Real Tears: Christine D’Onofrio

Deluge Contemporary Art, Victoria, BC

By Christine Clark
Christine D’Onofrio is an artist and educator who works as an instructor at UBC and is well regarded for a body of curiously wry works of photography, video, printmaking and art books. D’Onofrio cites Andrea Fraser as an influence: a performance artist and professor at the University of California, famous for the 2009 video Untitled, in which she explicitly conflates the commercialization of art and prostitution. It was watching a tearful Fraser, reminiscing about her mother during a panel discussion on art and feminism, which inspired D’Onofrio’s Real Tears, a series of three rainbow holograms showing one image each of a crumpled, tear stained tissue.
The tissues are also representative of the three living generations of women in D’Onofrio’s family: herself, her mother and her grandmother, which adds layers of complexity to the project, especially when viewed with the past several decades of feminist action, hope and disappointment in mind. Real tears are shed for all kinds of reasons, and even fake tears may be necessary to highlight emotional pain and effect change. Since the holograms must be viewed from an exact angle with the right lighting, the crumpled tissues are difficult to photograph and even potentially invisible to the eye, which when it comes to tears, unfortunately, is often seen as a virtue.
Wil Aballe Art Projects (WAAP), the Vancouver-based guest curator and gallerist, was invited to program a show for Deluge and proposed an exhibit of Christine D’Onofrio’s work, which, as he writes, “is poetic, affecting and often employs humour as a strategy.” A selection from her back catalogue, including Falling Woman, Joke Posters and the Feminist Joke Book, are to be shown alongside her new and very provocative project, Real Tears.

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