April 9, 2013

For its fifth edition, the annual contemporary art festival ART SOUTERRAIN invites the city of Barcelona to celebrate contemporary art. In partnership with Quebecor, one of Canada’s largest media companies, the festival takes place from Saturday 2 to Sunday 17 March 2013 in 14 different interconnected complexes, both above and below ground, and three metro stations in downtown Montreal.

ART SOUTERRAIN occupies 7 km of the 35 km long network with 130 works of art by over 120 artists from 17 countries, such as Sean Martindale, Yu-Hang Huang, Antoine Tavaglione and Lalie Douglas. Projects vary from digital art to sculptural installations, performances and photography. Every single artwork is presented to the public by over 200 cultural mediators during Montreal’s Nuit Blanche on Saturday March 2nd.

This year’s projects are under the theme of ‘‘Labyrinth’’, as a metaphore for Montreal’s underground complex, often compared to a maze, with its unexpected turns and long tunnels. Some artists chose to produce original artworks that play with or question the theme and adapted their creations to accentuate the architecture and design of the underground spaces. For example, Dominique Petrin’s Pazzazz is a monumental Greco-Roman fresco that recalls excess, wealth and decadence represented in an ornamental style that is almost threatening. The optical illusion is lost in a maze of pleasure and abuse, enjoyment and intoxication

On Monday March 4th, Alexandra Laudo, the guest curator from Barcelona, is presenting her successful exhibition The Narrative Condition for the first time in North America. Laudo was head of communication at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation from 2005 to 2012 and coordinator of the 2009 and 2010 editions of the Loop Fair before founding Heroinas de la cultura, Heroins of Culture, a platform dedicated to curating and developing comtemporary art exhibition programs and activities. She will be present in Montreal to answer questions from the media and visitors about her exhibition

Alexandra Laudo chose to explore the theme of ‘’Labyrinth’’ according to the axis of the narrative condition. In the course of the exhibition, the visitor discovers that there are many ways to tell a story. Each of the selected projects are articulated by combining images in motion and narrative elements. All the artworks underline the omnipresence of images in a contemporary society and the human reflex to organise knowledge within narratives.

Also part of the Catalan deleguation will be M. Carles Sala, director of the Institute of Culture of the City of Barcelona, M. José Orial Gual, director of the Capella de Barcelona, the original site of Laudo’s exhibition, and eight out of the nine participating European comtemporary creators from Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels and Amsterdam.

Besides exhibiting artists from outside the region of Quebec, ART SOUTERRAIN showcases the vibrant local contemporary art scene throughout a circuit that unites shopping centres, theatres, business offices, restaurants and a convention centre. With over 450 000 daily passers-by in the underground network, ART SOUTERRAIN, literally meaning underground art, offers extraordinary visibility to its participating artists and partners. The festival is also making contemporary art accessible to a wider audience by taking artworks out of their traditional context of the exhibition spaces. During two weeks, the festival adds excitement, splendor and beauty to commuters’ and workers’ daily routine by transforming Montreal’s underground tunnels and spaces into memorable experiences

Photography: Art Souterrain

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