Manif d’art 8 – Quebec City Biennial, a three-month cultural extravaganza : A success on every level

Quebec City, May 25, 2017 – Produced in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), Manif d’art 8 – Quebec City Biennial came to a close last May 14 after three months of cultural effervescence in Quebec City! This was the biennial’s first winter edition, having been formerly scheduled in the spring. It received an unprecedented reception, drawing nearly 41,000 visitors, including 28,000 to the central exhibition at MNBAQ—and this doesn’t include the tens of thousands of people who viewed the Simons window displays and public artworks! The public attendance and participation clearly reflect the vibrancy of the city’s artistic and cultural community. Manif d’art 8 was everywhere, bringing art to the heart of the Quebec capital this winter!

“I am very proud of this 8th edition. It was a success on every level, warmly received by both the public and artistic community. The success of a biennial depends on the involvement of the community and its ability to rally round a unifying event. I am happy to say that this is exactly what happened with this edition.” – Claude Bélanger, Founding Director of Manif d’art

Manif d’art 8 – Quebec City Biennial brought together an impressive group of some 100 works and artists from around the world, presented in the city’s six boroughs in collaboration with over 50 Quebec organizations. Appreciated by both the general public and the artistic milieu in Quebec and Canada, Manif d’art 8 – Quebec City Biennial also made an impression worldwide, receiving media coverage in such cities as Berlin, Paris, London, Barcelona and New York. The event captured the attention of journalists, columnists, hosts, bloggers and industry leaders, resulting in a press kit of over 165 articles! A nice addition this year was La P’tite Manif, a program designed specially for children held at MNBAQ, Méduse and Bibliothèque Gabrielle-Roy. The numerous outreach activities and range of satellite events led to a record turnout at school and family activities. And once again, the media didn’t hesitate to share the good news, providing extensive coverage that undoubtedly gave families new ideas for outings! The number of public artworks, despite the winter conditions, also created quite a buzz!

Alexia Fabre, the International Curator of Manif d’art 8, is no stranger to this kind of visibility. The Chief Curator of the Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne (MAC VAL) in France, Alexia is used to spotlighting talented artists from around the world. “It was my great pleasure to be invited to curate the 8th edition of Manif d’art, for which I have always had the greatest affection and respect—and even more today. To make art happen, to bring artists from around the world to Quebec City, its neighbourhoods, artist centres and MNBAQ, to invite them to create—this is a hugely ambitious undertaking, based on a total confidence in the power of art. I hope with all my heart that the public experienced this same feeling of Joy.”

“A biennial of international scope and accessible: this was the distinguishing feature of this edition, which had an impact in Quebec, Canada and abroad,” added Line Ouellet, Director and Chief Curator of MNBAQ. “It represents a first step in the event’s development, which we intend to pursue in collaboration with the visual arts community, Manif d’art and the numerous partners who believe in this ambitious project.”

Although the event ended a few days ago, the team of Manif d’art 8 continues to work on several related international projects, thereby raising the profile of Quebec City worldwide! Some important announcements will be made over the next few weeks.

Manif d’art 9 – Quebec City Biennial: an event to mark on your calendar
The next edition will take place in the winter of 2019, and the Manif d’art team is proud to announce that it will once again team up with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. The curator and theme will be announced within the next few weeks.

Manif d’art 8 in numbers:

  • close to 41,000 visitors
  • 86 days of exhibitions
  • 56 works, including 34 shown for the first time, and 73 artists
  • 50 partner organizations
  • 27 satellite activities featuring over 50 artists (exhibitions, dance, screenings, conferences, performances)
  • over 165 articles published

Praise for Manif d’art 8:

“Manif d’art 8 is taking the city by storm—a euphoric, melancholic and magical storm.” – Josiane Desloges, Le Soleil

“The visit was marvellous, galvanizing, but at times also full of melancholy and serious reflections on the world around us.”

– Josiane Desloges, Le Soleil

“From this creative and life-affirming frenzy certain common features emerged, including unlimited freedom of expression. In the wealth of objects, the diversity of colours, the fortuity of actions. Artistic joy is an indispensable outlet.” – Jérôme Delgado, Le Devoir

“By making the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec the central exhibition site of its 8th edition, Manif d’art has undoubtedly enhanced its prestige.” – Jérôme Delgado, Le Devoir

“The Quebec City Biennial will or will not be significant. But by introducing some of the living legends of contemporary art to newcomers, guest curator Alexia Fabre is instilling a breath of fresh air into the old capital.” – Catherine Genest, Voir

“No neighbourhood, or almost none, will be spared, not even the city’s normally beige bedroom communities. Art is invading the city in its furthest-flung corners, from the display windows of Simons in Lebourgneuf to the Méduse complex straddling upper and lower Quebec City. Explosions of colour and an infusion of beauty! Everyone will be infected.”

– Catherine Genest, Voir

“And this is the whole point of the Biennial: allowing the public to discover the artists who make up Quebec’s current art scene […] All are on display at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and outdoors throughout Quebec City. In the sky above its roofs, in its alleyways, everywhere there is joy: the joy of making exhilarating discoveries.” – Fabien Simode, L’OEIL

“A huge public success and a fabulous time for one and all.” – Paul Ardenne, Artpress

“Quebec City continues to be a strong centre for contemporary arts that are multidisciplinary, conceptual and socially engaging.” – Kim Pemberton, Vancouver Sun


Invaluable partners

Manif d’art would like to thank its many partners who helped to make this biennial a success: subsidizers, co-presenters, special collaborators, satellite organizations, as well as the event’s official presenter, La Maison Simons.

About Manif d’art 8 – The Quebec City Biennial

One of Canada’s major contemporary art biennials, Manif d’art 8–Quebec City Biennial presented, from February 17 to May 14, 2017, the works of over 100 artists from all disciplines. In addition to its exhibitions, the event offered a constellation of activities based on the theme of The Art of Joy, as defined by curator Alexia Fabre. A total of 35 cultural organizations helped to make this international festival an unmissable event for novices and specialists alike. Manif d’art 8–Quebec City Biennial was produced in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
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