Nicole Jolicoeur

The Perfect Path

1994
Nicole Jolicoeur's artistic practice is centred on her appropriation and reinterpretation of a group of photographs produced in the 19th century to document hysteria, a malady confined to women, which was thought to be sexual in origin. The originals of the photographs here were taken by the French psychiatrist Pierre Janet, of his patient Madeleine Lebouc. Visible on her feet and chest are wounds that recall Christ's stigmata and His name, signs of her identification with Christ's suffering. Jolicoeur alludes to this mystical or religious dimension of the language of hysteria through her title, which refers to the transcendence of the body through the mortification of the flesh. In addition, she veils the images with knotted and draped silk, conveying the repressed sensuality of the body while suggesting that there can be no unified vision and hence no single meaning.
Title
The Perfect Path
Date
1994
Medium
Sculpture
Materials
gelatin silver prints, silk, metal shelves, painted acrylic text
Dimensions
installation space: 20 x 20 m (400 sq. m approx.)
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 1997
Accession number
38290.1-5