Our next Artist You Need To Know is Angela Grauerholz. Originally from Germany, Grauerholz obtained a degree in design from Kunstschule Alsterdamm in Hamburg, as well as studying literature and linguistics at the University of Hamburg. After relocating to Montréal in 1976, she earned a Master’s degree in photography from Concordia University.
Grauerholz’s aesthetic is “distinguished by a hazy quality produced using long exposures and overlapping images. Her images of commonplace subjects take on a feeling of timelessness.” (from here) She has also incorporated more experimental elements, such as multiple images and sculptural components, into her installation works.
Grauerholz’s “philosophical reflections on memory and the process of making images break with photographic tradition, and her work is distinguished by the self-referential quality of her images. Since the early 1980s, in her search to redefine the art of photography, she has taken up different themes that overlap and draw one from the other: portraits, interior and exterior scenes with or without people, etc. Viewers are drawn into a sense of confusion between the place of the experience and the relation between things and beings. As a whole, Grauerholz’s work invites analysis and, in a dialectic of presence and absence, raises the questions that hide beneath the obvious.” (from here)
Angela Grauerholz has an impressive resume, both in terms of institutions that hold her work and spaces that have shown her work. From an international standpoint, important exhibitions include the Sydney Biennale (1990), documenta IX (1992), the Carnegie International (1995) and the Montréal Biennale (2004).
She has exhibited widely, and significant solo exhibitions have taken place at the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (1991), the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (1993), the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, the Power Plant, Toronto, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago (1999), the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston (2004), VOX, Contemporary Image Centre, Montreal (2006), and the Vancouver Public Library (2008).
In 1995, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal organized a survey exhibition of her artworks, which was toured to several institutions in Canada, Germany and France (1995–96). The National Gallery of Canada mounted a retrospective exhibition of her work in 2010 (The Inexhaustible Image) that was later on view at the University of Toronto Art Center in 2011. Another later survey of Grauerholz’ work – in tandem with the Scotiabank Photography Award, which she won in 2015 – took place at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, in 2016. (More of her many accomplishments can be explored at her site.)
Grauerholz has been recognized with several significant honours, such as Québec’s Prix Paul-Émile Borduas (2006) and the Canada Council’s Governor General Award in Visual and Media Arts (2014).
In 1980 she was a co-founder of ARTEXTE, centre d’information en art contemporain, an important ongoing archive for Canadian contemporary art with an expansive digital repository of art magazines, books and other similar publications.
Grauerholz was a Professor at the École de design, UQAM (Université du Québec in Montréal) from 1988 to 2017; she taught typography and photography, and also was the Director of the Centre de design during this period (2008 to 2012). She was awarded an Honourable Doctorate of Letters from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in 2019.
The National Gallery of Canada offers the following summation of Grauerholz’s artwork: “At the heart of her practice is a romantic sensibility linked to her Northern German heritage and a long time interest in feminism, conceptual art, and a range of theoretical perspectives on photography. In her work she explores memory, along with ideas related to collections and archives”
Much more of Angela Grauerholz’s work can be enjoyed at her site.