The Art Souterrain Festival is back!



From February 20th to March 14th, 2021

For its 13th consecutive year, Art Souterrain is proud to present the Art Souterrain Festival from February 20th to MArch 14th, 2021. In the heart of Montreal for 24 days, no less than 36 artists and performers will be presenting contemporary art pieces and performances focused on the theme of Chronometry. The pieces selected by the two commissioners, Nathalie Bachand (Canada) and Dulce Pinzon (Mexico) will be accessible in Montreal’s underground city’s safe public spaces at all times  and free of charge, even if the city was to be signaled as red zoned. 

Art as a pandemic remedy 

One way or another, we’ve all been affected by this pandemic. Art Souterrain wishes to transform  these times into an opportunity to reinvent the Art Souterrain Festival experience. In addition to the works traditionally exhibited in the public spaces, an adapted signage will allow respect for social distancing as well as sanitary norms at all times, thus ensuring the holding of the festival even if the city was to be signaled as red zoned. In parallel, the Art Souterrain Festival’s 13th edition will be taking a digital turn, enhancing its mission to democratize art by creating encounters with Quebecers, allowing them to experience the festival from the comfort of their home. 

An edition under the theme of chronometry 

To produce, reinvent, communicate, laugh and love have grown into a fast paced balance, this is the mantra of a modernity constantly shrinking our time. Also, everything moves faster and faster, and each unit of time is filled with more action, sensation and events. It is born of our flight confronted  by new behavioral reflexes, ultimately leading to ephemeral relationships and habits of immediacy.  Has our era entangled itself in the thread of its own speed? Is chronometry a path without exits or does it constitute a reconfiguration of human relations we need to embrace? One way or another, aren’t we on the threshold of a new era?

The duality between the balance of Man in its ecosystem and the pressure of our time consumption is an issue to which the artists of Art souterrain Festival’s 13th edition try to respond.

A visual identity that brings to question 

Once again this year, we are collaborating with the Paprika design studio for all visual communications. Wanting to capture and synthesize traces of passing time and fruit of a first comon and accessible look, the poster questions our relationship to time  and the urgency to consume before expiry. At times passing quickly; at times slowly; at times lost… Time as an idea also relates to moments we live. The banana thus illustrates a way of measuring time in a random fashion, while the scientific silver background; clinic; of the poster alludes to precise measuring instruments, and thus, chronometry. Our society, based on this same chronometry, imposes productivity whose time measurement grows always faster, even if it leads to destroying a whole ecosystem. By seeping into motions as mundane as eating a banana, chronometry questions our way of living.  After all, is time not what unites us from birth to death?

The commissioners of the 13th edition

Nathalie Bachand is an author and independent commissioner.

She is interested in digital issues and its emergence conditions in contemporary art. Among  her commissioner mandates, she’s worked on the Résau Accès Culture’s UN MILLION D’HORIZONS, a project presenting 32 exhibitions and regrouping over 50 artists in the heart of the Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations in 2017; as well as the interactive piece, Seuils, by the Montreal based artist, Michel de Broin, presented in the Canada Council for the arts Âjagemô space in the winter of 2019. More recently, her exhibition The Dead Web – The end, initially presented at Eastern Bloc in Montreal, has been co-produced by Molior in Europe: at the Mirage Festival in Lyon, at the Mapping Festival in Geneva and at the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, co-commissioned with Béla Tamás Kónya. She is also co-commissioner for the EIM Triennal and project manager for Sporobole, a current art center. 

Dulce Pinzón was born in Mexico in 1974. She studied communications at the Las Americas Puebla University and photography at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She moved to New York in 1995 and studied at the International Center of Photography. She now lives and works in Puebla, Mexico and in New York. 

Her work is influenced by feelings of nostalgia, identity questions and cultural and political frustrations. The ultimate goal behind her artistic activism is cultural consumption, personalization and intervention.  Among her projects you’ll find: Viviendo En El Gabacho, Loteria, Multiracial and Real Stories of Superheroes. Her work has been presented and exposed in Mexico, the United States, Australia, Argentina and in Europe. 

The Art Souterrain Festival will be taking place from February 20th to March 14th, 2021.