A Journey through Four Themes: Nocturnal Landscapes, Intimate Night, The City, and The Cosmos

View the Night is divided into four thematic realms, each offering a unique perspective on the night. These themes, “Nocturnal Landscapes,” “Intimate Night,” “The City,” and “The Cosmos,” serve as gateways into the vast world of the night as depicted by artists.

  1. Nocturnal Landscapes: In this section, artists draw shapes, faces, and landscapes from the shadows, revealing the hidden beauty of the night.
  2. Intimate Night: Explore the mysteries of personal encounters with the night. Artists delve into the realm of dreams, secrets, and the innermost thoughts that surface in the silence of the night.
  3. The City: The urban landscape takes center stage, with artists capturing the dichotomy of city lights against the backdrop of the night sky. It’s a vivid exploration of the metropolis after dark.
  4. The Cosmos: Venture beyond Earth’s confines and gaze at the celestial wonders that grace the night sky. Artists invoke the cosmos, inviting you to contemplate the infinite.

These thematic sections offer a diverse range of artistic expressions, allowing you to navigate the night’s many facets.

The Public’s Creative Contribution: Voices of the Night

View the Night isn’t just about art on display; it’s a collaborative venture with the public. Last July, the MNBAQ invited individuals to participate in the creative process, contributing their own stories, secrets, and dreams related to the night.

In response to questions like “How do you relate to the night?” and “What secret do you wish to reveal in the night?” participants shared enthusiastic testimonials, incredible stories, and intimate connections to the nocturnal world. These personal narratives have become an integral part of the exhibition, enriching the overall experience.

Guided by Art: A New Visitor Experience

Sophie Lessard-Latendresse, Art and Wellness Mediation Coordinator at the MNBAQ, has played a pivotal role in shaping the guided experience for visitors. By offering a more public-oriented approach, the guides ensure that your journey through View the Night is enlightening and enjoyable.

As you explore the exhibition, guides will provide insights, facilitate discussions, and create an atmosphere where art comes alive. Their expertise enhances your connection to the art and the night, making your visit truly memorable.

An Eco-Friendly Approach

Sustainable Practices: Transforming Socio-Ecological Consciousness

Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey, in collaboration with the MNBAQ team and printer André Kedl, has taken significant steps to reduce the ecological footprint of the exhibition. These environmentally conscious practices reflect a commitment to socio-ecological responsibility. Here are some of the sustainable measures adopted:

  1. Petrochemical-Free Graphic Design: The exhibition minimizes the use of petrochemical products by printing all texts and posters on paper and cardboard. This eco-friendly choice aligns with the goal of reducing harmful environmental impact.
  2. Reusable Carpet: The choice of carpet for the exhibition was made with reusability in mind. After the exhibition, the carpet can find new life elsewhere, reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
  3. FSC Certified Wood: The exhibition incorporates FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood. This certification ensures the protection of forest ecosystems, respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples, communities, and workers involved in wood production.
  4. Cosmic Murals: Élène Pearson, a local artist, has contributed to the eco-friendly initiative by creating cosmic murals with fluorescent paint. These murals come to life when illuminated by ultraviolet light, adding a touch of magic to the exhibition space.

The Artworks and Artists

60+ Works, 45 Artists: A Diverse Showcase

View the Night boasts an impressive collection of over 60 works from the MNBAQ’s extensive art collections. These works span different time periods and artistic styles, offering a rich tapestry of creativity inspired by the night.

The diversity of the exhibition is reflected in the participation of 45 artists, both past and present, who have left their unique mark on the portrayal of the night.

Ancient to Modern: A Journey Through Time

As you journey through the exhibition, you’ll witness the evolution of artistic expression. From the ancient world to contemporary creations, the night has consistently captivated artists and inspired them to explore its depths.

Ancient art, with its timeless mysteries, contrasts with modern and contemporary pieces that provide fresh perspectives on the night. It’s a testament to the enduring allure of the nocturnal realm.

Collaboration with Musée de la civilisation: Enriching the Collection

The Musée de la civilisation (MCQ) plays a pivotal role in enhancing the exhibition’s depth. Through a collaborative effort, 15 precious objects from MCQ’s collection have been added to View the Night.

These objects breathe life into the night’s narrative, creating direct and indirect links that enrich the overall atmosphere. A lantern, a soft toy, and figurines are just a few examples of these strikingly symbolic objects that enhance the exhibition’s theatrical ambiance.

The collaboration between MNBAQ and MCQ goes beyond the loan of artworks. MCQ’s expertise in the presentation and highlighting of objects has been invaluable. They’ve worked hand in hand with scenographer Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey to bring her vision to life, ensuring that every element contributes to the exhibition’s magic.

Meet the Visionaries

Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey: Crafting Sensory Worlds

Marie-Renée Bourget Harvey, the exhibition’s scenographer, is a true visionary. Her background as a graphic designer, combined with her studies in anthropology and the visual arts, has shaped her unique perspective on creating sensory, fragmented, and multiple spaces.

Driven by a passion for the arts and territory, Marie-Renée seeks to bridge the gap between humanity and creativity. Her goal is to infuse poetry into both the stage and everyday life, fostering a more conscious, open, and benevolent practice. She constantly strives for aptness and cohesion in her creations, aiming to transform the ephemeral into something enduring.

Vincent Roy: Artistic Multidisciplinarian

Vincent Roy, a native of Rimouski, is a versatile artist with a multidisciplinary background. His journey began with a degree from the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec, where he collaborated on various theatrical productions. His artistic endeavors expanded to sound design and solo musical projects.

Vincent Roy’s diverse experiences include interpreting characters on stage, launching a solo album, and engaging in television projects. His talent and creativity have left a mark on the arts scene, making him a valuable addition to the View the Night exhibition.

Acknowledgments and Partnerships

Museum Innovation Incubator: Fostering Creative Exploration

The View the Night exhibition has been made possible, in part, through the support of the Museum Innovation Incubator. This initiative, a collaboration between the Musée National des beaux-arts du Québec and the Musée de la civilization, has played a crucial role in pushing the boundaries of creative exploration.

By nurturing innovative ideas and fostering partnerships, the Museum Innovation Incubator has paved the way for groundbreaking exhibitions like View the Night.

Thanks to Our Partners and Donors

The MNBAQ extends its heartfelt gratitude to the partners and donors of its foundation. Their financial support has been instrumental in bringing this extraordinary project to life. Their commitment to the arts enriches our cultural landscape and ensures that initiatives, like View the Night, continue to inspire and captivate audiences.

The MNBAQ: A Cultural Gem Funded by Québec

The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec is a state corporation funded by the Gouvernement du Québec. This institution serves as a cultural gem, preserving and showcasing the rich tapestry of artistry that defines Québec’s heritage. Through exhibitions like View the Night, the MNBAQ continues to be a beacon of artistic excellence and cultural appreciation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How did the night inspire artists throughout history?

The night’s enigmatic nature has consistently captivated artists, providing them with a unique canvas to explore the interplay of light and darkness.

What can visitors expect from the View the Night exhibition?

Visitors can anticipate an immersive sensorial experience that transcends traditional art displays, inviting them to explore the night through art, sound, and emotions.

How can the public contribute to the exhibition’s narrative?

The public was invited to share their personal stories, secrets, and dreams related to the night, which have become an integral part of the exhibition’s rich tapestry.

What eco-friendly practices were adopted in the exhibition’s design?

The exhibition embraces eco-friendly practices, including petrochemical-free graphic design, reusable carpets, and the use of FSC-certified wood.

Who are some of the notable artists featured in the exhibition?

The exhibition features work by 45 artists, including Kenojuak Ashevak, Geneviève Cadieux, Marc–Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, and more.

What is the role of the Museum Innovation Incubator in the project?

The Museum Innovation Incubator, a collaboration between MNBAQ and MCQ, has provided crucial support for the View the Night exhibition, fostering creative exploration and innovation.


View the Night is a testament to the profound connection between art and the night. It invites you to explore the mysteries, emotions, and creativity that unfold when the world sleeps. By immersing yourself in the night through art, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty that emerges when darkness falls. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to view the night in a new light, where art becomes a sensorial, poetic experience. Join us on this extraordinary journey at the Musée national des beaux-

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