Through the media of photography, performance and video, the group exhibition Auto/Pathographies addresses questions of identity and (self-)representation in the face of illness. Bringing together works from artists based in Canada, the U.S., Britain and Austria produced from the 1990s until today, the exhibition offers both sensitive and critical perspectives on the roles played by disease in redefining individual existence and interpersonal relations.
The term pathography, borrowed from the field of literature, typically refers to a narrative account of illness. In the context of this exhibition however, its meaning is expanded to include both visual and performative “portraits” of the experience of disease. The photographic and video works presented in the exhibition are produced from either an autobiographical perspective (autopathographies), or in an exchange between sick and healthy individuals (relational pathographies).
Amongst the collaborative artworks presented in the exhibition are a number of rare images from the Jo Spence Memorial Archive, which will be shown for the first time in Canada. Auto/Pathographies features Spence’s photographic explorations of mortality from her last series entitled The Final Project.
With each of the artworks presented in Auto/Pathographies, sickness is transformed into a site of active aesthetic, political, and even metaphysical inquiry -- one whose interest extends well beyond that of the individual subject’s narrative.