October 20—November 19, 2011
Some Documents From the Life of Natalie Brettschneider
Carol Sawyer’s Some Documents from the Life of Natalie Brettschneider is a series of photographs, texts, and live re-enactments of musical repertoire from the life and work of a fictional, genre-blurring performance artist and singer Natalie Brettschneider. Reconstructing an imagined career spanning the better part of the 20th century, the exhibition forms a feminist critique of the conventions and prejudices of art historical narratives and the ways in which photographs are used to support cultural assumptions about gender, age, authorship, and art-making. Referencing the true histories of real women artists, Sawyer as Brettschneider personifies those most likely to have been left out of the official canons of art—becoming the ‘unknown soldier’ of performance art; a stand-in for all of the female artists who have slipped through the gaps of history only to languish in obscurity, gain notoriety as the models or muses of more famous male artists, or become famous posthumously after being “rediscovered”.
Sawyer gratefully acknowledges the Canada Council for the Arts and the BC Arts Council for their support of this work.