Halifax Collection, 1971 - 1974

Basel 2019
mfc-michèle didier, P.P.O.W
Mixed Media
8 films, black-and-white, sound; ranging from 1’23” to 8’50”; 39 photographs and works on paper
Martha Wilson spent four seminal years in Halifax, Nova Scotia, from 1970 to 1974, during which she created a groundbreaking body of work that probes and grapples with constructions and manifestations of feminism, identity, and self-presentation. Trained in English Literature, Wilson was teaching at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design when she became fascinated by the intersection of text and image. During this fecund period, Wilson created photographs, works on paper, and filmed performances that reveal the contestations inherent in feminist and socially engaged practices, paralleling the ways that identity and appearance are projected and negotiated. A Portfolio of Models (1974), focuses on fictive appearances, transforming herself with makeup, costume, and posture to challenge how identity is constructed, recognized, and socially negotiated. Wilson was one of the first artists to explore the effects of ‘camera presence’ in self-representation, using masquerade as a form of resistance, manipulating her internal sense of self via her outward appearance. In addition to her work as an artist, Wilson is heralded for over 40 years of programming at the non-profit space Franklin Furnace. Captivating