My work of the last ten years or so has dealt with language and uses English, Spanish and French interchangeably. Having lived in Mexico City for thirteen years (1991-94, 1998-2007), I began to work with language as power, using carnival, jouissance (joy) andfiesta (party) to question its authority. Writer Mikhail Bakhtin, living in communist Russia a generation ago, said that laughter belonged to the capitalist West for it was the language of subversion, satire and parody used to overthrow oppressive social structures.

Later, in the sixties and seventies, Russian artists and intellectuals were forced underground to avoid persecution from the Communist Party. Nightly meetings were known as Tusovka, which literally means 'to shuffle' but was slang for 'hanging out' in convivial environments. Fuelled by carnival, jouissance and fiesta, banned European books would be translated each night: pages would be written by hand and passed around, or translated out loud.

My installations are akin to tusovkian meetings: gatherings that lack identifiable structure and hierarchies for the participants, and work that employs popular supports such as posters, flyers and photocopies. Not only do the environments I create tend to look like parties or school rooms, but the pieces often invite the public to touch or interact with them. Employing the visual aesthetics of clip art and popular culture I encourage ‘indiscipline’, which W. J. T. Mitchell calls the moment of chaos and wonder. 

These interests were formed while living and working in Mexico City. My work has been influenced by popular culture there, and it manifests the aesthetic influence of that country. Much as the tusovchiks translated out loud, I have been translating these ideas back into the Canadian environment where I now live. 


Dianne Pearce (St. Thomas, Ontario) holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and an MFA from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She has received grants from the Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores de México, the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Mexico), Foreign Affairs Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Bank of Missions (International Academic Relations Program, DFAIT). Dianne has participated in two artist residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She has exhibited extensively in artist-run centres in her native Canada, as well as in museums in both Canada and Mexico. Internationally, she has shown in Paris, Madrid, Marbella, Milan, Miami, Chile and Argentina. Dianne curated Anatomical Permutations: Ten Canadian Artists for the 1998 Festival Internacional Cervantino (Guanajuato), Sticks and Stones in 2005 for the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and co-curated TransAMERICAS: A sign, a symbol, a situation for Museum London in 2016. She taught post-secondary art for ten years in Mexico City. She is currently Cultural Coordinator for the Town of Oakville.    

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