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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


Suzy Lake
Born in Detroit in 1947, lives and works in Toronto

A Genuine Simulation of... no. 2 , 1974


Suzy Lake
Suzy Lake, A Genuine Simulation of... no. 2, 1974
70 x 82,5 cm (print)
Make-up on black-and-white photograph
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Purchase, Saidye and Samuel Bronfman Collection of Canadian Art
A Genuine Simulation of... no. 2 is emblematic of Suzy Lake’s work. Since the 1970s, she has been elaborating a reflection on identity and its construction, on the motions and authenticity of the subject. Covering her photographic self-portraits with make-up, the artist foregrounds the limits and dubious veracity of an identificatory image. Her work can be recognized by its focus on the body, on its appearance, and by the questions it raises in the construction of gender. She “archives the body” as it performs its changing nature, irreducible to representation. Lake took part in “Camerart,” a major exhibition of photography that took place at OPTICA in 1974. She exhibited her work in the solo exhibitions “Choreographed Puppets” (1977) and “Are You Talking to Me?” (1979) and participated in “Towards the Photograph as a Vulgar Document” in 1988, which enabled a productive field in photography in Quebec.


Beauty at a Proper Distance/In Song, 2002


Suzy Lake
Suzy Lake, Beauty at a Proper Distance/In Song, 2002
Fujitrans prints in edge-lit light boxes
98,4 x 132,1 cm, 114 x 132,1 cm, 98,4 x 132,1 cm (boxes)
Courtesy of the artist
Photo : Richard-Max Tremblay
Beauty at a Proper Distance/In Song reflects Suzy Lake’s preoccupations with the construction of identity. The work consists of close-ups of the lower half of her face, emphasizing the contrast between red lips and signs of ageing (facial hair, skin blemishes). These implicitly incompatible cultural references, to seduction on the one hand and to the ineluctable passage of time on the other, combine here to give voice to a fully-acknowledged reality that brings prohibitions against visibility into question. In 2010, as part of a series of original artist projects highlighting current programming and the OPTICA archives, this artwork was reproduced and made freely available in the form of a limited edition poster (OPTICA, un projet d’art contemporain, no.4).

T.St-G.