De la vie au lit

Curator: Sarah Heussaff

Artists: Cindy Baker, Tamyka Bullen, Liz Crow, Octavia Rose Hingle, Salima Punjani, Rea Sweets

February 23, 2024 - April 6, 2024

Opening: February 22, 2024, 5:30 pm

Galerie de l’UQAM is off to a strong start of the year with the group exhibition De la vie au lit. In this project, the bed and its bedside become spaces of transmission, the ultimate sharing of intergenerational trauma, and romantic or amicable moments of care. Going through the experience induces new relationships to the body and to choreographed gestures. The assemblage of different art mediums also responds to the capitalist injunction of hyper-productivity, which stigmatizes bodies that are lying down and/or chronically incapacitated.

The exhibition

The time spent in bed, whether temporary, occasional, or permanent, offers rest and alleviates the pain or weariness caused by sickness, disability, or depression. In the collective unconscious, and due to its frequent occurrence in private or domestic space, bed rest tends to be an intimate activity. Indeed, Western philosophy, art history and terminology have long associated bed rest and the physiological act of lying down with lasciviousness, laziness, or idleness. They have also persistently relegated private spaces to the realms of apolitical individuality. Following ableist and capitalist expectations, which favour mind-body entities that are not disabled or sick, and workers, the bed should strictly –for those who are entitled to it– be a place to recover for the sake of greater productivity and reproductivity. They want our bodies and minds to be fertile, steady, on their feet, and at work.

However, considering experiences in bed solely from a performative point of view ignores the realities of disability and sickness, for which the bed is not only a tool for (re)productivity but also a place of the everyday–where one eats, sleeps, enjoys leisure time, or even works and creates. The bed is also a space for encounters, both online and offline in which we communicate outward and inside.

The artists invited to the exhibition De la vie au lit embody diverse and intersectional realities and identities. Their practices address, in a cross-disciplinary and creative manner, themes related to the experience of life in bed, encompassing rest and/or resistance to norms. De la vie au lit is simultaneously an object, a bedside, a room of one’s own, a pretext or a material and symbolic space to collectively experience testimony, contemplation, rest, and resistance. The artworks featured in the exhibition exist both physically in the gallery space and online. To tackle the issue of inaccessibility, a challenge not immune to the art world, several sensory approaches have been designed to offer one or more ways of experiencing the works in alignment with our individualities.

About the artists

Cindy Baker is a contemporary artist based in Western Canada whose work engages with queer, gender, race, disability, fat, and art discourses. Committed to ethical community engagement and critical social enquiry, Baker’s interdisciplinary research-based practice draws upon 25 years working, volunteering, and organizing in the communities of which she is part. She moves fluidly between the arts, humanities, and social sciences, emphasizing the theoretical and conceptual over material concerns. Baker holds an MFA from the University of Lethbridge where she received a SSHRC grant for her research in performance in the absence of the artist’s body; she has exhibited and performed across Canada and internationally. Helping found important community and advocacy organizations over the course of her career, Baker continues to maintain volunteer leadership roles across her communities.

Tamyka Bullen is a Deaf artist and performer. As a social justice advocate, she has volunteered and worked with youth, Deaf women, immigrant and LGBTQ communities. In 2015, she performed in RARE Theatre’s latest production After the Blackout Created by Judith Thompson. Among her other achievements, Tamyka Bullen took part in the 2020 exhibition Hidden at Toronto’s Tangled Arts + Disability Gallery. This same year, she performed Spiral Life as part of the Rhubarb Festival and at SOUND OFF festival, in 2022. At the end of 2023, she performed in Montreal alongside members of the black Deaf women’s collective Survivance as part of the performance evenings Dis/ability diversity sets culture in motion! produced by the Canada Research Chair on Cultural Citizenship of Deaf People and Cultural Equity Practices.

Liz Crow is a disabled person and artist-activist working in performance, film, audio and text, drawn to the power of creative work as a tool for change. A former NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) fellow and founder of Roaring Girl Productions, she has completed a practice-led PhD in extending activist reach and influence. Liz’s work has shown at Tate Modern, British Film Institute, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and on the Trafalgar Square Fourth Plinth. Works include the touring film installation Resistance: which way the future? which explored the Nazi programme of mass-murder that targeted disabled people, reflecting on what this history means for us now, and Figures, a mass-sculptural durational performance that made visible the human cost of the UK government’s austerity programme and urged action against it. Liz is currently working on a creative response to climate and disability with the University of Exeter’s Sensing Climate project.

Octavia Rose Hingle (he/she/they) is a Bay Area born & raised choreographer and installation artist with a physical impairment. Their performance work centers access as an aesthetic portal to visions of past and future ancestors that travel through the present moment. Most recently, their project Crip Ecstasy brought together a disabled and non-disabled cast of performance artists, visual designers, DJs and access providers to conjure new blueprints for what a nightlife space can be. Octavia holds a BA in dance from Middlebury College, and has studied with ODC/Dance, the UCLA Dancing Disability Lab, AXIS Dance Company’s Choreo-Lab Fellowship, and the Headlong Performance Institute. They have presented work with Counterpulse, Roots Division, 2727 California Street, Queering Dance Festival, LEVYdance and SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts.

Salima Punjani is a multi-sensory artist whose work is rooted in relational aesthetics. Central to her creations is the aspiration to craft environments that foster receptivity and connection. Her recent projects explore themes such as the dynamics of isolation and resocialization associated with the COVID-19 pandemic; the act of resting as a form of resistance against systemic injustices; and the potential of hijacking medical data to uncover human connections rather than highlighting anomalies that divide us.

Rea Sweets is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist. Through tangible, performance, and interactive mediums, Sweets explores the cosmic enchantments and hindrances of digitality, circling between intimacy, identity, and the imagination. She has worked with Margin of Eras Gallery, Akin Collective and exhibited works at Charles Street Video, Trinity Square Video, Dames Making Games, Myseum of Toronto and Gladstone House. She is a co-founder of PRUDEmag, a zine for spinsters, rule-makers, asexuals, relationship anarchists, and all others refusing a sex necessary culture. The zine reclaims “prude” as a celebration of autonomy and boundary setting, and a liberation in which “no” is sacred.

About the curator

Sarah Heussaff holds a Master’s degree in curating from Université Rennes 2, France. From 2014 to 2019, she began research in the field of critical disability studies via online chronicles. Her research is then presented in France and abroad through conferences, workshops and an exhibition (Autonomous Spaces, Ateliers du Vent-Rennes, 2017) that introduces, alongside Zig Blanquer, practices of Disability/crip arts in the field of visual arts in France. At the end of 2019, she begins PhD research in the communications program at UQAM. In 2024, her research, funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Société et culture (FRQSC), focused on the emergence of disability arts in relation to disability activist movements and accessible curating. In her research method and in her curatorial practice, she places great importance on those who have expertise through experience.

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Activités liées

Bedside reading

April 2, 2024

Online via Zoom French; written material available in French and English on Framapad Free admission On April 2, 2024, exhibition curator Sarah Heussaff invites the public to a reading in bed within the Bedding Out installation, which will be broadcast online. She will read the script from the video featured in the exhibition and the […]

Guided Tour: De la vie au lit

March 8, 2024

Galerie de l’UQAM French Free admission An informal visit of the exhibition De la vie au lit is organized with the curator Sarah Heussaff. This activity will be an opportunity to interact with the public around the themes of the exhibition.

Pillow talk with Salima Punjani

March 2, 2024

Galerie de l’UQAM French, LSQ Free admission On Saturday, March 2, 2024, Salima Punjani will host a public gathering to present her artistic approach and activate the installation exhibited in the Galerie. Salima Punjani invites us to slow down, daydream and rest, as a collective response to the pressures of productivity. The artist believes that […]

Performances by Tamyka Bullen and Cindy Baker

February 24, 2024

Galerie de l’UQAM invites the public to an afternoon of performances presented as part of the exhibition De la vie au lit. Performance by Tamyka Bullen Saturday, February 24, 2024, 12:30 – 1:15 pm Galerie de l’UQAM ASL, translation read in French by Sendy-Loo Emmanuel Free Admission In the performance, the bed and its bedside […]

Presentation of the exhibition and public activities in American Sign Language (ASL)

Video tour