Sculptor Yves Trudeau enjoyed a particularly prosperous period during the 1960s, with one year after another heralding new breakthroughs and major successes. Buoyed by this momentum, the artist worked on multiple pieces simultaneously, a sustained effort that culminated in 1967 with his celebrated Phare du cosmos. Trudeau’s more lyrical, figurative approach of the decade’s earlier years gave way gradually to more formal experimentations marked by abstract and symbolist imagery. An astute combination of wood and metal—the organic and the inorganic, as Jacques de Roussan states—yielded skillfully apportioned works that explored existentialist ideas and elucidated the artist’s struggles and reflections on human nature and the human condition.
Chrysalide (1965) is especially evocative in this regard. Part of Trudeau’s iron-and-wood series, Chrysalide is an original work from which three bronze editions were cast; one of them is in the collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. The charred wooden piece, with its central ovoid opening, is impaled on all sides by a myriad of thin metal rods, like an internal armature. An outer bronze shell is appointed with welds across its arches and planes, adding to the overall sense of plasticity. As such, the work’s spatial balance and equilibrium is equalled only by the richness of its craftsmanship. In formal terms, Chrysalide carries on in the same spirit as L’oeuf cubique (1964), Vision cosmique (1965), and L’oeuf cosmique (1966).