Graduating Master’s student in Visual and Media Arts (MFA), UQAM, with a concentration in Feminist Studies

Artist: Heidi Barkun

February 7, 2020 - March 13, 2020

Opening: February 6, 2020, 5:30 pm

Artist Heidi Barkun proposes a foray into the world of in vitro fertilization with LET’S GET YOU PREGNANT! Based on the testimonies of women who have gone through unsuccessful in vitro treatments, the exhibition is an invitation to reflect on how identity, science and procreation intersect.

The exhibition

The first “test-tube baby” came into the world over 40 years ago. Since then, over seven million children have been born through in vitro fertilization. Popular culture leads us to believe that every attempt of this biotechnology is successful. In Quebec, stars such as Céline Dion and Julie Snyder have become models of its triumph. However the global success rate is just 27%. LET’S GET YOU PREGNANT! reveals the experience of failure of in vitro fertilization within the same social, political and medical systems that place motherhood at the forefront of women’s lives. An audio and museum installation creates a virtual conversation between 28 participants, including the artist, who have undergone failed in vitro fertilization cycles and have not become mothers.

With chairs arranged in a circle, the exhibition space becomes a site of consciousness-raising. Answering questions about identity, the body, the medical system and failure, participants convey through dialogue the contradictions inherent in the experience of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization. In addition, artefacts from the treatments of 16 of the 28 participants are displayed: vials, syringes, medical documents, baby booties, images of lost embryos, etc. This sensitive exhibition invites the public to hear these 28 women, and to rethink the intersections of science, socially-defined roles and procreation.

With the participation of: Aconia, Andréa, Anna, Arlene, Brigitte, Cristina, Delphine, Doha, Eliane, Emilie, Eve, Geneviève, Isobel, Julie, Linda, Lindsay, Lolo, Magalie, Marie-Eve, Marie-Hélène, Mica, Myrianne, Nicole, Princessmeg, Sylann, Térésa, Thalie

The artist

Heidi Barkun is a master’s candidate in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Feminist Studies (UQAM). As a transdisciplinary artist, she explores the constructions of identity through a practice in site-oriented installation, using voice, text, objects and place as means of resistance against normative definitions. The focus on infertility in her recent works follows four years of failed in vitro fertilization treatments.

Barkun obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Anatomy and Cell Biology (McGill University, 1995) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction (Concordia University, 1999). She is the recipient of grants from several organizations, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Réseau québécois en études féministes (RéQEF). The many scholarships she has received include the Bourse de l’Institut de recherches et d’études féministes (IREF) – maitrise (2018), the Bourse Initiatives de la Faculté des arts (2018), the Bourse Claude-Courchesne en arts visuels et médiatiques (2017), the Bourse Anita-Caron – IREF (2017) and two scholarships for excellence in graduate studies (FARE) (2017, 2018). Her work has been shown in Canada, the United States, Europe and South America and is included in the National Bank Collection and the Senvest Collection.



Video tour