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Features / September 1, 2002

Ydessa Hendeles: Same Difference

When I was a child, I was an autodidact. Each day I would cross the lawn on the way to school, and would figure out something else. Something else made sense to me. I loved that feeling of Ah, HA!—the feeling of epiphany when something fell into place and made sense—Ydessa Hendeles

When talking about “Same Difference,” an exhibition at that opened last spring for an indefinite run at Toronto’s Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, it’s probably best to start at the beginning.

I have very few pictures of myself, and there’s little before the war. I was part of the generation that was not supposed to exist, so I’ve tried to imagine what it was like before. What do I know and what do I want to know? This whole project is a question: What does it mean to live today, in this moment? I’ve tried to look to popular culture and see what it means to be alive today.

Ydessa Hendeles was born in Germany to mitteleuropäische Jewish parents in 1948. She is alive today at least in part because she was not born in Germany a few years earlier. She was brought as a toddler by her parents to Toronto, where she has lived and worked ever since.

So begins our Fall 2002 cover story. To keep reading, view a PDF of the entire article.