Art souterrain from 4th to 26th of March
- Secteur galeries marchandes
Art Souterrain will present, from March 4 through 26, 2017, the ninth edition of its free contemporary art festival, held along a six-kilometre trail inside the buildings of Montreal's underground city as well as at eight satellite cultural venues.
Over the three weeks, festival-goers will discover a wide array of projects from 70 Canadian and international artists and collectives, encompassing installations, sculptures, video, photography, digital art and performance art. This year's theme is Play & Distraction.
Numerous activities will also be held in conjunction with the exhibition, which this year will take place along an underground trail featuring simpler circuits and at satellite venues located in three Montreal neighbourhoods.
ART SOUTERRAIN has entrusted the visual campaign for the 2017 edition to Rap design studio. It is their second such collaboration with the studio.
The artists participating in the 2017 edition have been selected by Art Souterrain senior curator and executive director Frédéric Loury, as well as by three guest curators: the duo of Patrick Bérubé and Chloé Grondeau, and Marie-Charlotte Carrier.
The theme for the 2017 edition: PLAY & DISTRACTION
“To make a man happy is to distract him from the sight of his miseries.” – Blaise Pascal
The will to have fun is inexorably linked to human nature. Every period and nation is characterized by its games, its celebrations, its music or its dance. Synonymous with pleasure, relaxation and sharing, play as an activity is ephemeral, has no apparent utility and follows voluntarily agreed-upon rules.
The nature of leisure activities and the places where they are practiced have evolved over the centuries. The hedonistic dogma emanating from the Enlightment, the decline of religions in Western societies, and, more recently, changes in the division of labour, have ushered in what Joffre Dumazedier called a “civilization of leisure,” giving rise to a new social order.
Today, leisure is a bona fide industry attuned to our every desire, and we are more than ever confronted with a barrage of ways for occupying our free time: game rooms, shows, theme parks, video games (which have surpassed cinema and music as the most lucrative form of entertainment), sports, mega exhibitions, television, the Internet…
Having fun is a legitimate human need. But when do activities that foster genuine empowerment or reflection become exercises in alienation and regression instead? Have we developed a “love [for our] servitude,” as Aldous Huxley surmised in Brave New World, allowing ourselves to be controlled, without coercion, by rules defined by others, and turning our backs on anything that requires patience and maturation?
Does this perpetual quest for escape solely denounce a growing frustration with reality or is it redefining our very nature? Have we become the Homo ludens referred to by historian and author Johan Huizinga[NB1] , for whom the mechanism of play is consubstantial with culture?
Since 2009, ART SOUTERRAIN has been attracting a large audience and turning them on to contemporary art. Unique in North America, the festival takes place in Montreal's famed underground city, a network of pedestrian passages used by over 100,000 people daily.
The festival takes art outside conventional venues and into the public space, breathing life into this original part of Montreal's architectural heritage as it showcases the diverse practices and modes of expression of artists from the local, national and international scenes.
On October 10, 2016, ART SOUTERRAIN launched a new initiative titled VITRINES SUR L’ART. Until January 15, 2017, visitors are invited to come discover nine Canadian works from the prestigious collections of the Cirque du Soleil and the Art Bank of Canada, showcased in the window displays of five vacant downtown stores housed at 1000 de la Gauchetière using a temporary set-up based on the art gallery model. (Admission is free.)
ART SOUTERRAIN is supported by the Ville de Montréal's Bureau des festivals et des événements culturels, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, Heritage Canada, and the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine (Québec).
Art Souterrain | 2020 William, Montreal, QC H3J 1R8
[NB1]Ceci est l'orthographe correcte.