Failure | Cynthia Boisvert | October 4 to October 26, 1991


"Failure" took shape during a walkthrough at a local laboratory which concluded in an area where they kept tanks of trout fry. Adjacent to this was a small room in which experiments were conducted on these creatures. Here, fry are placed in plastic five gallon pails, each containing samples of industrial effluent. The arrangement of the room was comprised of floor to ceiling tin sheets which was lit by fluorescent light. The result was oppresive despite the knowledge that this room was built specifically to comply with regularations regarding the humane euthanasia of animals.

One such rule required that the door close automatically, effectively blocking the fish in the holding take from seeing those dying in the pails, and another entailed the covering of these pails with cheesecloth to stop fish trapped in effluent from committing suicide. 

Death is a subject that has directed the course of Boisvert's visual practice. The death of her grandmother made her realize that one's own process of dying begins when one is witness to the death of another. This is a moment which, for a brief period, all that seems intangible becomes clear. The architecture of this space stands as an example of our institutionalized concept of death. 

Cynthia Boisvert

Cynthia Boisvert holds a diploma from the Alberta College of Art, where she graduated in 1986 with distinction as a Painting major with a minor in Sculpture.