Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, exhibition catalogue

Montreal: Oboro, 2002, 80 pp. (in English and French)
ISBN 2-922042-22-7

CounterPoses was a performance event that aimed to redefine the genre of tableau vivant within contemporary art. Traditionally, tableaux vivants posed individuals in live recreations of paintings, sculptures, or scenes from literature and history, often with moral and religious overtones. The 14 projects of CounterPoses explored the politics of the viewer-viewed relationship as it shifted the aesthetic experience from one of consumption to that of encounter. The artists drew upon the history and problematics of tableaux vivants, yet dramatically reworked that legacy in terms of contemporary issues and ideas. In the catalogue, participating artists comment on their experience.

Cover image: Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, The Eaton’s Catalogue (1976) (1998), detail from performance tableau. Photo: Paul Litherland.