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Matrix 215: Althea Thauberger

February 6 – April 10, 2005

First Solo Exhibition in the U.S. for Vancouver-based Video Installation Artist

Berkeley, CA, December 9, 2004 – The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents MATRIX 215: Althea Thauberger A Memory Lasts Forever, a video installation with accompanying photographs on view in the MATRIX Gallery from February 6 through April 10, 2005. The work of Althea Thauberger, a Vancouver-based artist, addresses such diverse themes as popular culture, teenage angst and self-awareness, romantic ideals of nature, and the role gender plays in forming identity. Thauberger's work in photography, video and performance art is often spurred by a particular personal experience in which she finds larger social implications. Curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator, this is the artist's first solo exhibition in the United States. Thauberger's work also showed in the touring group exhibition Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art, on view in San Francisco at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in 2004.

A Memory lasts Forever is a film-to-video installation that takes its title from the lyrics of a song written by one of the nonprofessional actors with whom the artist collaborated. Thauberger creates her collaborative productions primarily with female youth who respond to her newspaper advertisements and calls to audition. For this new work, Thauberger auditioned twenty-five girls who responded to a casting call distributed to musical theater groups in Greater Vancouver. Four were selected, and the group met weekly for six months to create the new work.

The story, drawn from an experience that lingers from Thauberger's youth, is performed as a fragmented narrative with four individualized versions of the same event, involving an accident that forces the teens to confront death in the discovery of a dead dog. "The heart of the work," says Thauberger, "is in my interaction with the girls and in the fact that they are interpreting my own story."

"Acknowledging the theatricality of her plot, Thauberger offers stereotypical elements of 'enlightenment': abjection, moral confrontation, and spiritual redemption," writes Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson. "The inclusion of issues such as religion and politics, previously seen as taboo in art, in the work of many contemporary artists suggests a return to the 'personal,' viable not only as content but also as an optimistic means to effect positive social change. Thauberger herself may be subtly highlighting the ways in which people find consolation for personal tragedy, and the potential such events hold for transformation."

A Memory Lasts Forever was created in 2004 in collaboration with participants Jessica Griffiths, Gemma Isaac, Natalie Needham, and Kaoru Matsushita. Thauberger presented the work in the 2004 Sobey Art Award exhibition at the Art Galley of Nova Scotia in Halifax as one of five finalists for the 2004 Sobey Art Award, Canada's pre-eminent prize for a young Canadian artist under 40.

Althea Thauberger was born in 1970 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She earned degrees from Concordia University (BFA, 2000), and the University of Victoria in British Columbia (MFA, 2002). She has presented her video installations in solo exhibitions at La Centrale, Montreal; WARC Gallery, Toronto; and Truck Gallery, Calgary; as well as Open Space, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Group exhibitions include Fear Fair, Gallery MUU, Helsinki, Finland; soundtracks, Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK (2003) and Chisenhale Gallery, London (2003); raum für aktuelle kunst, Berlin (2004); and the traveling exhibition Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art, touring to the CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and Seattle Art Museum.

Public Programs
Artists' Talks: Althea Thauberger, Mark Manders
Sunday, February 6, 4 p.m.
Gallery 1 and 3

MATRIX artists Althea Thauberger and Mark Manders, with concurrent exhibitions in Galleries 1 and 3, talk individually about their work with MATRIX Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson and answer questions from museum visitors. Reception follows.

For further exhibition notes, visit the exhibition program page.