Keep Your Eyes Peeled in Quebec City

BY Katrina Kufer / Apr 10 2017 / 19:14 PM

Manif d’art 8 Biennial installs public sculptures across the Canadian city

Keep Your Eyes Peeled in Quebec City
Image courtesy Le Soleil, Pascale Ratthé
Société Réaliste. U.N. Camouflage. 2012.

The self-declared “only winter biennial in North America”, Manif d’art has adopted the theme The Art of Joy under the artistic directorship of Claude Bélanger with curator Alexia Fabre. Over 100 artists and 35 cultural organisations have come together to form a citywide event at 30 sites to explore how “joy is a battle, a shield to protect ourselves from overwhelming events,” explained Fabre in a press statement. “Jubilant, troubling, radiant, amusing, caustic and poetic – all will embody this force, since the essence of art is joy.”

While biennial visitors can see works by established names such as Christian Boltanski or Annette Messager in the more clearly distinguished venues, casual city wanderers may also find themselves unwittingly face-to-face with pop-up installations. This year, over 10 biennial commissioned public art works (twice that of the last edition) decorate the city’s harsh winter landscape, whether on windows, buses or installed on the street itself. 

Here are five not to miss:

Jocelyn Robert (Canada) presents L’il y a (2016-17). Visible in the evenings, this video work is a self-portrait in which other faces from digital image banks slowly accumulate to reference the countless representations present in our real and virtual worlds, and to question the ways in which identity is constructed. Rue des Remparts

Société Réaliste (France) has installed U.N. Camouflage (2012). The French duo reimagines a world without political and cultural borders. Amalgamating the flags of the 193 U.N. Member States, the work creates new emblems for a multi-coloured world community united by diversity. Rue Saint-Vallier Est

Jean Dubois’s (Canada) Tourmente (2015) is a playful interactive installation where the public can transform a series of portraits projected on a giant screen by blowing into a microphone on their mobile phones to question the contortions adopted when faced with the distress of others. L’Eglise St-Roch

Yeondoo Jung (Seoul, Korea) created La Chasse Galerie (2016) from accounts from random interviews on what theChasse-Galerie (“flying canoe”) is. Using this anonymous material to create contemporary photographic versions of it during his 2016 summer residency, the series explores how the imagination alters preconceived notions of history. RTC Bus line 800

Ælab and Guillaume Arseneault (Canada) have produced an immersive projection entitled Irradier (2016-17). The sound-based work delves into critical and poetic notions of wireless communication signals in urban landscapes. Rue Saint-Jean Tutto

Manif d’art runs until 14 May in Quebec City, Canada. For more information visit