Travel Blog

8 Mar

The City is a Gallery at Art Souterrain 2014

Sonia Khenfech and Denis Labelle
It’s March! Cause for celebration for two reasons: it’s the official start of spring, and the entire underground city is turning into a supersized gallery for the annual Art Souterrain festival…

This year’s three-kilometre art trail throughout La Belle Ville’s famous underground city is full of stop-worthy attractions along the theme of Foundations. Some artists have taken that as a starting point to examine issues of belonging, roots and culture; others have taken it much more literally, making allusions to the foundations of a building. Either extreme offers food for thought, so it was hard to pick just five works not to be missed – but we sweated, we debated, and we did!

Whether you’re just browsing on your way to the Eaton Centre for some retail therapy or you’re an art nerd set on seeing every piece with the help of Art Souterrain’s handy dandy app, make sure you stop and gawk at these Top 5 Art Souterrain 2014 art works…

1) Docking, by Sophie Cardin: This monumental cardboard sculpture shaped like a giant anchor is located at Complexe Guy-Favreau, in the heart of Chinatown. After a bowlful of noodles, why not muse on its meaning in relation to immigration, boat people and cultural migrations?
2) 2Fik’s Salon, by 2Fik: Also at Guy-Favreau, 2Fik’s narratively loaded self-portraits represent him in a slew of different roles, from loose aunt to sweet cousin to repressive father. The fun is in trying figure out the dynamics of each scene, which always have in common the intergenerational tensions of contemporary Islamic culture.
Elena Willis
3) Cohesion, by Elena Willis: This series of photographs you’ll find at 1000 de la Gauchetière, right downtown, were taken when the artist was in Bangladesh and show nature gone wild. The lush green landscapes they depict are in fact weed ponds that owe their existence to intense pollution – making it clear that beauty doesn’t always match its roots.
Alexis O'Hara
4) Squeeeeque! The Improbable Igloo, by Alexis O’Hara: Right in the Quartier des Spectacles at Place des Arts, this immersive interactive audio environment gets at the roots of music with an igloo composed of vintage speaker boxes. Each speaker bespeaks the home it came from and the decades of sounds it has shared – get in the igloo and make your own noise!

5) Praise of Prey, by Mathieu Valade: The innate contrasts of this arresting sculpture mirror make it even more striking: despite the deer’s noble appearance, the video reflected in its surfaces illustrate the animal’s place as prey. This work located at the Centre Mondial de Commerce de Montréal considers the foundational hierarchy of species.



Art Souterrain, Until March 16, 2014

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