Feminisms | esse arts + opinions


90 - Printemps / été 2017

Our spring issue looks at the unique relationships between art and feminisms. Taking into account the multiplicity of women’s subjectivity and heterogeneity, Feminisms explores how art practices and theories help to deconstruct the oppressions and limitations associated with gender. Focussing on female and feminist art practices—militant or not—from various communities, the protests, standpoints, and affirmations come in as many forms as the artists are diverse: subversion, uprising, reconsideration of gender archetypes and heteronormativity, post-colonial feminist theory, revival of ancestral practices, representation of the self, and conscious and assumed use of seduction are among the many ways of expressing, again, the necessity of feminisms.

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Articles à la pièce

Jennifer Griffiths
Valerie Behiery
Nanne Buurman
Thérèse St-Gelais
Anne-Marie Dubois
Léa Toulouse


Feminism’s Myriad Figures
Sylvette Babin


Naked Demonstrations: Feminism and Visual Culture
In this essay, the author looks at the recent global phenomenon of naked protest by the Ukrainian feminist group Femen through the lens of visual culture and critical theory. Asserting the centrality of the body to feminism and reading the concept of naked protest against other historical instances of feminist activism in the West, the author sustains that politics, like the history of art, is underpinned by John Berger’s concept of the active/male/surveyor and the passive/female/surveyed, and she suggests that it is inherently difficult to avoid sexual objectification in the public sphere.
Jennifer Griffiths

Of Veils, Feminisms, and Contemporary Art
Representations of veiled Muslim women have increased exponentially in global contemporary art. Most challenge the stereotyped sign of the veil, which functions as a shared shorthand for the “problem” of Islam and the unagentic Muslim woman. Positing that denying the status of subject to any woman is both unfeminist and dangerous, the author argues, through a discussion of Ghazel’s, Arwa Abouon’s and Maïmouna Guerresi’s work, that depictions of visibly Muslim women that resuture veils and female subjectivity alter dominant discourses on both the veil and Western collective self-identities.
Valerie Behiery

Home Economics. Curating as a labour of love
Departing from heuristic homologies between museums and households, the author calls attention to the political economy of exhibitions, with its gendered divisions of labour that construct curatorial practices and subject positions as complementary to artists’. Drawing on insights from feminism and gender studies, the author considers the ways in which the role of curators oscillates between that of a disembodied invisible stagehand behind the scenes of an exhibition, on the one hand, and that of a hyper-visible authorial figure famous for signature styles, on the other. The aim is to problematize the ambivalent political implications of curating as a labour of love.
Nanne Buurman

Feminisms and Uncertainty: A Body of One’s Own and Beyond Oneself
Based on the work of Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Manon Labrecque, and Julie Delporte, Thérèse St-Gelais turns her gaze to images of bodies and identities whose representations seem inscrutable, uncertain, or elusive. Here, these images are understood as participating in feminist resistance and agency, as critiquing the construction of knowledge and savoir-faire. Between the quest for a body of one’s own and the reality of a body beyond oneself lie feminist issues of undeniable relevance in today’s world.
[Translated from the French by Louise Ashcroft]
Thérèse St-Gelais

Of the Techno-Plasticity of the Body in Cassils
The Cuts : A Traditional Sculpture series by trans artist Cassils re-enacts and updates Eleanor Antin’s mythic performance Carving: A Traditional Sculpture in order to explore the significance of being a feminist and transgender person in today’s society. Ingesting steroids and technologically shaping their body so as to blur genders, the artist testifies to a medico-political context that enables identities to explore new creative avenues; gender, sex, and sexuality are no longer immutable physiological properties, but somapolitical technologies.
[Translated from the French by Ron Ross]
Anne-Marie Dubois

I Am Woman: The Decolonial Process of Indigenous Feminist Art
Considering the growing debate over what Indigenous alternatives to state formations can offer alongside the myriad decolonization projects across Canada, it is critical to reiterate precolonial matriarchal modes of seeing and being. By bringing to the fore representations of First Nations leaders as seen and created by Indigenous female artists, I advance the deconstruction of colonial notions of Indigeneity. It is important, at this time in herstory, to celebrate Indigenous accomplishments: a positive and constructive counteraction to the unyielding reification of the violence that Indigenous people, and specifically Indigenous women, have endured and continue to endure.
Léa Toulouse


Billie Zangewa
Embroidery for Constructing Collective Identity

Gabrielle Lajoie-Bergeron
The Young Girls Won’t Hear About It

Myriam Mihindou
Memory in the Skin

Joscelyn Gardner
A Feminist History of the Caribbean

Lucía Cuba
Fashion, Biopolitics, and Social Criticism

Michelle Lacombe
Reading a Body

Helena Martin Franco
The Elephant Woman

Feminists’ Opinions


Féminismes à portée de main
Catherine Lavoie-Marcus


Performing Arts

Anne Le Beau et Compagnie Dave St-Pierre inc, Suie, Montréal by Véronique Hudon

Visual Arts

Marie-Claire Blais, Être la porte qui s’ouvre, Montréal by Maude Johnson

Sophie Jodoin, il faut qu’elle sache, Montréal by Dominic Hardy

Jim Holyoak, Book of Nineteen Nocturnes ; Nelson Henricks, Life Session, Montréal by Dominique Sirois-Rouleau

Nick Cave, Until, North Adams, U.S.A. by Anja Bock

La Galerie UQO présente ICI : Harald Szeemann, documenta 5, Gatineau by Anne-Marie Trépanier

Jim Verburg, A Certain Silence, Toronto by Alex Bowron

Andréanne Godin, Poussière de crépuscule, ou devenir jour, Montréal by Dominique Sirois-Rouleau

Does the oyster sleep?, Toronto by Jill Glessing

Sonia Boyce, We move in her way, London, U.K. by Emily LaBarge

Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s: Works from the Verbund Collection, London, U.K. by Emily LaBarge

Go Canny ! Poétique du sabotage, Nice by Vanessa Morisset

Catherine Bolduc, La femme dans la lune / Her Head in the Clouds, St. John’s, Nfld. by Jennifer McVeigh

Teresa Margolles, Mundos, Montréal by Nuria Carton de Grammont

Dress Codes, Saint-Ouen, France by Magali Lesauvage & Céline Piettre


David Clerson et Sébastien Pesot (dir.), Post-Punk Art Now by Sophie Drouin

Petra Collins (dir.), Babe by Florence Andoka

Johanna Householder et Tanya Mars (dir.), More Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women by Maude Johnson

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