Angela Grauerholz : The inexhaustible image … épuiser l’image at The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

Ottawa (Ontario) – Born in Germany, artist Angela Grauerholz has been living in Montreal since the mid-1970s. She has long been interested in feminism, conceptual art, and a range of theoretical perspectives on photography, influences that have shaped her art over the last 25 years.

The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography is mounting a major exhibition comprised of some 40 works created over the course of her career. Presented by Pratt & Whitney Canada at the NGC, Angela Grauerholz: The inexhaustible image … épuiser l’image pays tribute to this extraordinary artist, who received the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas – the highest distinction in the visual arts in Quebec – in 2006 for her exceptional contribution to the visual arts. It is the artist’s first solo exhibition at the NGC. To find out more about the exhibition, click on

“Angela Grauerholz’s contribution to the medium of photography, and to art in general, is unique. She explores the various qualities of the photographic image while evoking the sociology of access to art,” said NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer. “This exhibition represents a remarkable opportunity for visitors to gauge the full scope of her work.”

Exhibition curator, Martha Hanna, and the artist worked together closely to produce Angela Grauerholz: The inexhaustible image … épuiser l’image, which will tour Canada after being shown at the Gallery throughout the summer. Dates and locations will be confirmed later.

“Pratt & Whitney Canada is proud to present Angela Grauerholz’s vision of photography,” said Edward Hoskin, Vice President, Mississauga and Turbofan Programs, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “Her work is both intimate and visionary, bridging the gap between personal perception and broader conceptual issues. As a strong supporter of programs that enhance the cultural life of our communities while expressing our values of creativity, sustainability, and advanced technologies, we are very pleased to be associated with such an exhibition.”

Travel with the artist on a journey of discovery

Through her works, Grauerholz broadens our consideration of the medium. She considers photography in relation to time and memory, its relationship to archives and collections, to representation and to the collective imagination. Her photographs arrive at meaning through their form, their presentation, and context.

Among the works that will be displayed, there are individual photographic prints, large in scale, which include Grauerholz’s portrait series of women of the mid-1980s, her iconic urban views and her ethereal, contemplative landscapes from the 1990s. Also included are bookworks and sculptural installations, in which she further explores the medium of photography and other artistic constructions. One installation takes the shape of a traditional museum cabinet and houses some 62 framed photographs, which can be pulled out like drawers, for viewing. Grauerholz’s conceptual interests also extend to new technologies, and her most recent work in the exhibition is a website.

By design, Angela Grauerholz invites the viewer to travel with her on a journey of discovery. Our viewpoint is aligned metaphorically with the photographer’s, whether looking outward from interior spaces, or focused on our shared experience of urban and natural landscapes. Our engagement with the exhibition’s multimedia installations and navigation through the artist’s website echo as well our collective experience of the past, of photography, and of public collections.

An innovative approach to photography

Grauerholz’s early photographs set the tone for her photographic approach and her personal perspective. In her role as flâneuse, camera in hand, she is an observer of contemporary society and its structures. She rejected objective documentary views with their sharp focus and clearly defined image resolution in favour of photographs that are intimate in their viewpoint, the soft focus replicating the blurriness one might obtain using a simple camera. She also set her photographic work apart through the large scale of her prints, thereby positioning them for display within an art gallery.

In later works, Grauerholz considers the significance of photography in relation to collections that might be housed by museums or archives, both personal and public. Photography has the capacity to represent the world around us and to record the past; its collection and organization allow for a range of constructs and interpretations. Using various forms of display, including books, sculptural installations, and a website, Grauerholz reconfigures her own collections of photographs and the reproductions she has gathered over the years to creatively express and shape ideas related to the visual arts and culture of recent history.

Meet the Curator
Thursday, June 3, at 6 pm – Visit the exhibition with Martha Hanna. Free admission.

Meet the Artist
Sunday, September 19, at 12 pm – Visit the exhibition with Angela Grauerholz.
(A presentation will take place in French on the same day at 1:30 pm.) Included with Gallery admission.


Along with the exhibition, the catalogue serves to extend the work of Angela Grauerholz beyond the gallery. Published by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, it is a work of art in itself. It offers some 200 photographs of the artist’s works and installations, as well as three texts exploring her artistic approach. Essays by Martha Hanna, curator of the exhibition, Olivier Asselin, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Film Studies, Université de Montréal, and Marnie Fleming, Curator of Contemporary Art, Oakville Galleries, explore the multiple meanings in Angela Grauerholz’s works and the evolution of her career over the past 25 years. It is available in the NGC’s Bookstore or online at for $50.

About the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

The collection, which comprises over 17,700 photographic works and 144,000 negatives and transparencies, has been developed through purchases, assignments and donations of the best documentary and art photography by Canadian photographers. Almost all the exhibitions organized by the CMCP and displayed in Ottawa are then made available for travel to venues across the country and abroad through the National Gallery of Canada’s On Tour program. For more information, visit

About the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art in the world. In addition, it has pre-eminent collections of Indigenous art, Western and European art from the 14th to the 21st century, American and Asian art, and drawings and photography. Created in 1880, it is among the oldest of Canada’s national cultural institutions. As part of its mandate to make Canadian art accessible across the country, the NGC has one of the largest touring exhibition programs in the world. For more information, visit

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