The project titled Privation (2001) developed out of an event in 1999 when, as a consequence of a fire in our home, my husband and I lost almost our entire library, representing some twenty-five years of collecting. Inevitably the images of the charred remains of books remind us of libraries destroyed by fire, war, and cultural hatred, from the burning of the Great Library of Alexandria by Julius Cesar in 48–47 BCE, to the Nazis’ burning of “degenerate literature” on the night of Thursday, March 16, 1937 in Nuremburg, to the more recent “ethnic cleansing” of all the libraries in Kosovo. These calamitous tragedies have forever erased histories, knowledge, and identities, both personal and cultural. For the project I have scanned the front and back covers of a number of books damaged by the fire, leaving their content either hidden from view or, in some cases, alluded to through a title, a word, or part of an image. The images here stem from a small series of pages treated in the same manner.
Angela Grauerholz has participated in numerous international events of distinction, including the Biennale of Sydney (Australia), documenta IX (Kassel, Germany), and Carnegie International (Pittsburgh). Solo exhibitions of her work have been organized by the Westfälischer Kunstverein (Münster, Germany), the MIT List Visual Arts Center (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York), and others. Her Privation series of photographs was exhibited, among other venues, at the Biennale de Montréal (2002), the Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver); the Olga Korper Gallery (Toronto); and the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. In 2010, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography organized a retrospective of her work at the National Gallery of Canada, which then toured to the University of Toronto Art Centre. Her work is in many collections in Canada, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and in the USA and France. Grauerholz received the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 2006, the Governor General’s Award for the Arts in 2014, and the Scotiabank Photography Award in 2015.