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Suzy Lake has been examining and critiquing ideals of the body, gender and identity since the late 1960s. In her photographs, videos and performances, Lake draws attention to social norms and constraints and aims to diminish the barrier between the viewer and the artwork.
Introducing Suzy Lake follows the artist in images across five decades, as her political ideals are forged in Detroit's civil rights movement in the late 1960s; as she realizes her first successes in Montreal's artist-led cultural boom of the 1970s, the post Expo 67, post-Duplessis era; and her years in Toronto since 1978, as she finds her home and hones her artistic vision.
Co-curated by Georgiana Uhlyarik, associate curator of Canadian art and Sophie Hackett, associate curator of photography, the exhibition includes several works from the AGO's collection as well as numerous loans. The exhibition features two new important works from Lake's Extended Breathing series (2008-2014) and premieres two works from a brand new series, Performing Haute Couture (2014), created specifically for this exhibition. It also includes a recreation Are You Talking to Me? (1979), an installation of more than 70 photographs made shortly after Lake's arrival in Toronto that has not been seen in its entirety since the early 1980s.
A companion catalogue, published by Black Dog Publishing (U.K.), will feature texts by artists, curators and scholars, including Allyson Mitchell, Robert Longo, Elizabeth Smith, Michelle Jacques and Sara Angel, with a foreword by Tavi Gevinson, founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie magazine. Also entitled Introducing Suzy Lake, the catalogue will be available for purchase at shopAGO in November.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.