Tanya Mars. CRONE, FADO Performance Art Centre, 2017. Photo by Henry Chan.
USA / Canada
Tanya Mars is a feminist performance 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, and internationally: Svalbard, Chile, Mexico City, Sweden, Denmark, France, China, Finland and the US.
She is co-editor with Johanna Householder of Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women (2004), and More Caught in the Act (2016), both published by YYZ books and partners. She was a member of the 7a*11d (1998-2022) 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. She is the recipient of a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and was an International Artist in Residence at La Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008. 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 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, satirical and humorous. She has worked both independently and collaboratively to create both large-scale as well as intimate performances. Recent work reflects on our complicity in the world of excess and consumption in the face of economic collapse, as well as the impact of aging on the female body.
She recently retired from teaching at the University of Toronto Scarborough after 25 years and currently lives off-grid in Middle Ohio, N.S. She has one daughter and 3 grandsons. She is looking forward to whatever comes next, post-retirement, post-covid-19.
One (Sommes Personnes)
Video portraits by Adriana Disman, Alice de Visscher, Amélie Laurence Fortin, Caroline Gagné, Georges Azzaria, Jocelyn Robert, Liina Kuittinen, Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Olga Prokhorova, Ronnie Clark, Tanya Mars.
Part of the 4th edition of a 12-year, 12-hour annual online streaming project by Christof Migone.
A Score of Scores
In this series, 10 artists perform the interpretation of a performance score, written for them by an artist of their own choosing.
10 artists. 10 score writers.
A score is an old term for 20.
A score of scores.
GOOD BUY! by Tanya Mars
Toronto’s hottest performance art pop-up shop is GOOD BUY! Get a piece of Mars!
Tyranny of Bliss by Tanya Mars
Inspired by a variety of sources ranging from the 14th Century frescoes of Ambrogio Lorenzetti on the Effects of Good and Bad Government to Fellini’s Satyricon, Tanya Mars constructs a modern day social satire with a cast of 30 performers.
Francesco Gagliardi on Tanya Mars’ GOOD BUY!
Like in every fairy tale awakening, it is always the sleeping princess, really, who awakens the prince. So listen to the murmur of the feathers, feel the golden fabric, let those turquoise slippers entice you: they might bring you places you didn’t even know existed.
Wake up, make sure you have the exact change, and GOOD BUY!