Adriane Little, curator
This whole business of images started when the doctor recommended that I look, and look and look again until I understood something. On his kindly advice, I looked intently at images in order to understand them, amazing images of extraordinary bodies. Images in which one understands nothing. Images of succubi and those possessed by the devil, images of anger and irony, of impersonation and crucifixion, of wonder and possession, images of ecstasy and convulsion.
I looked at the images of bodies that produced the images. Bodies that were simply vulnerable surfaces, presented for photographic recording and dermographical inscription. Public bodies on which floating words had been fixed by hands become cynical through indifference. Words that were no longer read as words but rather as symptoms. A symbolic violence exerted by the intersection of reifying hands and gaze. A risk that is part of the desire to become an image.
Can you believe that I could be held by these images to the point of being almost maternal towards them? I protected them, loved them, took care of them, revived them, cleaned them up and made them speak. I even reintroduced them into the incessant circulation of images. I hear said that images are appropriated, that they are used as citations but never is it said that one takes care of images, that one would like to make up for the abuse and humiliation that they have been subjected to.
Nicole Jolicoeur was born in the province of Quebec and now lives and works in Montreal. She studied at École des Beaux-arts in Quebec City and at Rutgers University in New Jersey (USA) where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree. From 1972 to 1990, she taught at École des arts visuels of Université Laval and from 1990 to 2007 at École des arts visuels et médiatiques of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
In 1980, she began developing her installation practice using photography and text and now video, which puts into perspective various discourse and contexts concerning the representation of a female subject. She creates spatial settings with reference to fields as diverse as the beginnings of psychiatry, the exploration of the polar regions, anthropology, strolling in the city, Roman Catholic religious iconography and now the operatic duo. Her practice has been built up around the implications relative to how women are represented as well as her interest in the found image, the theatricality of photographic records (more precisely the body of images J. M. Charcot and his followers produced at La Salpêtrière, Paris, at the end of the 19th century), the narrative created by image/text relationships, the performative aspects of self-representation and the use of one's own voice.
Since 1973, her work has been exhibited in solo, duo and group shows in Quebec, Canada, England, France and the United States, and has been the subject of numerous critical comments published in books, catalogues and periodicals concerned with art. In addition to her photographic installation practice, she has a strong interest in the production and publication of artist's books, and artist's projects and writings in art books and magazines. She has made many public presentations of her artwork at symposiums and as lectures.
She has received financial support for her work from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, UQAM and PRIM (Productions Réalisations Indépendantes Montréal).
Her works are in numerous public collections, among them, that of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée-Château d'Annecy in France, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Université du Québec à Montréal and in private collections as well.