Canadian Cultural Centre Paris

Centre Culturel Canadien | 5 rue de Constantine
F-75007 Paris

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press release

Curator: Catherine Bédard

In 2015 Angela Grauerholz received the prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award, the most important prize attributed every year to a Canadian photographer from a very select list of renowned Canadian artists. In the wake of that award came out a major book on the complete work of Angela Grauerholz produced by German publisher Steidl in 2016.

On this occasion, which marks a turning point in Angela Grauerholz’s international career, the Canadian Cultural Centre presents an ensemble of photographic projects in which individual and collective memory become entangled in magnificent although somewhat disturbing images. Écrins Écrans presents 40 or so works shown here as spare, frameless prints, impressions without a framework. The exhibition focuses on the body of colour photographs taken beginning in 2001, the year of the production of a major project, Privation, which documented the charred archives of the artist’s library and symbolically marked her complete transition to digital technology.

Earlier works by Grauerholz were images resisting optical precision and referential clarity, in black and white or brown monochrome, pointing back although not identifying to the past with a sort of numbed awareness. In contrast, her new work redefines places of remembrance, longing and intimacy with a sort of now distant eye, as if the photographer had lost some privileged, sensitive, or even tactile relationship to the object of her gaze. Here, the relations between architecture and decoration, places of passage or waiting, and devices to conceal or reveal, invite us to take a look while at the same time forbidding us all access. In each of these images, something emerges from the past, from a personal story and from the collective memory. But what is striking in those protected spaces is that although you can write, imagine or project anything on their surfaces—walls, screens, floors—they keep us firmly on their doorstep. And the closeness is all the more uncomfortable that it is marked by a prohibition to see and step (into).

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1952, Angela Grauerholz has lived and worked in Montreal since 1976. A graduate of the Kunstschule Alsterdamm, Hamburg, in graphic design, she also studied literature and linguistics at the University of Hamburg and holds a Master’s degree in Fine Arts (photography) from Concordia University, Montreal. Since 1988, she has been teaching at the École de design, Université du Québec à Montréal, where she was the director of the Centre de Design from 2008 to 2012. She has received numerous awards, such as the Award of Excellence (Best of Best) from the American Federation of Arts, New York, for the book Lisette Model, published by the National Gallery of Canada in 1990. Grauerholz has also worked as a graphic designer for many distinguished artists and art institutions across Canada.

The exhibition has been organized in partnership with the Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris. With the support of the Scotiabank Photography Award and Steidl.