Kalbfleisch, Elizabeth C.
MA - Art HistorySupervisor
Dr. Olivier AsselinConvocation
Fall 2000Thesis Title
Making History, Picturing Hysteria: Archaeology, Ficto-Criticism, and the Critical History of Nicole Jolicoeur's La Vérité folle
For two decades, the work of Montréal artist Nicole Jolicoeur has been centred around medical photographs documenting the hysterical patients of Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot at the Salpêtrière hospital in late nineteenth century France. Jolicoeur's work is explored in the context of the constructed nature of both hysteria as an illness and the photograph for adeptly representing reality. Through her work, Jolicoeur performs a Foucauldian archaeology as she researches and re-assembles a visual history of hysteria. Using historical photographs, she proposes a new and critical history of hysteria that can be termed ficto-criticism. Both archaeology and ficto-criticism are explored as strategies for producing alternative histories. Archaeology and ficto-criticism allow for the artist to question the authority of Charcot and the medical establishment, and to tell the story of the oppression of the hysterical woman in a way that may be more truthful and satisfying than what has been offered by more traditional histories.