Event Art Souterrain Festival 2019


The Art Souterrain Festival is a large exhibition of contemporary art occupying more than 6 km of Montreal’s underground city along with 8 satellite sites.

For this 11th edition, Frédéric Loury, Executive Director of Art Souterrain, has invited curators Maude Arsenault, Martin Le Chevallier and Joyce Yahouda to consider the theme True or False.

Over a three-week period, exhibitions by local and international artists and mediation activities will be yours to discover along an underground route and a satellite route. Free and open to all, the festival is a major Montreal winter event that brightens the daily lives of many thousands of residents and visitors alike.

Current and upcoming activities

Past Activities

The breathing sequencer

Snapshot (2007 – Special guest : Herby Moreau




Recreating a moment in 2008, when I encountered a monument constructed near Podgarić (Croatia)

Performance : Oli Sorenson – Fontana Mashup

Montr’Immo – The auction

Open House – Studios Éphémères

Gallery opening École secondaire Dorval-Jean-XXIII

Midi Express – Palais des congrès de Montréal

Visite FOCUS – Joyce Yahouda

Midi Express – Complexe Guy-Favreau

Parc at midnight – Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam) and La jetée (Chris Marker)

Mediation – Le 1000 De La Gauchetière

Guided tour : Subjective truths (in english)

Parc at midnight – Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam) and La jetée (Chris Marker)

Exhibitions – Underground path

Exhibitions – Satellite path

Mediation – Le 1000 De La Gauchetière

Guided tour : Vérité subjective (in french)

Parc at midnight – Twelve Monkeys (Terry Gilliam) and La jetée (Chris Marker)


True or False

As our society and behaviours become digitized, access to information has never been easier to obtain, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern true from false. The multiplication of digital media, democratization of journalism, development of new media digital tools for modifying reality… The hegemony of the Internet pushes us to endlessly question things which at first glance appear to be real or true. Social networks encourage their users to forge individual mythologies, to cultivate images of themselves that are as close as possible to perfection, thereby provoking envy and jealousy.

At a time when we are afforded the opportunity to discern what is real and what is fake, the lines between fiction and reality are blurred. Rather than oppose the trend, artists actively engage in this game with reality. Is art not, essentially, an illusion of the real? It is represented differently by each and every one of us, through denying or questioning it. Do artists have to tell the “truth”? “Truth” is both universal and subjective. It comes from what is natural, what we all recognize as authentic, and what we personally feel and perceive. “False” refers to anything that transgresses what is real. This transgression can occur in various ways, including for artistic reasons, by moving art away from faithful representations of reality; through policies, via the use of propaganda; via humour, by trumping what’s real to surprise the viewer; through revelations, by lying to reveal the truth; or even for commercial reasons, involving manipulating others for financial gain.


Maude Arsenault - Commissaire invitée Festival Art Souterrain 2019

Maude Arsenault

Invited curator

The theme of Art Souterrain’s 2019 edition, Le vrai du faux or True or False, touches me deeply because it leads me, as a curator, to address a major concern of today’s social reality: its relationships to representation and to authenticity.

As a woman, mother and artist, I am in perpetual search of sincerity in my relationships and in my work; that’s why I wanted to deal with this theme from a humanist angle.

My selection of photographic works aims both to echo and to question the reality of the Web and social networks that over the past ten years have continually presented us with counterfeit, orchestrated and artificial images of daily, intimate and family life, the body, beauty, success and happiness. Most of the time these images are idealized moments, and they are often constructed from scratch.

This trend of putting ourselves on show daily incites us to constantly compare ourselves to models or to information that doesn’t represent reality, but instead just one facet of it, in most cases the one where everything is almost perfect…

We must, of course, take into account the idea that any view implies a given point of view and therefore is never objective. My photographic selection is a conversation between the way in which we represent ourselves and how artists in various ways document, interpret, create from scratch or comment on these staged scenes of daily life, a stereotypical body, our life choices, our dependence on images and our need to continuously expose our intimacy.

Maude Arsenault is a photographer, artist and curator. She began a first career in fashion before deciding in 2013 to pursue a more personal path and founding the art collective ThePrintAtelier.com

As an artist, Maude is interested in the concept of identity and in the place of women in our society, which has been noticeably shaken in recent years in the face of a whole new representation of gender, the public denunciation of abusive relationships between men and women, and digital social communities that continually present new ideas, often created from scratch.

Maude’s approach interrogates the viewer’s perception and reveals how it is inevitably shaped and altered by our social, political and moral values.

Maude Arsenault lives in Montreal and has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Art History.


Frédéric Loury

Senior curator

Access to information has never been easier.Sources and tools have multiplied since the last decade. However, the density of editorial content is rarified as time goes on and the presence of journalism has become limited in it’s expressive capabilities. citizens are becoming actors and occupying more place in unconventional medias. Specialized information chains prioritize audience ratings over fastidious reports and researches. The appealing content and summaries of those new platforms are pushing us to question the veracity of their sources. It has become complex to distinguish the true from the false.

Three invited commissaries, Maude Arsenault, Martin Le Chevalier, Joyce Yahouda are bringing to light the workings of disinformation, the facets of imposture, the complex existence of beliefs inside our hyper-mediated society.

Graduate of the IDRAC in Paris and holder of a master’s degree in Commerce and Administration, Frédéric Loury has owned the SAS Gallery and consultant for 15 years.

Joyce Yahouda - Commissaire Festival Art Souterrain 2019

Joyce Yahouda

Inveted curator

Bombarded with much contradictory and manipulative information, we’re living in the era of the famous Fake News that comes with mediatization, political globalization and the many new media.

Through their humorous and enjoyable works, the artists explore, probe and denounce the many clichés, absurdities and social violences found within our reality: Perry Bard (deceit), Edward Hillel (power), Céline B. La Terreur (myth), Vincent Lafrance (mass culture), and Alexander Pilis (illusion).

I appeal to visitors to participate, in their individuality, by inviting them to an active experience: to physically enter and touch the pieces in the interactive works presented by Edward Hillel and Alexander Pilis.

By presenting videos, installations and performances, my hope is to encourage people to take time to stop, reflect and play.

As director/curator of Joyce Yahouda Gallery, and for over three decades, Joyce Yahouda has promoted emerging and established contemporary artists, endorsing various mediums. She has organized several exhibitions in London, Paris, Lyon, Geneva, Ischia, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Miami, the Gaspé and Montreal.

She advocates for a style of art that is demanding, one that challenges the viewer into a modality of reflection. Through various events including conferences and round tables, Joyce Yahouda incites dialogue amongst artists, curators, collectors, art critics and art lovers.

Joyce Yahouda was nominated for the “Gallery Owner of the Year” award at the Visual Arts Gala, organized by the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC), and was awarded the prize in 2012.

Martin Le Chevallier

Invited curator

The question of forgery fascinates me both as an artist and a curator. Any illusion is a representation and any illusionist is a painter…

I am delighted to take part in Festival Art Souterrain, because bringing works into public spaces is one of the best ways for us to question the world that surrounds us. Moving from fiction into reality leads us, for example, to ask ourselves what is the likelihood of this reality. These green plants arranged in the corridors, these ads that await our passage, this underground city… What artificial world do they bring us?

I have brought together works that open our eyes as they mystify us. A Métro map flipped north-south seems unreal, yet remains perfectly exact. An artist having an image of his avatar as a photo on his ID card is thus officially represented by his digital double. Objects belonging to our daily decor are duplicated by a facetious artist, who reveals their poetry and strangeness through this exercise of twinning. So many works spread along an enjoyable path. Some are immediately obvious, while others must be discovered like eggs in a garden on Easter day; still others falsify reality, at once visible and untraceable, like Edgar Allan Poe’s hidden letter.

I wanted an exhibition that aims as much at amateurs of art as the curious passersby, at users who we suddenly distract through gentle disturbances, thus inviting them to encounter the works and – let us hope – to enjoy their unexpected forms.

Martin Le Chevallier is an artist, filmmaker and occasional curator of exhibitions. Born in 1968, he lives and works in France. Since the late 1990’s, he has developed a body of work around films, immersive pieces and contextual initiatives. His intentionally political works portray our era with distance and humour. They have been regularly presented at collective and individual exhibitions, in France and abroad. He is particularly interested in bringing art into public spaces.

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Art Souterrain
460 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, suite 838

Tio’tia:ke (Montréal), QC, H3B 1A7

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A permanent team works on the festival and the various projects every year and we offer internships and volunteering on different missions to help us in our mandate.



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