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Archi-féministes! : The Virtual Exhibition

Archi-féministes! : Archiver le corps

Archi-féministes! : Performer l’archives

Olivia Boudreau

Sorel Cohen

Raphaëlle de Groot

Suzy Lake

Claire Savoie

Jana Sterbak

Sophie Bélair Clément

Vera Frenkel

Clara Gutsche

Emmanuelle Léonard

Jana Sterbak
Born in Prague in 1955, lives and works in Montreal

Cones on fingers, 1995 (1979)

Jana Sterbak
Jana Sterbak, Cones on Fingers, 1995 (1979)
Silver print
51 x 36 cm (print)
Collection of the
Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery
Concordia University
Gift of the artist, 1995

First shown at OPTICA in the solo exhibition “Travaux Récents” (1980), the seemingly playful Cones on Fingers harbours a potentiality for subversive and somewhat Dadaesque performance. Considered on its own, each rolled up tape measure forms a cone, a generic object, as minimalist at they come; placed on the fingertips, however, these cones engender an entirely different energy, evoking power and sexuality. Sterbak’s early work involves the body and offers a sometimes violent and passionate perspective on the human condition, already attesting to the complexity of an aesthetic centred on sensory experience. This aesthetic is constantly evolving, as is the array of objects and (often perishable) materials, invariably laden with an affective and sensory import whose nature and purpose cannot leave us indifferent, prompting us to question the very status of the artwork.

Spare Spine, 1983

Jana Sterbak Spare Spines
Jana Sterbak, Spare Spine, 1983
152,4 x 2,5 x 2,5 cm
Courtesy of the artist
Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay

Spare Spine follows upon Golem: Objects as sensations (1979-1982), a series in which Jana Sterbak reproduces various human organs, molded from substances that archive the passage of time (bronze, rubber, lead). As in this expressionist installation—imprints of the artist’s handwork are clearly visible—Spare Spine, in bronze, instills a tension as it reduces the body’s skeletal structure to a bare line. Leaning against the wall, the minimal “spare” spinal column draws a fine line through the space, revealing its presence while also marking a disappearance. The duality of interior and exterior establishes a complex, paradoxical, even ironic relationship—as the title suggests—that underscores the limits of one’s body.