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Toni Latour: You Can Do It!

Explore pop culture’s fascination with self-help guides and gurus.

Multidisciplinary artist Toni Latour is known for her sense of humour—whether exploring our relationship with pets and animal behaviours, or satirizing popular culture's fascination with self-help guides and gurus. In this installation, the TechLab has been transformed into a venue where visitors can “recover” from their self-doubt.

You Can Do It! was first developed in 1999 as a motivational video with the artist delivering a 10-minute stream of consciousness monologue of positive messages. In 2000, it expanded to include a performance work (an audience interactive, artist-led motivational workshop) accompanied by a video projection. For this presentation, she has added the sculptural elements and two new videos: Smile and for the camera.

You Can Do It! explores the business of self-help products, combining satire, kitsch, and sincerity. The artist originally conceived this work as a means to personally address the many drives, desires, and anxieties surrounding artmaking. To her surprise and delight, the video has since been purchased and used, with full sincerity, as an actual motivational aid for self-help seminars.

Learn more about the exhibition on Toni Latour's website.

About the Artist

Toni Latour is an East Vancouver queer feminist artist. She works in photography, installation, text-based practices, drawing, video, sound, public and performance art. Latour received her BFA from the University of Windsor in 1998 and her MFA from the University of Western Ontario in 2000.

Since 1994, she has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in both solo and group shows and has received numerous grants and awards in support of her practice.

Latour’s work is included in many catalogues and publications and is held in private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery of Canada, Surrey Art Gallery, and the Vancouver Biennale.

Image credit: Toni Latour posing with her motivation video You Can Do It!.