In this series of blog posts we’ll be looking at each of the artists shortlisted for The Grange Prize 2011: Gauri Gill, Nandini Valli, Althea Thauberger and Elaine Stocki. The Prize is Canada’s only major art prize where the winner is chosen by the public. Vote now. Each year four fine art photographers, two from Canada and two from a partner country, are nominated by an international jury of experts. This year, the partner country is India. The Grange Prize is a partnership between the AGO and Aeroplan.
“It never appealed to me to be an artist who was separated from the world. I think the most exciting work I do is when I’m working in the world, socially-orientated photography is very much about that.” Althea Thauberger, artist statement , The Grange Prize 2011
Althea Thauberger’s work is hard to define. Using film and video as well as the photographs you can see as part of The Grange Prize exhibition, she documents her collaborations with people. The people she works with are often well-defined social groups, and the social experience is a key concern for this artist. She works with communities to develop performances that offer the members opportunities for self-exploration and self-definition. The works, which Thauberger produces to record the collaborations, are always extraordinarily striking documents that entice, engage and surprise her viewers. She is based in Vancouver and has been working as an artist for more than a decade.
Her work has been presented at the 17th Biennale of Sydney; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Guangzhou Triennial, China; Manifesta 7, Trento, Italy; Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver; Vancouver Art Gallery; BAK, Utrecht; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Singapore History Museum; Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp; Berkeley Art Museum; Insite, San Diego/Tijuana; White Columns, New York; and Seattle Art Museum.
Althea Thauberger: At A Glance
- Althea Thauberger was born in 1970. She received a BFA in photography from Concordia University in 2000 and an MFA from University of Victoria in 2002. She is currently studying part-time for a PhD in cultural theory.
- She uses films, videos, audio recordings and books to explore themes of social, political, institutional and aesthetic power relations.
- As a child she wasn’t allowed any friends who did not share the fundamentalist Christian beliefs of her family.
- She was a tree planter for ten years.
- One project took her to Kandahar, Afghanistan as a part of the Canadian War Artist program. Canada was still active at the front at the time of her trip.
- Listen to a voice recording of Thauberger on Art Talk AM
“It would be nearly impossible to accuse Vancouver artist Althea Thauberger of being weak or fearful; in fact she is quite the opposite. Not only does she happily invite controversy and criticism, but she willingly flew to Kandahar, Afghanistan as a part of the Canadian War Artist program while Canada was still active at the front. Not an adventure for the light of heart for sure, but one that Thauberger took on with her characteristic aplomb.”