Bringing together historical works from the 70s and 80s, as well as more recent works, this exhibition attests to the growing critical and institutional attention given to the artist’s work, such as MoMA, the Metropolitan, Sammlung Verbund or the CNAP, which recently acquired a major work entitled “Imitation of Myself #2”.
Socially and politically engaged, Suzy Lake‘s work questions an identity that is in doubt, confronting it with the stereotypes of feminine/non-feminine/queer consubstantiality, but also with its relationship to the world. Bringing together a group of masterpieces, most of which have never been shown in Europe, this exhibition will put into perspective a radical and sensitive body of work produced over nearly fifty years.
Born Suzanne Marx in 1947 in Detroit, USA, Suzy Lake emigrated to Canada in 1968. It was in a political climate that followed the violent racial riots of 1967 in Detroit – also known as the 12th Street riot – the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, and in the very particular context of the Vietnam War, which led many American citizens to flee the United States to escape general mobilization, that Suzy Lake left her native country. From 1970 onwards, she took part in the Montreal art scene, notably as co-founder of the Artist Run Space Véhicule Art Inc. with guest artists such as Sol Lewitt, Alison Knowles, Les Levine, General Idea, Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci and Bill Viola. She then produced her first works, whose influence and radicalism were to be decisive for many artists such as Cindy Sherman.
Suzy Lake initially developed a work oriented towards performance, but also that of a political activist and militant feminist. Her work questions the representation and perception of the self as a free and responsible being, through photographic sequences and films. The photographic medium is effectively used for its documentary capacity, but also critically, confronted with the popular, advertising and commercial imagery then in full expansion in North American society.