Focus on the Collection: Angela Grauerholz
Discover a work recently acquired by the Canadian Photography Institute
Canadian photographer Angela Grauerholz explores a wide range of subject matter, including interiors, objects, portraits, landscapes, views through windows, and spaces designed for gathering and learning, such as libraries and reading rooms. In Viewing Room, she ventures into the National Gallery of Canada’s Prints, Drawings and Photographs Study Room, photographing a row of grey upholstered chairs facing blank sheets of paper in various sizes, placed by a museum staff along a viewing rack. This space is where visitors to the collection can view artworks, and where curators meet to study and discuss the works they propose for acquisition by the Gallery.
For Grauerholz, however, this image is not about its subject matter, but is instead a screen on which viewers can project their own ideas, emotions and expectations. It is this intention that makes this particular image somewhat neutral and mysterious at the same time. In a similar vein, many of Grauerholz’s photographs are imbued with an atmosphere of nostalgia and a soft focus indeterminacy that capture the gaze.
Angela Grauerholz (Hamburg, Germany, 1952–) studied Graphic Design at the Kunstschule Alsterdamm, and Literature and Linguistics at the Universität Hamburg, both in Hamburg, Germany. By 1979, she had settled in Montreal, where she established a photography-based art practice, and since 1988 has taught design at the Université du Québec à Montréal. Her art practice also includes a broad range of skills and interests such as typography, book design, personal archives, object and furniture design, architecture, film, and the history of the avant-garde.
In the Artist’s Own Words
I just really liked that the sheets of paper were there to receive something for display, or maybe something that had just been shown.
Viewing Room is one of my most successful photographs in this search for images exploring the idea of a blank slate, which is still charged with content, known or imagined.