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Phantasms of Interpretation: Raphaëlle de Groot's Portraits de clients


Phantasms of Interpretation: Raphaëlle de Groot's Portraits de clients

Rodriguez, Pablo (2011) Phantasms of Interpretation: Raphaëlle de Groot's Portraits de clients. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Portraits de clients (2007) is the title of a performative intervention presented by Raphaëlle de Groot (b. 1974) inside a disused bank building in downtown Ottawa. In this work, de Groot invited visitors to engage with her in the creation of “blind” collaborative portraits of past clients of the bank. Building on my experience of this work, this thesis examines Portraits de clients in relation to its immediate critical and artistic context. A series of entries analyzing the intervention’s relational procedures and somatic effects, as well as its complex relation to its institutional context, serve to bring the most important features of the work into relief.
This thesis also queries the stakes involved when one’s attachment to an object—here, a Polaroid portrait produced as part of de Groot’s intervention—becomes a key factor in art historical learning and research. Against this backdrop, discussions of the photographic punctum and the phantasm, of the fetish and the souvenir, of “un-mastery” and representational transformation, expand current conceptions of the artist’s oeuvre, while opening new avenues for thinking about interpretative desire and critical intent.
As the attached subject in question, I draw on W. J. T. Mitchell’s notion of the “metapicture” and Michael Ann Holly’s idea of “prefiguration” to consider de Groot’s employment of ethnographic and participatory artistic methods. Finding these theoretical approaches to be at once useful and restrictive, I argue for an understanding of Portraits de clients as a vantage point from which to consider the current convergence of artistic and scholarly modes of research.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Rodriguez, Pablo
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Thesis Supervisor(s):Langford, Martha
Keywords:Art History; Photography Theory; Performance art; Artistic interventions
ID Code:35803
Deposited On:17 Nov 2011 20:51
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:35
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