In January 2018, visual artist Marie-Pascale Lafrenière lost the use of her right hand for an undetermined amount of time. The five magic words she used, making every face change in the emergency room, were: “I can’t feel my fingers.” Followed by a series of painful, unasked for touches, pinches, caresses, and tickles. During these few hours in the hospital, the line between wellness and pain, help and harm, consent and violation, started to blur.

Five months later, Lafrenière’s right hand is still in a cast, waiting for surgery: the wrong that will make everything right. As an artist, the implications of restraining the dominant hand are very clear. But as a woman?

Keep x Hands to Myself is a video and series of images exploring the fragmentation of the female body in relation to touch. Using x-rays and CT-scan results, Lafrenière will use self-representation from the inside out to represent the contradictions of female desire. How does one set boundaries in the age of constant surveillance? How does the male gaze shape both the real and the performed desires of touch?

This project will take form with the support and in the studios of DE-CONSTRUKT Red Hook, as creative research supporting the Master of Fine Art pursued by the artist at ECUAD, Vancouver.

ABOUT Marie-Pascale Lafrenière

Marie-Pascale Lafrenière’s creative research revolves around questions of the female representation in pop culture. From a feminist perspective, she investigates how the way women are depicted in mass media and social media affect the development of identity and mental well-being of female youth. Often drawing on her own fight with mental health, she uses auto-ethnography to connect her experience with the greater story.

In her performances, videos, and photographs, she re-appropriates the tools and languages of pop culture to challenge its promotion of patriarchal ideas. By doing so, she works towards a deconstruction of the female stereotypes and new ownership of the female body. Her main goals are to convey a sense of validation and relatability from the audience and to participate in the social changes initiated by the feminist movement. Lafrenière graduated from her B.A. at the Université du Québec in Outaouais in 2017, and she is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine-Arts at Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver BC.