Artists > Angela Grauerholz

Angela Grauerholz

Artist talkExhibition


Born in Hamburg, Germany, Angela Grauerholz has lived and worked in Montréal since 1976. She has participated in many international events including the Biennale, Sydney (1990), Documenta IX, Kassel (1992), Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (1995), Biennale de Montréal (2004). Solo exhibitions held at Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Power Plant, Toronto; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago along with a retrospective show in 2010 at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. She received several awards including the prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award in 2015. From 1989 to 2016, Grauerholz was full professor at the École de Design of the Université du Québec, Montréal teaching typography and photography.

Artist Statement
It was after she lost her library to a fire accident, that Angela began to focus on the book as object and a space for mapping out ideas about the ways in which we decipher the inner and outer world of an artwork. For the ‘Privation’ project, she scanned the front and back covers, of a selected number of the books that were damaged by fire, leaving their content either hidden from view, or, at times, only a title, a word, or part of an image was visible. Using the scanner as camera, the resulting digital images induced her to contemplate—and eventually gain a more profound understanding—of the regenerative aspects of ‘loss’. Apart from the loss of property, the transition from analogue to digital photography posed an almost unsurmountable problem for her, at that time. This became beautifully logical in its simplicity: an image of reality—as the scanner gave little room for interpretation—and the document, the digital image confronted with the fact that the absence of materiality, transforms the resulting image into a ‘mere’ reproduction - a print in the truest sense. This is not to deny the connotations the image of the charred remains of books has. It is already infused with memory and inevitably reminds us of those libraries destroyed by fire, war, and cultural hatred. From the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria by Julius Caesar in 47 – 48 BC, the Nazi’s burning of ‘degenerate literature’ on the night of Thursday, March 16, 1937 in Nuremburg, to the “ethnic cleansing” of all the libraries in Kosovo, these series of calamitous tragedies have forever erased histories, knowledge, and identities, both personal and cultural. Angela works with archives (mostly personal) along with libraries and collections of all sorts that has helped her to further understand and consider the consequences of transformation of data into a virtual matrix of knowledge. The principles governing, the conception and design of a book address aspects of narrative, structure and composition; while subverting issues of place, property and privilege. As a source of knowledge and as an artform, a book becomes as much a type of monument as a museum, a space one passes through and returns to. And yet, the specter of censorship and the suppression of freedom often disturb our scenarios of the future: no books—whether printed of digital—means not future.



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