Louise Liliefeldt

Image Credit: Louise Liliefeldt. Kitchen Dutch (Part 2). 2008. Photo by Henry Chan. 

Louise Liliefeldt is a Toronto-based performance artist and painter. Her work has been described as "iconographic portraits" and is predominately concerned with the politics of identity as it intersects with gender, race and class. She examines the cultural conventions of spectatorship and the links between emotional/psychological states and physical experience. The methodology of her performance art practice is shaped by the notion of always taking into consideration the significance of changes in circumstance.

The length of Liliefeldt's performances is often determined by the context, the environment or 'situation' in which she performs. Other times, the duration of a piece depends on the difficulty of her chosen actions or lack thereof. When performing, Liliefeldt's body becomes a space. The person or self that she is everyday becomes a metaphor along with those objects or materials she has chosen to represent various themes. No matter the site, Liliefeldt takes into consideration one or all of the following; the daily use, history, size, shape and materials that make the space what it is. As an artist she tends to employ a space to assist in realizing a chosen idea while there are times when a space has a profound influence on her by which there are significant changes in her original idea. She is aware that it is her being employed by the space.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa with a lineage of relatives from Madagascar, Namibia, Germany, Zulu and Dutch it is easy to understand why issues of identity are vital in her artist practice. Living in a city as multicultural as Toronto is something she takes into consideration, as context plays an important role in the work she presents. This influence of her heritage is also apparent in her use of symbols, primary colors and natural materials. Further influences include her appreciation of Italian, Latin and Eastern European horror films, surrealism and African cinema.

Liliefeldt has been instrumental in setting up and organizing performance art events and workshops since the early 1990s as a collective member of the Shakewell Performance Art Collective, a committee member with Pleasure Dome Film & Video as well as being a co-founder and current steering committee member of 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival. From 1993 to 1999 Liliefeldt was the Distribution Manager at Vtape; she also spent two years with the Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre as the Tour Coordinator for their 35th Anniversary National Tour. She has served on juries for the Toronto Arts Council, OCAD, Images International Film & Video Festival and the Canada Council for the Arts. She has taught performance art at the University of Toronto as a Sessional Lecturer. Liliefeldt's work has been presented across Canada, in the U.S., Poland, Turkey and Wales.


List of Works