Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Elisabeth Belliveau, Still life with Pretzel (After Clara Peeters), Lenticular print, 2019
Curator's Reading List

Heather Rigg

Curator Heather Rigg presents selected readings related to Alone in the House (Still Life with Clarice Lispector), the exhibition of Elisabeth Belliveau’s work that will be presented at Gallery 44 in the fall. 

Spending time with the work that makes up Elisabeth Belliveau’s Gallery 44 exhibition Alone in the House (Still Life with Clarice Lispector), allowed me to engage in a practice that, while rooted in sculpture and stop-motion animation, opens up into the worlds of Clarice Lispector and Clara Peeters. An avant-garde writer and a still life painter, respectively, these two transgressive artists have influenced Belliveau’s work. Sharing an atypical approach to time, reflections, femininity, and still lifes, their ideas are meticulously distilled together with Belliveau’s through video works, sculpture, and lenticular prints. 

I’ve always been curious about Lispector’s writing, and working with Belliveau provided an opportunity to finally read some of her work. Here I’ve included an excerpt from her novel A Breath of Life (2012). While the book is mainly a dialogue between the characters Author and Angela, this excerpt, which opens the book, provides an introduction to Lispector’s writing cadence and first-person perspective.

I have also included the Clara Peeters Wikipedia page. I wasn’t familiar with Peeters’ work prior to this, and appreciated the opportunity to learn more about a womyn painter honing Dutch still-life painting in the 1600s. 

Although it’s not a reading, so to speak, I also love returning to Troisième, a video Belliveau made in 2017, the third in a trilogy of stop-motion animation films also inspired by Lispector.

Find A Breath of Life at the Toronto Public Library
PDF of Clara Peeters Wikipedia page


Heather Rigg is a curator and writer based in Toronto. She is Curator of Exhibitions and Public Programs at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, and cofounder of ma ma, a roving contemporary art space. Recent published essays can be found in issue Nos. 96 and 97 of esse arts + opinions, and No. 142 of C Magazine.