Photo : With the permission of Angela Grauerholz, 2019.

The Empty S(h)elf

An exhibition by Angela Grauerholz

From October 30, 2019 - January 25, 2020

Opening reception: Friday, November 1st from 6 pm to 8 pm


The Empty S(h)elf is an exhibition by artist Angela Grauerholz that explores the book’s space through texts, typographies and pictures. It is a research-exploration on the object of the book – as content and tool of knowledge on its cultural function today, its possible future and its rich past – and on the “construction of the self” (artistic) through its reading process. Gathering these different themes, this exhibition furthers Grauerholz’s reflections on the archive as a potential space for creative expression and the birth of the subject.


In the title The Empty S(h)elf the word ‘empty’ connotes ‘absence,’ and the play on words in the word ‘s(h)elf’ refers to the fusing of two very different ideas, that of the empty library, a dystopian image of the future of the book, and that of the empty self, suggesting an inner void. On the other hand, to recognize the construction of a person’s knowledge or self through reading, dialoguing, discourse or writing, and the construction of the content of the book through the very same activities, is to acknowledge each entity as additive and evolutive.


Artist/photographer and designer, Angela Grauerholz was a full professor at the School of Design at the Université du Québec à Montréal until 2017, where she taught typography and photography since 1988. From 2008 to 2012, she was directed the Design Center of the Université du Québec à Montréal. She also has a practice in contemporary art and has participated in both national and international exhibitions. She has taken part in numerous international events, including the Sydney Biennial in Australia (1990), Documenta IX in Cassel, Germany (1992), and Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, USA (1995). ), and the Biennale de Montréal (2004). Recipient of several awards in graphic design, she won the Paul-Émile Borduas Prize in 2006, followed in 2014 by the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts and the prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award in 2015. In addition to her photographic work, she has been interested since the beginning of the 1990s in photographic archives. She sees a process where the notions of memory, space and place intervene.