Initiated by Patrick Lacasse and Alexis Bellavance, VIVA! Art Action was established in 2006 by six artist-run centres in the region of Montreal as a collaborative platform on which to foster and support action art in its most singular, difficult and surprising forms. After four successful editions, the biennial event is recognized both locally and internationally for it’s innovative structure, convivial atmosphere, and professional support of artistic risk-taking.
VIVA! is now the fruit of a partnership with nine artist-run centres and an art research centre. While a large proportion of the shared programming takes place in VIVA!’s pop-up headquarters – newly located at Les Ateliers Jean-Brillant – other projects take place off-site, in the galleries of participating artist-run centres as well as in surrounding public and private spaces. Uniquely accessible, VIVA! offers the public an important opportunity to discover, discuss, and celebrate the exceptional work of local and international artists working with action art, the liveliest of the visual arts disciplines.
About action art
Located at the intersection of multiple histories, contemporary action art is a discipline that includes – but is not limited to – performance, public intervention, relational projects, body art, happenings and furtive action. This rather “undisciplined” art form can be characterized by the essential – though sometimes mediated and not always visible – presence of the artist in a typically ephemeral artwork that unfolds in the “here and now.” Be it orchestrated or improvised, subtle or direct, action art is a thriving and sometimes provocative and uncomfortable aspect of contemporary visual arts culture that encourages us to reflect on our bodies, behaviour, culture, and contemporary societies.