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Cheryl Sourkes
From November 1st 1986 to November 22nd 1986
Révéler l'économie du psychique

Perhaps we can read this series of Sourkes’ photographs as a long visual metaphor for our actual relationship to representation. Bombarded on all sides by knowledge and information, our conscience builds itself with the accumulation and juxtaposition of multiple little narratives, only coherent as part of a personal mythology.

The entirety of Sourkes’ photograms, detaching themselves from a black background, can this be seen as a kind of constellation: arbitrary heap of knowledge, similar to the figures projected unto the sky by the Ancients (Scorpio, Gemini, Virgo…). From fragments of texts and images, more or less contextualized but always significant or evocative, that she has taken from books or photographed in the street, Cheryl Sourkes creates narrative figures, little stories, by which she reveals her personal relationship to the actual world, her own mythology. Some titles give an idea of the extent of her investigation: The inner organism of an idiom, The dispersed narratives of our lives, Roses will be blooming in dark gardens we abandoned long ago, Our images are our keepers, Arago phenomenon (looking with the eye to the side), Basic issues in the philosophy of time, Subway…

However, the series remains highly fragmented. Their circumstantial gathering for exhibition possesses some arbitrariness. Each time, only a part is shown: the entire series including in fact 85 photographs, realized from 1984 to 86. Totality is forever inaccessible. The groupings of these diverse fragments remain themselves parcellized, permutable and disappearing. What remains is the intention and the trajectory of the conscience, which are animated fundamentally by an assemblage of values, knowledges and pulsions organized only around organized only around a personalized logic.

However Sourkes; own intention would probably be located on a somewhat different level: not in relation with knowledge but more in a global relation to life and consciousness. From a “difference lost and retrieved” to an “opening up of the psychic economy”, the intention would have been modified and focalized. And this new accentuation would be apparent in the interstices between the photographic fragments, there, where the exterior edges of negatives let their traces, there, where they are superposing in a certain confusion, there, where the artist scratches the surfaces, there, where the blackness is so full, there, where texts and images, and the title of photographs, and the title of the exhibition, play of all their tensions… In these interstices would appear this capacity of overture and renewing that Cheryl Sourkes used herself in her presentation of her works: this psychic economy centred around the living forces of the unconscious, the depths of experience, the resources of disorder, and the life intensity in confrontation with the depth or the other…

Thus she would succeed, designating this invisible and unutterable, to send us back to ourselves, to our own mythology, our own apprehension of the world.
- Press release (Optica)

Dumont, Jean, « Expositions, Images qui disent, mots qui montrent... », Montréal ce mois-ci, novembre 1986, p. 14 et 16.
Simon, Cheryl, « One Against the Other », C Magazine, # 13, mars 87, p. 56-57.
Dikeakos, Christos, "Cheryl Sourkes, Vancouver east cultural centre, Vancouver", Vanguard. Feb 1985.