Maryse Lariviere: Orgazing

Or Gallery
November 18 2018 – January 19 2019

Installation views, Orgazing, Or Gallery, Vancouver. Photos by Dennis Ha.

Curated by Weiyi Chang.
Orgazing marks Montréal-based artist Maryse Larivière’s first exhibition in Vancouver. An exhibition in three parts, Orgazing draws on the histories and cultural contexts of women’s literary writing and experimental film, and figures desire as a point of reference through which to invoke new paradigms of knowledge acquisition and production. Centred on the tribulations of fictional female protagonist, Orgazing analyses the constructed character of knowledge and objectivity, the possibility of new theories of epistemology, and the uneven power dynamics that certain forms of knowledge perpetuate.

On a rocky outcrop off the shores of Scotland, an unnamed protagonist conducts research into new modes of communication under the watchful eyes of her captors. A slim red volume contains the protagonist’s intimate letters to her lover and comrade, detailing the speculative world they inhabit and the nature of their transgressive research. As her captivity persists, the protagonist’s words dissolve from familiar phonetic arrangements into whistles, warbles, chirps and trills – pure sound and vibration exceeding the limits of language. Broaching a world of auditory pleasure, the protagonist elaborates a new regime of scientific research, one that articulates a relational intimacy that refigures the dynamic between subject and object, self and other.

A 16mm film installation illustrates fragments of the protagonist’s journey, oscillating between her gaze and the surveillance cameras that track her movements through her concrete jail and the rugged island terrain. Projected from an artificial rock emitting a single beam of light, the film installation moves across different perspectives and reinforces the multiple subject positions that constitute and produce knowledge. A new 16mm film further details the protagonist’s novel research methodologies and elaborates the speculative future she inhabits.

Maryse Larivière is an artist, writer and scholar whose work crosses sculpture, performance, collage, text, and film. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University, where her research focuses on women’s textual production. Larivière has exhibited widely in Canada, including Optica, Montreal; Untitled Art Society, Calgary; DNA Art Space, London; The Rooms, St. John’s; and Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff. Her writing has been published in periodicals such as Canadian Art and C Magazine, and she has written three books including Orgazing (2017), Hummzinger (2016), and Where Wild Flowers Grow (2015).

Funding Acknowledgement

Orgazing produced with the support of the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec, VIVO Media Arts Centre, Western Front, Untitled Art Society (Calgary), and CCA Glasgow.

Weiyi Chang’s curatorial residency was generously supported by the British Columbia Arts Council’s Early Career Development Grant.

Weiyi Chang (she/her) is an independent writer and curator. Currently the 2023-24 Writer-in-Residence at Gallery 44, Toronto, Weiyi’s work and research gravitates around the nexus between climate change and capitalism, and the legal, political, and social forces that sanction environmental violence.

Weiyi was a 2019–20 Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. She holds a MA in Art History (Critical & Curatorial Studies) from the University of British Columbia and a BA (Honours) Major in Art History and Major in Philosophy from Western University.

Weiyi’s work has been made possible thanks to support from the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, Killy Foundation, and the Audain Foundation.

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