Artist
Louise Liliefeldt

Image © Louise Liliefeldt, Land of the Living, Rhubarb Festival, 2022. Photo Henry Chan.


South Africa / Canada
www.louiseliliefeldt.com

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Louise Liliefeldt is a Toronto-based performance artist and painter. Liliefeldt’s work has been presented across Canada in a wide array of festivals, platforms and venues including 7A11D International Festival of Performance Art (Toronto), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of York University (Toronto), FADO Performance Art Centre (Toronto), Images Festival (Toronto), LIVE Biennale (Vancouver), Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts (Toronto), Mercer Union (Toronto), Rencontre Internationale Performance D’art (QuĂ©bec City), and Western Front (Vancouver) among many others. Her work has been presented internationally in the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, USA, and Wales. She is a co-foundering member of Toronto Performance Art Collective (TPAC), which produces the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.

In 2016, Liliefeldt was commissioned to create a new performance in the context of the exhibition, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries 1971–1989 at the Art Gallery of Ontario and curated by Wanda Nanibush. Liliefeldt’s performance, entitled What Does It Mean To Forget? was the first in a series of works that focused on the more fragile aspects of the human experience: aging, dementia and death. Her work is predominately concerned with the politics of identity as it intersects with gender, race and class; and seeks to examine the cultural conventions of spectatorship and the links between emotional and 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 circumstances.

Performance
Egalitarian by Louise Liliefeldt

FADO presents Egalitarian, a new work by Louise Liliefeldt, one of Toronto’s premiere performance artists. This work is the first in a major new cycle of performances by the artist entitled DEADICATIONS: A Collection of Live Art Works, as well as being the latest instalment in FADO’s IDea series.

In Egalitarian, influences of pop culture and personal memories intersect as Liliefeldt creates the first in a series of “portraits shaped by ritualistic actions.” This special midnight performance takes place in the artist’s home, revealing a selection of her most private acts in an “intimate, honest, awkward and thoughtful” performance. Egalitarian will unfold through a series of images that respond to a specific set of popular songs. Liliefeldt explains: “I am interested in creating actions that respond to the pace and overall mood of each song while also representing ideas that until now I seemed unable to communicate within my artistic or social practices. They have something to do with deep and very personal opinions and emotions that have long been suppressed.”

Liliefeldt notes her deep connection to those who have influenced her work:

DEADICATIONS takes its inspiration from a handful of individuals whose life on earth was spent dedicated to the same things I believe in. I was profoundly affected by the dedication of these selected individuals, expressed through their chosen lifestyles and the messages they communicated—whether through the lyrics they professed, their various art forms, or the statements made through life altering actions. All were motivated, inspired by or had no choice but to act with all they had, which in some cases was their life. They were all passionately driven by issues related to the politics of race and class. They are artists, writers and musicians who have given me the inspiration and will necessary to become the individual I am today, and the individual I have always been, as I realize little has changed when reflecting on who and what I am as well as why I am. These individuals are physically dead, but the essence of everything they stood for continues.”

Series
IDea

Curatorial Statement by Paul Couillard

Issues of identity are at the centre of IDea, FADO’s multi-year international performance art series. Chris Barker writes that cultural politics are about “the power to name; the power to represent common sense; the power to create ‘official versions’; and the power to represent the legitimate social world.” These powers speak to identity in a territorial, institutionalized framework, but performance practices offer the possibility of turning their presumed weaknesses—contingency, ephemerality and aterritoriality—into strengths, by offering a potentially decolonized, non-institutional forum.

The concept of identity has been at the forefront of art discourse since the 1980s. Performance artists have been particularly concerned with how our various identities are constructed, how they mark us and how they influence self-understanding. At the same time, artists have also used performance tactics to problematize and transform their identities. In recent years, the debate has shifted to examine identity issues in subtler, less didactic ways, using the territory of identity as a ground for complex and often ambivalent readings of subjectivity, hybridity and representation. IDea draws from this growing body of work.

The series considers a broad range of identity labels, including gender, skin colour, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance, familial role, economic status, political affiliation and profession, to name a few of the more obvious possibilities. In blunt terms, the series will circulate around an underlying set of interrelated questions. How do we accept or resist these multiple identities? Which do we choose to embrace, and why? What identity labels are misleading, unhelpful or irrelevant, and in what ways? How do these labels intersect with one another? How do they determine the nature and quality of our lives? How do they contribute to a sense of belonging or alienation?

While these questions inform the series, they are only a contextualizing lens, not a prescription for how individual projects should or will be structured. IDea is not about representation, or the politics of difference, which is to say that the intention is not to assemble a collection that presents one of each kind. We are not encouraging strident political statements (though there is certainly room for them), but rather, featuring works that reveal something about how the creators understand and situate themselves. Along the way, we also hope to track how artists use performance tactics to circumvent prescribed attitudes and behaviours around identity.

IDea seeks to consider a range of bodily identities—physical, social, political, emotional, and spiritual. To provide further context for the series, commissioned critical that respond to each of the performances. These texts will come from an interdisciplinary variety of thinkers in the realms of philosophy, religion, politics and science.


The IDea series presented 12 performance projects between 2005–2007, and was curated by Paul Couillard.

Series Purple

An ode to FADO's history, Series Purple is composed of a collection of purple fragrance materials dating back to the Roman Empire. Dense, intense, and meandering, this fragrance tells us non-linear stories.

Top Notes

huckleberry, violet

Middle Notes

cassis, lilac, heliotrope

Base Notes

orris root, purple sage, labdanum