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Hysteria and the Body

March 29, 2008 - July 15, 2008

AWE Gallery

In the late nineteenth century, the burgeoning fields of psychology and psychiatry paid increasing attention to hysteria, a functional disturbance of the nervous system which they deemed a “female malady.” Yet since the 1970s, many contemporary women artists – and some male artists – have mimicked hysteria as an act of resistance to traditional gender roles.

Hysteria and the Body focuses on artworks from the 1970s through the 1990s, mainly by women artists, in its investigation of representations of the body, gender and identity. Including sculpture, video, artist books, printmaking, drawing and photography, the exhibition disrupts conventional ways of viewing the body and our preconecptions of “normal” behaviour.

Important artists from Canada and around the world are featured in this exhibition, including, Vito Acconci (USA), Cindy Sherman (USA), Louise Bourgeois (France), Jana Sterbak (Canada), Marina Abramovic (Serbia), and Pipilotti Rist (Switzerland). The exhibition explores widely shared themes, for example, aging and motherhood, and more specific issues associated with indvidual identity.

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