Angela Grauerholz Instant Resemblances

Olga Korper Gallery ⁠ accessible_forward
17 Morrow Ave
Apr 30–May 28
April 30, 10am–5pm
    Angela Grauerholz, Red Chair in Red Room, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Olga Korper Gallery

In this exhibition of new works, Montreal-based artist Angela Grauerholz explores the similarities between analogue and digital photographic processes, examining their shared aesthetics and their relationships to time, blurring the line between them. Prefaced by a quote from Florian Schneider’s “Theses on the Concept of the Digital Simulacrum,” in the following artist statement, Grauerholz expounds on the factors driving her recent explorations.

“The deceptive nature of the digital image is not evoked by a certain resemblance between original and copy, or reality and its simulation. […] similarity has turned into simultaneity; it has become a question entirely occupied by time: synchronized time … The digital image is characterized by a promise of instant availability in so-called real time … Today, the illusionary character of the image lies in the proclamation of immediate access to the recorded data as well as in the idea of unlimited exchangeability bypassing any actual resemblance.”

— In Animism Volume I, ed. Anselm Franke (Berlin/New York: Sternberg Press, 2010).

Not having traveled for the last two years, I spend my time going through my archives. Looking back at the use of various analogue cameras throughout my practice and comparing the resulting photographs to the ones made with more recent digital devices, I recognized certain resemblances. Early Polaroids and photographs taken with my mobile phone—and even those taken with the Brownie Hawkeye in the 1980s—share a square format; a unifying device simultaneously referencing analogue photographs and social media platforms such as Instagram. These overlaps reminded me why I was drawn to photography in the first place—It was the idea of the rapid feedback, accessing what you had seen (or so you hoped) in a relatively short period of time. Digital technology has made this process truly instantaneous. My scanning of analogue photographs and film and matching them to their digital counterparts became a search for their similarities and differences, looking more closely at the distinctive aesthetics that come with these various and varied images.

In questioning the criteria for the choice of images, it was usually the context that dictated how I would use them. Most often I separated my photographs according to their modes of display, be it within archival works (installations, portfolios, books, etc.), on gallery walls, or on social media. However, in deciding on the images to include in this exhibition, it was first and foremost the aesthetic of the Polaroids that guided my choices of the other “instant” images. Simpler, more direct in composition and subject matter, almost casual, I looked for equivalents in my archives of images. This almost infinite endeavour was one that gave me great pleasure, and allowed me to explore another—earlier and at the same time newer—photographic identity.

Presented by Olga Korper Gallery

Angela Grauerholz, artist/photographer and graphic designer, has been exhibited and collected widely in Canada, the US, and Europe. She has participated in many international events of distinction including the Sydney Biennale (1990), documenta IX (1992), the Carnegie International (1995) and the Montréal Biennale (2004). She was awarded several prestigious prizes for her accomplishments in the arts, such as Québec’s Prix Paul-Émile Borduas (2006), the Canada Council’s Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts (2014), and in 2015 the distinguished Scotiabank Photography Award (Toronto). As Full Professor at the École de design, UQAM (Université du Québec in Montréal)—where she also directed the Centre de design (2008 to 2012)—she taught typography and photography from 1988 to 2017. In 2019, the Emily Carr University of Art + Design awarded her an Honorable Doctorate of Letters.