Events > Book Launch

10 May 2008

Book launch for Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars

Tanya Mars
Paul Couillard
FADO Performance Art Centre
1 pm - 3 pm

Art Metropole is pleased to announce the launch of Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars, a new book about Canadian performance art legend and Art Metropole lifetime member, Tanya Mars. Mars recently received The Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts. Please join us on Saturday May 10, 2008, from 1-3 p.m., to celebrate the publication’s release and to meet the artist.

Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars is a comprehensive look at the artist’s career, from the 1970s to the present. The book features extensive photo documentation and includes a DVD documenting her site-specific work, Tyranny of Bliss (2004). Paul Couillard, the former director of FADO and editor of the book, sums up the importance of the artist’s work with the following: “Mars has relentlessly shown us that the best way to the jugular is through the funny bone, creating a series of compelling ‘three-dimensional pictures’ that have made her one of Canada’s most acclaimed and important performance artists.”

Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars includes contributions by Couillard, Tagny Duff, Sameer Farooq, Jennifier Fisher, Randy Gledhill, Nelson Henricks, Will Kwan, Paul Ledoux, Joanna Nash, Jennifer Oille, Andrew James Paterson, John Oughton & Pam Patterson, Kim Sawchuck, Dot Tuer.

Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars, FADO, Toronto, 2008.
Edited by Paul Couillard, softcover, 253 pp plus 32 pp colour insert.

Tanya Mars is a feminist performance and video artist who has been involved in the Canadian art scene since 1973. She was a founding member and director of Powerhouse Gallery (La Centrale) in Montreal (the first women’s art gallery in Canada), editor of Parallelogramme magazine for 13 years, and very active in ANNPAC (the Association of National Non-Profit Artist-run Centres) for 15 years. She has also been an active member of other arts organizations since the early 70’s. Her work is often characterized as visually rich layers of spectacular, satirical feminist imagery. She has performed widely across Canada, in Valparaiso, Chile, Mexico City, Sweden, France and Helsinki. Her most recent major work, a 7-hour durational performance entitled “The Tyranny of Bliss” involved over 30 performers who created 14 tableaux in and around Queen’s Park in Toronto. She is co-editor with Johanna Householder of OCAD of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women (2004) published by YYZ books. She is also a member of the 7a*11d Collective that produces a bi-annual International Festival of Performance Art in Toronto. She currently teaches performance art and video at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is part of the graduate faculty of the Master of Visual Studies Program at the University of Toronto. In 2004 Mars was named artist of the year for the Untitled Arts Awards in Toronto. She is the recipient of a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and is currently an International Artist in Residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. In addition a book on her work published by FADO and edited by Paul Couillard, Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars, was launched in May of 2008.

In the 70s and 80s Mars’ work focused on creating spectacular feminist imagery that placed women at the centre of the narrative. Since the mid-90s her performances have included endurance, durational and site-specific strategies. Her work is political, satrical and humorous. She has worked both independently and collaboratively to create both large-scale as well as intimate performances.

Her most recent works In Dulci Jubilo (Malmo, Sweden) and, 6 Images in Search of An Artist (after Pirandello), are a reflection on our complicity in the world of excess and consumption in the face of economic collapse.

Paul Couillard (born 1961) is a Canadian performance artist and new media artist, writer and curator.

Couillard was born August 1, 1961 in Chatham, New Brunswick. In the 1980s, he worked as a civil servant in Ottawa before seeing a performance of Gaia, Mon Amour by Los Angeles-based artist Rachel Rosenthal, which inspired him to quit his government job and begin making art. He worked as an organizer and creator in the Canadian artist-run centre network, producing many text-based and theatrical performances before moving to Toronto in 1989.

A performance tour in Japan in 1991 influenced him to abandon spoken narrative in favour of experiential and action-based works. In 1993 he and four other Toronto artists formed the Fado collective, which eventually became the artist-run centre Fado Performance Inc., incorporated in 2001. Couillard was the Performance Art Curator of Fado from its inception until 2007, producing a number of notable international performance art series based on various formal thematics, including Time Time Time (1999), Public Spaces/Private Places (2000–2003) and IDea (2005–2008). He is also a founding member of the 7a*11d collective, which presents a biannual international performance art festival.

In 1995, Couillard began creating durational performance works, often lasting 24 hours or longer. His works are usually site-responsive and relational, exploring various questions related to time, space, body limitation and the relationship between performer and audience. In addition to his solo art practice, he frequently works in collaboration with other artists, most notably his partner Ed Johnson. Together they have created more than 100 works in their ongoing Duorama series, which began in 2000.

Couillard has also written various texts on performance art, and is the editor of Canadian Performance Art Legends, a series of book/DVD publications on senior Canadian performance artists

FADO Performance Inc. (Performance Art Centre) is a non-profit artist-run centre for performance art based in Toronto, Canada.

FADO was established in 1993 to provide a stable, ongoing, supportive forum for creating and presenting performance art. Currently, we are the only artist-run centre in English Canada devoted specifically to this form. We recognize that performance art as a practice has multiple histories and encompasses various regional, cultural, political and aesthetic differences. FADO defines performance in relation to the root elements of the medium — time, space, the performer’s body and the relationship between performer and audience. We are most interested in works that are innovative in their use of one or more of these elements, including those that are multi-disciplinary. We focus on artists who have chosen performance art as a primary medium to create and communicate provocative new images and new perspectives.

We showcase the work of Canadian and international performance artists, presenting high-quality events featuring artists at all stages of their careers from varied backgrounds within carefully considered curatorial contexts. We further general knowledge and critical perspectives toward performance art by creating opportunities for local artists and audiences to view works by artists from other regions and countries. We also sponsor residencies, workshops, artist talks, symposia, publications, exchanges or other projects that enhance understanding, encourage dialogue, provide new skills and experience, and expand performance opportunities for Canadian performance artists. We offer audiences new approaches to observing and participating in performance art events, often animating and contextualizing events through publications, talks etc. We have also prioritized developing relationships with other venues, organizations and communities.

Our projects are often national or international in scope. We are interested in networking, information sharing, and helping to develop a strong national network of performance art presenters.

FADO does not operate a presentation venue because this would limit the kinds of projects it could produce. Presentation space is secured on a project-by-project basis, depending on the needs of the individual project.