Galerie de l’UQAM launches a new virtual exhibition and publication: Françoise Sullivan. Une ligne imaginaire / An Imaginary Line


Kicking off the celebrations for the hundredth anniversary of one of the outstanding figures in the art history of Québec and Canada.

Françoise Sullivan, Promenade à Greve in Chianti avec mes quatre garçons, 1975
Digital transfer produced in 2020 from an 8 mm film, colour, no sound, 5min 20s
Collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec 

Artist: Françoise Sullivan

Curator: Louise Déry

A double launch at Galerie de l’UQAM with the artist and the curator

Thursday, May 11, 2023, 5 p.m.

Montréal, May 1st, 2023 – Galerie de l’UQAM invites the public to the double launch on May 11 of the virtual exhibition and publication Françoise Sullivan. Une ligne imaginaire / An Imaginary Line. These two projects, curated by the Galerie’s Director Louise Déry, include several previously unseen works by Françoise Sullivan, retracing the Québec artist’s pioneering experiments of the 1970s.

Françoise Sullivan, Danse à Cybèle, 1976/2020
Digital transfer produced in 2020 from a Super 8 film, colour, no sound, 2min 5s
Collection d’œuvres d’art de l’Université du Québec à Montréal
Françoise Sullivan, Danse à Cybèle, 1976/2020
Digital transfer produced in 2020 from a Super 8 film, colour, no sound, 2min 5s
Collection d’œuvres d’art de l’Université du Québec à Montréal

Accessible in both French and English, the virtual exhibition and the publication take up the content of the Françoise Sullivan. The 1970s exhibition presented at Galerie de l’UQAM in the spring of 2021. These two projects conclude an extensive project of research and production attesting to the fruitful links between the artist and UQAM, which awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2000, and with Louise Déry, who has exhibited her work on numerous occasions in addition to dedicating several publications to her. Unveiled as a prelude to Françoise Sullivan’s 100th birthday, they constitute an offering both to this extraordinary artist, who has remained a relevant part of a present nourished by, sharing and complicit in her art, and to the artistic community that is deeply attached to her.

Exhibition view, Françoise Sullivan. The 1970s, 2021, Galerie de l’UQAM. Photo: Paul Litherland

Sharing Françoise Sullivan’ Work in the Digital and International Sphere

The two Françoise Sullivan. Une ligne imaginaire / An Imaginary Line projects are intended to widely share an unknown corpus of the Québec artist. Galerie de l’UQAM has also fostered her discovery under the international partnership AWARE X CANADA chaired by Louise Déry. According to the curator, these initiatives aim to reach the general public: “It is a question of reaching out to society as a whole, to every generation, so that they can further their discovery of the enormous significance of this artist in our history.” By sharing her works, archives and testimonies, the virtual exhibition and the publication contribute to confirming Sullivan’s place among the greatest women artists of her time.

Exhibition view, Françoise Sullivan. The 1970s, 2021, Galerie de l’UQAM. Photo: Paul Litherland

The Virtual Exhibition

Françoise Sullivan’s long career is structured around a progression of stages that offer essential landmarks in navigating through her oeuvre: the early years, characterized by painting, dance and association with the Automatistes and signing the Refus global in the late 1940s; the development of choreography and the realization of various dance projects; the practice of sculpture, beginning in 1960; photography and film during the following decade; painting inspired by mythology, and then in the 1990s, abstract painting featuring the vibrant expressionism of colour.

This virtual exhibition focuses on the works executed by Françoise Sullivan during the 1970s, when she had discovered new art trends like conceptual art and arte povera. An “imaginary line” – to use the artist’s words – is drawn through her work in photography, film, text and performance.

Navigation and Educational Tools in the Virtual Exhibition

Covering the years from 1970 to 1980, the virtual exhibition can be navigated either chronologically or thematically.

Screenshot, virtual exhibition view, Françoise Sullivan. An Imaginary Line, 2023

In other words, the works can be explored by following a timeline or through five themes developed by the exhibition curator :

  • The relationship to the present and to protest movements that challenge society
  • The connection between art, life and concepts involving family
  • The relationship to the body, gesture and performative exploration
  • The relationship to historical time and an interest in archeology and mythology
  • Communication networks, freedom of expression and censorship

The Publication

Françoise Sullivan. Une ligne imaginaire / An Imaginary Line prend le relais du catalogue d’exposition Françoise Sullivan. Trajectoires resplendissantes / Radiant Trajectories (Galerie de l’UQAM, 2017) pour fédérer les connaissances récemment mises à jour et les contextualiser dans le sens d’une interaction plus définie entre le développement de la pensée de l’artiste et son corpus des années 1970. Tel un récit qui s’incarne dans les lieux où a vécu Sullivan, en particulier l’Italie, l’ouvrage s’intéresse particulièrement à son travail lié à l’art conceptuel et ancré dans la photographie, le film et les actions performatives.

Cover of the catalogue Françoise Sullivan. Une ligne imaginaire / An Imaginary Line, 2023, Galerie de l’UQAM

Texts: Louise Déry, afterword by Gianfranco Sanguinetti

On sale at Galerie de l’UQAM and distributed in bookstores by Diffusion Dimedia

Price: $45

Throughout, it abundantly quotes the artist and highlights often new information provided by her and her archive. It depicts the works – many of them unknown until recently – in their exhibition context, and a “portfolio” section describes and illustrates more specifically thirty or so examples from the decade between 1970 and 1980. The last part of the book serves as a kind of scrapbook of photos, notes and documents that in turn further our understanding of this pivotal period in Sullivan’s career, focusing on her closely intertwined roles as a woman, mother, artist and citizen. The book closes with a tribute text by Gianfranco Sanguinetti, a renowned Italian author and close collaborator of the founder of the Situationist International, Guy Debord, both of whom Sullivan met in Tuscany in 1972.

About the Artist

Video still from Visite commentée de l’exposition Françoise Sullivan. The 1970s, Galerie de l’UQAM, 2021

Françoise Sullivan is one of the outstanding figures in the art history of Québec and Canada. Active within the Automatistes group and signatory to the Refus global manifesto in 1948, she distinguished herself as a dancer, choreographer and visual artist. Her choreography, sculptures, paintings and conceptual works extend across a long career that has included numerous individual and collective exhibitions in Canada, Europe and the United States.

She has been recognized with numerous honours, including the Paul-Émile Borduas Prize, the Governor General’s Award, and the Order of Canada as well as honorary doctorates from York University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is represented by Galerie Simon Blais in Montréal.

About the Curator

Photo : Isadora Chicoine-Marinier

Louise Déry (PhD Art History) is director of Galerie de l’UQAM, having previously served as curator at the MNBAQ and the MMFA, as well as director of the Musée régional de Rimouski. She has curated close to a hundred exhibitions in Canada and abroad dedicated to Giuseppe Penone, Rober Racine, Nancy Spero, Dominique Blain, Françoise Sullivan, Michael Snow and Emmanuelle Léonard, to name just a few.

Canadian Curator at the 52nd Venice Biennale with the David Altmejd exhibition, she won the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de France and a Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec.


This virtual exhibition was produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Exploration and digital deployment program of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. 

Location and hours

Galerie de l’UQAM
Judith-Jasmin Pavilion, Room J-R120
1400 Berri, corner of Sainte-Catherine East, Montréal
Berri-UQAM metro

Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.
Free entrance


Phone: 514 987-6150 / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

– 30 –

Source :

Olivier Lapierre
Media relations consultant
514 583-3868