Denise Oleksijczuk is an assistant professor of Art and Culture Studies at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. Her book on panoramas in Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. Since 2004, her work has been exhibited at the Or Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Contemporary Art Gallery, and at Solo Exhibition in Toronto.
June 21–July 26, 2008
Denise Oleksijczuk’s practice often focuses on the thin line between hope and despair. Past projects have included indexical text works including 200 Nouns (2004), a work that offers a litany of nouns to describe the idler that range from derogatory remarks to positive accolades. In The Origin of the World (2005) the artist compiled over 800 words from a variety of sources used to describe women. Humorous and disturbing, serious and laudatory, this work examines social representations of gender. Perennial Love (2005) expands the consideration of the singular noun to include phrases on the subject of love and loss sourced from novels, pop songs and comedy sketches. A crank handle allows the viewer to interact with work and animates the looped scroll, making explicit the artist’s interest in individual agency.
Her most recent project, Role, further investigates individual agency. Moving away from text but offering a continuation of her interest in exploring the limits of human experience, Oleksijczuk engages with the medium and history of film. Based on a reconsideration of Robert Bresson’s 1967 film Mouchette (after Georges Bernanos’ 1937 novella of the same name), Oleksijczuk’s work presents a new end to the story. Casting herself as a grown-up Mouchette, the artist reinterpret’s Bresson’s depiction of a child’s ragged solitude, her Christ-like suffering, and the ultimate control she assumes in her own drowning. In Role, Oleksijczuk reframes Bresson’s infamous suicide scene as a clumsy experiment rather than a transcendent release.
June 21, 2008
Denise Oleksijczuk discusses her exhibition Role.