Tanya MARS, Canada
Born in 1948, lives and works in Toronto
Tanya Mars is currently teaching performance art and video at the University of Toronto Scarborough and is part of the graduate faculty at the University of Toronto.
Mars is a dedicated 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.
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.
She has performed widely across Canada, in Valparaiso, Chile, Mexico City, at Lilith Theatre in Malmö and at Live Action in Gothenburg, Sweden, in Helsinki and at Open festival in Beijing, at Infr’Action Paris, and Infr’Action Sète, France.
She is co-editor with Johanna Householder at Ontario College of Art & Design 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.
In 2004 Mars was named artist of the year for the Untitled Arts Awards in Toronto. In 2008 she was International Artist in Residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and futhermore the recipient of the prestigious 2008 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. In addition a book on her work was published by FADOand edited by Paul Couillard, Ironic to Iconic: The Performance Works of Tanya Mars.
Tanya Mars’ participation at Guangzhou Live is generously supported by Canada’s Council for the Arts and the consulate general of Canada in Guangzhou.
Rare Parity is a durational, task-oriented performance that uses foreign currency as its primary material. Over the course of several hours the money is washed, dried, repainted and reconfigured. It can be presentational or have a relational component, or possibly a combination of the two, depending on the performance situation.
The work takes a look at our (willing/unwilling) complicity in the economic fabric of our communities and our inextricable links to each other. Recent global economic uncertainty demonstrates how vulnerable we are to the policies and decisions of others and how fragile economies affect our lives.