In this new PhotoLab exhibition, Althea Thauberger’s two-channel video installation, L’arbre est dans ses feuilles (The Tree Is in Its Leaves), features the archival collection of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) Still Photography Division in an evocative exploration of history and identity.
Commissioned by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, with support from the Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) of the National Gallery of Canada, the installation was inspired, in part, by the People Tree — a Canadian “family tree” produced by the NFB for Expo 67. The video also examines the legacy of Lorraine Monk, Executive Producer of the Still Photography Division from 1960 to 1980. Interpreting Monk onscreen, Thauberger quotes from interviews and correspondence, while interacting with photographs from the archive.
Plumbing the resources of one of Canada’s most important photographic collections, this new PhotoLab exhibition is an immersive experience that probes constructed realities in Thauberger’s signature style, while encouraging critical thinking on the power structures that define us.
Based in Vancouver, Althea Thauberger is an artist and filmmaker whose work involves provocative reflections on power — whether social, political, institutional, historical or aesthetic. She often engages in long-term interactions and collaborations with communities ranging from church choirs to linguistic minorities, resulting in thought-provoking video and film installations exploring issues such as identity, conformity and individualism. Thauberger’s work also reflects her interest in the stories behind the sites she features — whether an airbase in Afghanistan, a psychiatric hospital in Eastern Europe, or Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.
Thauberger’s work can be found public and private collections around the world, and has been presented at Canadian venues including The Power Plant in Toronto and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and international venues including the Guandong Museum of Art in China, the Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, and the 2012 Liverpool Biennale.