Home » News: Françoise Sullivan Wins Gershon Iskowitz Prize

News: Françoise Sullivan Wins Gershon Iskowitz Prize


Luis Jacob, A Dance for Those of Us Whose Hearts Have Turned to Ice, Based on the Choreography of Françoise Sullivan and the Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth (With Sign-Language Supplement), 2007. Image: flickr.com

Françoise Sullivan’s rather significant contribution to visual arts in Canada was re-acknowledged by artist Luis Jacob when he referenced her in his video installation A Dance for Those of Us Whose Hearts Have Turned to Ice, Based on the Choreography of Françoise Sullivan and the Sculpture of Barbara Hepworth (With Sign-Language Supplement) (2007) that was shown at last year’s highly regarded art exhibit Documenta 12, in Kassel Germany.

As a recipient of the 2008 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Sullivan will receive a $25,000 award and her work will be featured in a temporary exhibition at the AGO in 2009.


Françoise Sullivan, Danse dans la neige, 1948. Photographs by Maurice Perron, gelatin silver prints.
Image: canadacouncil.ca

(The AGO is looking better and better. Let’s hope they leave the ‘old’ gallery behind in programming, energy and architecture. Stay tuned for VoCA’s interview with AGO Director Matthew Teitelbaum.)

The AGO’s permanent collection includes four of Sullivan’s works. Most recently acquired is a series of 17 vintage photographs titled, Danse de la neige (1948). Staging her movements against the stark white landscape of Canadian winter, the 17 photographs reveal her action involving the body as a liberated and expressive agent in the landscape.

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Françoise Sullivan, Chute concentrique. Image: fanset8.blogspot.com

Sullivan was part of Les Automatistes, the avant-garde movement led by Paul-Émile Borduas, and was a signatory of the group’s 1948 manifesto, Rufus Global. The manifesto sought to liberate the subconscious through abstraction. It was these ideals and her ambition as a dancer that led to the production of such works as Danse de la neige (1948).


Les femmes du refus global, by Patricia Smart.

Buy the book HERE.

Françoise Sullivan was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1925. She has lived an extraordinary life in the arts, well known at the outset as a dancer and choreographer. Since then, it has been her work as a painter, sculptor and photographer that has defined her long illustrious career. Sullivan’s work is held in the Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal, the Musée du Quebec, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Gallery of Canada. In 2001 she received the Order of Canada and in 2005 was a recipient of the Governor General’s Award in the Visual and Media Arts.

For more on Ms. Sullivan, please click HERE.

One Response to “News: Françoise Sullivan Wins Gershon Iskowitz Prize”

  1. Bill says:

    There was a good interview with Francoise Sullivan in a recent issue of Border Crossings. A little bit of it can be found here: http://bordercrossingsmag.com/issue106/article/551

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