"Silent Movie/Film Muet" video 1994
Freda Guttman is a native of Montreal and she has worked as a printmaker, photographer and laterally, as an installation artist. In more than forty years of active research and practice, her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States and internationally. Guttman has over the years made her art practice and her political activism come together in a series of installations, in particular, one about the genocide of the Mayan people, Guatemala! The Road of War, and an installation concerning the global system of food production and distribution, The Global Menu, both of which travelled widely in Canada. In each venue she worked with solidarity, church and interested organizations to reach audiences other than art ones.
She has produced two installations having to do with Palestine/Israel: Diminish Your Cup and Two Family Albums: Canada Park. From 1994 to 2004, she worked on a continuum of five installations about the 20th century called, Notes From the 20th. The writings and the life of Walter Benjamin have served as a template for these works, in particular his theories of the phantasmagoric myths we hold of history as progress.
In recent years she has mainly worked outside the gallery system, making posters, pop-ups, lino prints, and embossments that she sells at book fairs. She is a member of POPIR, an organization that works on housing issues in south west Montreal. She does a column for their publication called "A People's History of Montreal". She is involved as a foot soldier in the doings of many activist groups in Montreal such as Solidarity Across Borders. Freda participated in two Embassy Cultural House: International Women's Day Exhibition March 3 - March 21, 1984; and the Silent Auction: A Benefit Exhibition, May 11 - June 3, 1989. Please visit her website for more information.
Banner image caption: "What is She Looking at? What Does She See?" Photo etching, 1972
DISAPPEARANCE works: Embossments
Embossments are untitled, 2017, 2018
Embossed Text for Bodies of Water (from article by Jenna Brager)
“The oceans are full of bodies. This is nothing new; the currents are imbricated with centuries-old ghosts of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the genocide of millions of Africans, the acceptable loss in the conversion of people into commodities. At Cape Horn, the particles of African ghosts mingle with the fragments of Chilean and Argentinean disappeared and whisper together of endemic violence. They are joined by the bodies of refugees turned away from shore, taken by the sea at the behest of state policy. The waters speak of the necro-political creation of disposable classes that are subject to vanishing. Disappearance is not just a euphemism for state murder; it’s intrinsic to capitalism’s need for disposable classes.”