Le Grand Rassemblement - The Grand Gathering – Sainte-Flavie, Québec - Atlas Obscura

Le Grand Rassemblement - The Grand Gathering

Sainte-Flavie, Québec

An ever-changing gathering of crude wooden figures haunts the St. Lawrence River. 


Staring out at Canada’s Saint-Lawrence River the placid beach is interrupted by an eerie collection of over 100 human-esque figures which seem to rise up out of the waves. 

This large scale art project, called Le Grand Rassemblement (The Grand Gathering in English), is the work of Canadian artist Marcel Gagnon who started carving the crooked wood and stone people as figure studies for his paintings. After making over 80 of the figures and placing them along the shore and at varying depths in the river so that they would appear and disappear with the tides, he simply continued to construct the impressionistic statues with ever-more diverse poses and visages until the number of figures numbered well over 100. Most of the figures are simple, armless pillars that stand as tall as an adult, and are crowned with a simply carved face. Some of the gathering are carved to have a hunchback or have leaned over in the sand giving the whole installation a shambling, zombie-like effect.

The latest addition to the piece is a series of tethered wooden rafts on which Gagnon has placed a smattering of his signature figures. When the tide is low, the rafts simply sit on the sandy beach, but when the water rises the rafts hold the statues up on top of the water. Le Grand Rassemblement is a testament to the vision of one artist refracted across hundreds of other figures.  

Know Before You Go

Behind the Centre d'Art Hotel and Restaurant.

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