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Frenkel, Vera
The Secret Life of Cornelia Lumsden: A Remarkable Story; Part I: Her Room in Paris
1979

The Secret Life of Cornelia Lumsden is the umbrella title for a series of major works (1979-1986) exploring the power of narrative and the contingent nature of truth by staging scenarios and documentation relating to the life, work and fate of a brilliant – though entirely fictional – expatriate Canadian writer. Part 1: Her Room in Paris reconstructs the bed-sitting room in which Lumsden lived before her mysterious disappearance between the wars. The installation includes furnishings and a 60-minute videotape of faux testimonials. The piece is a seminal work in Vera Frenkel’s oeuvre; it establishes themes that dominate her ongoing investigations: exile and absence, and the role of myth in historical truth and fiction. Part 1: Her Room in Paris exposes entrenched tendencies of Canadian culture: the artist-in-exile (absence as a condition of acceptance), frail hero myths, humour, deception, and latent colonialism.Vera Frenkel is a senior artist who has the distinction of having remained at the forefront of innovative art practices in new media for the past twenty-five years. Based in Toronto, she has had a sustained impact on art discourses in Canada and beyond.

 
Frenkel, Vera
born Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia)
The Secret Life of Cornelia Lumsden: A Remarkable Story; Part I: Her Room in Paris
1979
video installation
installation dimensions variable
Purchase, Chancellor Richardson Memorial Fund, 2003
46-043

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