Art Gallery of Grande Prairie

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Past Exhibitions

Spring Hurlbut: Le Jardin du sommeil

June 4, 2010 - August 22, 2010

Opening Reception: Friday, June 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm

The moving sight of about 100 cribs and cradles lined up in orderly fashion in The Art Gallery of Grande Prairie will summon up memories of hospitals, orphanages, dormitories, schoolrooms, cemeteries—images that telescope the cycle of life: birth, life and death.

Le Jardin du sommeil (1998) is a remarkable installation by Canadian artist Spring Hurlbut.  It was acquired by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal in 2009, and is currently travelling to other galleries.  The work evokes both childhood and the loss of childhood.  It is made up of 140 antique, found, metal cribs and cradles, simply and soberly arranged in rows.  The discreet presence of a few ceramic funeral wreaths at the beginning of the journey through this “garden of sleep” introduces the idea of a memorial, a notion heightened by the walkways that wrap around it.

Spring Hurlbut was born in 1952 in Toronto, where she lives and works.  Since the late seventies, she has developed a painstaking, intimate art that employs strategies from architecture and museology to guide us through the labyrinth of the human psyche.  Variously reappropriating artifacts, colour illustrations and taxidermy specimens, the artist picks out objects that represent archetypes of the life cycle.  For Le Jardin du sommeil, Hurlbut, a passionate collector, sought out and found 140 different examples of metal cribs and cradles from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  The geometric layout of the installation and the lining up of the motifs recall the structure of a garden, and the accumulation of objects, that of a cabinet of curiosities.  At once similar and unique, the beds symbolically express the individual yet universal nature of the human destiny.

Musee d'art contemporain

Canadian Heritage


This exhibition is part of the MOMENTUM series, a touring project from the Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.  The MOMENTUM series has been made possible with the financial support of the Department of the Canadian Heritage through its Museums Assistance Program. 

Cette exposition s’inscrit dans le cadre de la série MOMENTUM, un projet de circulation de the Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.  La série MOMENTUM a été rendue possible grâce à l’appui financier du ministère du Patrimoine canadien par le biais du Programme d’aide aux musées.

Interpretive Guide to the Exhibition

Interpretive Guide to the Exhibition


Learn more about Le Jardin du sommeil and watch the interview with Spring Hurlbut.