Performing an Archive
Performing an Archive
In Performing an Archive, Suzy Lake, an essential figure in Canadian contemporary art with an international reputation, continues her exploration of questions around identity and social issues. Drawing on history and her own family history, Lake bears witness to the urban, demographic and social development of Detroit, a city marked throughout the twentieth century by economic decline, racial tension and a startling crime rate. In a performative process, she visits the scene of various locations where her ancestors lived.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Suzy Lake has lived in Canada since the late 1960s, where she widely contributed to the emergence of conceptual and feminist art. She was one of the first artists in Canada to use performance, video and photography to explore questions of gender, the body and identity. Her work has been shown in numerous major exhibitions, including WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (organised by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007), Suzy Lake: Political Poetics (organised by the University of Toronto Art Centre and the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, 2011) and Traffic: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980 (organised by the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at University of Toronto and the Vancouver Art Gallery, in partnership with the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery at Concordia University and Halifax, INK, 2012), exhibitions which later circulated widely. In 2014, the Art Gallery of Ontario mounted a major retrospective of her work, Introducing Suzy Lake. She has been a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts since 2004.
With this book, Dazibao rewards Suzy Lake, recipient of the Dazibao award, conferred during the 2013 edition of the Mois de la Photo à Montréal (curator: Paul Wombell) and for which Suzy Lake presented the work Reduced Performing.
For each edition of the Mois de la Photo à Montréal, Dazibao confers a prize to an artist participating in the event and whose work is particularly significant. This prize consists in the realisation of a book in Dazibao’s Les portables series. Since 2007, Dazibao has rewarded the prize to Gustavo Artigas (2007), Zineb Sedira (2009) and Jim Verburg (2011).
LES PORTABLES collection is dedicated exclusively to the work of one artist. The collection appropriates the form of the book as a space, and a site, for the dissemination of contemporary photographic practice. The books of LES PORTABLES are travelling exhibitions with unlimited venues and circulation.
Artist: Suzy Lake
Design: Studio TagTeam
Edited by France Choinière
In collaboration with Black Dog Publishing
Bilingual, 64 pages, color reproductions, hardcover
Available on the
open access platform