Arts·Gallery Tour

Performance artist Bridget Moser gets weird examining wellness and self-care

Moser's video work "My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists" is part of an exhibit at the Remai Modern in Saskatoon.

'My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists' is part of an exhibit at the Remai Modern in Saskatoon

Moser's video work "My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists" is part of an exhibit at The Remai Modern in Saskatoon. 4:24

In our series Scenes from an Exhibition, Canada's top curators showcase some of their favourite works from exhibitions that were closed off to the public due to COVID-19.

"We're living on this meaningless island and I think it's getting sick. Maybe it's already very unwell. How do you know if your body is toxic?"

That's one standout line from "My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists," a new video work by performance artist Bridget Moser. It's strangely prescient as the world continues to grapple with the pandemic. 

But this idea doesn't surprise Troy Gronsdahl, Associate Curator of Live Programs at Remai Modern in Saskatoon. "Her work has always been incredibly timely," he says of Moser. "She always seems to put her finger on the anxieties of the moment." Gronsdahl, who has been working with Moser since last fall, planned on bringing her artwork to the museum, but it's been left in limbo due to closures across the province.

"My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists" (2020) by Bridget Moser (Bridget Moser)

In the latest instalment of our video series Scenes from an Exhibition, you can get a sneak peak into what Moser's work is all about. Gronsdahl explains how she "uses humour as a way to level a sophisticated critique at some of the underlying contradictions and the kinds of anxieties that just bubble below the surface." She examines wellness, self-care and self-improvement using "unsettling imagery that proliferate on the internet, along with images of the body and food." 

"My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists" (2020) by Bridget Moser (Bridget Moser)

In one of Gronsdahl's favourite scenes, Moser is seen trying to get comfortable on a pink couch. "She's listless and restless. I think it points to a kind of self-consciousness or self-awareness in her work that is also disarming for the viewer...through her own body, she draws you in with humour and charm and provides a way in for us to think about some of the issues that she's touching on."

"My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists" (2020) by Bridget Moser (Bridget Moser)

Gronsdahl says that although all of this sounds heavy, Moser's work is obviously very funny too, sometimes even "slapstick" and "dumb" — words he uses to characterize the image above. "For humour to really work, it's got to touch a bit of a nerve and make us feel a bit uneasy, and her work just does this so brilliantly." 

Remai Modern plans to reopen this fall and "My Crops Are Dying But My Body Persists" will be on view for people to see in person. For now, you can head over to Remai Modern's website to watch the entirety of Bridget Moser's video work.

CBC Arts understands that this is an incredibly difficult time for artists and arts organizations across this country. We will do our best to provide valuable information, share inspiring stories of communities rising up and make us all feel as (virtually) connected as possible as we get through this together. If there's something you think we should be talking about, let us know by emailing us at cbcarts@cbc.ca. See more of our COVID-related coverage here.

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