Underground Art in an Underground City: Art Souterrain
Art Souterrain's 2018 Edition: 70 Projects Go Underground
Founded in 2009, Art Souterrain --that's French for underground art-- is an organization bent on democratizing and popularizing contemporary art.
It's also the name of its annual event, which first debuted February 28, 2009 during Montreal's Nuit Blanche, showcasing the work of 80 contemporary artists along an over a 2.8 kilometre (1.74 miles) stretch of Montreal's underground city.
By its third edition, Art Souterrain proposed 108 contemporary and performance art projects covering 6 kilometres (3.73 miles) of the underground city.
Click through the above slideshow for a retrospective of previous editions.
For its tenth edition, Art Souterrain runs March 3 to March 25, 2018, its 2018 debut coinciding yet again with Nuit Blanche. Featuring 70 art projects by artists and art collectives, works by both emerging and established artists span six kilometres (3.7 miles) of the underground city and its connected buildings including Palais des congrès, Place Bonaventure, Place des Arts, and Complexe Desjardins as well as in seven satellite venues.
Here's a rough map of the route.
Interested parties simply need show up anytime during those dates and walk throughout Montreal's underground city for a peek, though one of the more interesting times to visit is on opening night when, in honor of Nuit Blanche, volunteers line the underground route to offer curation insight into most featured pieces, answering questions and stimulating discussion with onlookers. The atmosphere is especially bustling and festive. Under those circumstances, whether on Nuit Blanche or at any time as a self-guided walking tour, it's free admission. Note that audioguides are available on Art Souterrain's website.
Otherwise, tickets to guided visits on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays are available online. Admission for those tours and commented visits range from $5 to $10.
Other activities, including panel talks and a closing night party, are on the agenda.
Art Souterrain: The Impossible Speech Act
Entitled "The Impossible Speech Act," Toronto artist Erika DeFreitas' project was displayed inside Palais des congrès at the 2016 edition on Art Souterrain.
Art Souterrain: The Invisible Sphere
California-born and Brooklyn-based artist Jonathan Schipper featured "The Invisible Sphere" and its cameras displaying their immediate surroundings on adjacent monitors inside Palais des congrès at the 2016 edition of Art Souterrain.
Art Souterrain: Security in Our Society
Springfield, Massachusetts artist Leonardo Selvaggio presented a performance art piece dubbed "Security in Our Society, What Happens in Our FreeSpaces" at the 2015 edition of Art Souterrain.
Art Souterrain: Éloge de la Proie
Quebec artist Mathieu Valade presents "Eloge de la Proie" (Eulogy of the Prey) at the 2014 edition of Art Souterrain.
Underground Art in an Underground City: Art Souterrain Map
This map of Montreal's underground city more or less maps out Art Souterrain's annual itinerary.