Geneviève Cadieux
Canada, 1955
Geneviève Cadieux did not gain international recognition until 1990, when she represented Canada at the Venice Biennale and also took part in the Biennale of Sydney and a number of thematic exhibitions in various countries. By that point, the artist, who studied visual arts at the University of Ottawa, had already been using large-format photography in her work for some time as an essential tool for shaping a powerful woman’s gaze that explores successive reconfigurations of the meaning of the body, its permanence and its reception, the possibilities of the Other and the double, and the operative presence of fragments, desire and pain as traces that have an almost acoustic quality. In Voices of Reason/Voices of Madness (1983) one of her best-known works involving the use of space, the photographic projection in a vast empty space of two faces set opposite one another laid the groundwork for a continual reinterpretation of the territories of the self—at a time of growing upheavals about identity—constructed using imagery of three-dimensional effects, situated always between the time captured in the portrait and the narrative impulse of the enlarged image, with occasional sound interventions. As well as extending the space of representation, the large formats Cadieux employs in her work expand the space of the viewer and the mechanisms of recognition and location available to him or her: photographic fragments with evident pictorial and cinematic references, with large isolated images, fragments structured like the elements of stage sets constructed from the meanings of human existence—all articulated around a notion of the body and the skin as a privileged place and object for representation and enquiry.
Manuel Clot