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Vera Frenkel

Cartographie d'une pratique / Mapping a Practice


The process leading to the exhibition Vera Frenkel : cartographie d'une pratique/Vera Frenkel: Mapping a Practice has been both rich and rewarding, with many collaborators helping me turn each design and production step into reality. I must begin by thanking Paul Banfield, archivist at Queen's University, which houses the Vera Frenkel fonds. He welcomed the project with open arms, offering me unlimited access to both the Frenkel archives and fonds. Heather Home, who oversees the fonds, was an ally throughout; without her invaluable help during my research, neither the exhibition nor the catalogue would have seen the light of day. In fact, the generosity of the Queen's University Archives went far beyond providing document access and loans, with Heather graciously delivering the archives in person, courtesy of the University, and including in her delivery a number of pieces of computer equipment. This thoughtful support also extended to allowing us to reproduce the photos illustrating this catalogue.

I also wish to thank Alain Depocas and Sophie Le-Phat Ho of the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology for their moral, intellectual and financial support from the earliest stages of the venture onwards. The Foundation also kindly assigned me a research assistant, Liza Petiteau, a PhD student in art history at UQAM; I applaud her for her meticulous work and insightful ideas. Alain was one of my first partners in the project. He generously offered to create a Web site dedicated to the exhibition and hosted on the Foundation's server. The site was designed by the DLF's highly adept Webmaster, Ludovic Carpentier, who integrated catalogue texts and illustrations into the site as well as photos of the exhibition and links to other sites featuring the works of Vera Frenkel.

Jean Gagnon, director of SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art at the time my project was selected by the programming committee, offered me his unflagging support right from the beginning. I wish to sincerely thank him for believing in this singular exercise and transmitting his enthusiasm to his successors, Alan Conter and Katia Meir, who laid the foundation for the production of both the exhibition and catalogue. Marie-Josée Parent and Anne-Marie Belley, respectively exhibition coordinator and communication coordinator for the SBC, provided me with exceptional support and assistance throughout the process. Konrad Skreta, technician, programmer and loyal collaborator of Vera Frenkel, was of invaluable help in mounting the exhibition, both in Montreal and from a distance. I am also grateful to Michèle Thériault, director of the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia University, for loaning us display cases for the exhibition of archival documents from the Frenkel fonds.

Amy Marshall Furness, archivist at the Art Gallery of Ontario, who is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the Vera Frenkel archives, offered an inside perspective that was of enormous aid to me. I also wish to thank Cory McAdam and Jennifer Couëlle for their thorough and professional text revisions.

Graphic designer Dominique Mousseau has created a publication that captures the essence of the project and the work of Vera Frenkel with intelligence and finesse and that skilfully showcases the many contributed texts.

It would be remiss of me not to underscore the collaboration of the catalogue's authors, who have so eloquently added meaning and depth to this endeavour. I believe that their texts will contribute inestimably to the analysis of Vera Frenkel's work and to the efforts of anyone seeking to expand their knowledge of her archival fonds. I therefore thank prefacers Paul Banfield and Katia Meir and authors Anne Bénichou, Alain Depocas, Heather Home, Stephen Schofield, and of course Vera Frenkel herself, all of whom have brought their unique points of view to this undertaking.

Vera Frenkel, the focus and subject of this exhibition, has been a collaborator whose generosity knows no bounds. Without her input, the project would have remained a simple idea. She welcomed me to the intimacy of her studio with warmth, openness, precision and humour. The time we spent working together, corresponding, and speaking on the phone was rich in discovery and animated discussion and is something I will always remember. I cannot thank this exceptional artist and woman enough for allowing me into her captivating world.

This project would not have been possible without the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art, Queen's University Archives, and Daniel Langlois Foundation. I thank them all.

Sylvie Lacerte, Curator and Editor

© 2010 FDL