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Gisele Amantea’s work reflects on the Abénaki ancestral land on which Highway 20 is largely located. She hopes the viewer “considers this kind of space and this history." An audacious art project is giving motorists in Quebec a better reason to pull over to a rest stop than a full bladder or an empty stomach: an appetite for art.

Throughout the summer, over a dozen sites along Highway 20 between Montreal and Quebec City are being taken over by contemporary artists. It’s called Truck Stop, and it’s one of Canada’s most unique public art projects. Truck Stop allows artists to take over rest stops so that drivers can better appreciate the public space. (Truck Stop) Truck Stop goes back to the roots of what rest stops and truck stops have always been: public spaces. The project encapsulates several different types of art, ranging from visual art — photography, sculpture, film — to performance art.

Co-curated by Centre Clark in Montreal and l’Oeil de Poisson in Quebec City, the project challenges road-weary viewers’ perceptions of what public art can be.

"It’s something really innovative," says artist Mathilde Forest. "Personally, for me, Highway 20 is somewhere sad, grey… I hope Truck Stop will make it bring some colour and some fantasy." Mathieu Gagnon and Mathilde Forest use photography in a documentary style. Their art is featured at the rest stop is near Saint-Nazaire d’Acton, Que. (Mathilde Forest) A mix of nostalgia and new art

Forest is one half of the art duo Gagnon-Forest , which has taken over the rest stop near Saint-Nazaire d’Acton, about 30 kilometres east of Drummondville.

Before the End pays homage to the eccentric inventor Jean Saint-Germain’s short-lived spaceship-shaped restaurant, complete with robot waiters. L’Extra-Terrasse operated briefly in the early 1990s. "Before the End" by Gagnon/Forest documents the decaying remains […]

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