Friday, April 2, 2010
The Blackwood Gallery and the 2010 Images Festival present
With Ryan Driver, Annie MacDonell, Alexis O'Hara & Mary Margaret O'Hara and Alex Snukal
Curated by Pablo de Ocampo, Jacob Korczynski, and Christof Migone
Tuesday April 6, 2010
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave
St. George Campus, University of Toronto
Developed in opposition to the festival's name, curators Pablo de Ocampo, Jacob Korczynski and Christof Migone present No Images featuring the work of Ryan Driver, Annie MacDonell, Alexis O'Hara & Mary Margaret O'Hara and Alex Snukal. Imagine a pitch-black space. Immersed in absolute darkness, you cannot see your own hand, you have no idea of the size of the space that you are in, and your sense of time is completely lost. One's typical dependence upon an encounter anchored by eyesight is replaced by an amorphous and immersive environment. This presentation strategy is not only ideally suited for sound art, it is also a radical engagement of the senses by way of complete deprivation of the visual. This concept was initiated by Marvin Green and John Oswald in 1976 and has had many iterations in cities across the world since. This is the first Toronto presentation of this unique performance experience in many years. The audience is led into the space by ushers with flashlights before the darkness descends. Not recommended for claustrophobes.
Support generously provided by the Canada Council for the Arts and Eye Weekly.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
All of the art collectors (3) collected contemporary art. All had a wide range of what they collected. All described their likes and dislikes. Nothing was in common. It occurred to me it was like listening to people discussing shoes. Which fit and why. What colour went with what outfit. There is no rhyme or reason really.
This is what visual art is today - different shoes.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
We imagine that the object of our desire is a being that can be laid down before us, enclosed within a body. Alas! it is the extension of that being to all the points of space and time that it has occupied and will occupy. (Marcel Proust)
awashawave, with the alliterative title that slips by, is a group exhibition investigating figurative and literal interpretations of inundation and the resulting perceptual tensions and shifts of being one amongst many. In his study on Proust, Beckett stated that "the only fertile research is excavatory, immersive, a contraction of the spirit, a descent. The artist is active, but negatively, shrinking from the nullity of extracircumferential phenomena, drawn in to the core of the eddy." This exhibition will resist such categorical declaration and opt to pay attention to the inherent fluidity of the eddy. To be flooded is to loose one's foothold, one's ground -awashawave as an inundated exhibition. awashawave is the mess that washes up on the shore. Refuse and refuse. What I am inferring here is that at play is a resistance to the funnel of precision and accuracy in favor of the blur. A prescriptive and predetermined outcome seems ill-suited for an exhibition on inundation. awashawave will epitomize the blur, and wallow in the mud of perception -examining the shift from the single image to the series, from the fixed to the unmoored, from a discernable point to a dense mass. Examining various facets of the concept of being flooded, awashawave will present a heterogeneous series of works: from a washing machine turned into a praxinoscope (Landry), to an audio work improvising with shortwave radio signals (Snow), to delicate ceramic objects made out of white speaker wire and diffusing sounds of washing (Kim), to images produced by a home-built scanner-camera that fuses digital technology and 19th century photographic techniques (Koroshegyi), to audio tracks converted into dense black and white 'sonic' images (Wood), to a video projection of someone doing the 'wave' in an empty stadium (Hirsch), to a series of abject self-portraits rendered in wax (Fortier).
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Paris Hosts New Exhibition of Nothing
In nine empty rooms, 'most radical show ever seen' celebrates 50 years of the art of the void
Nature may abhor a vacuum but art knows no such contempt. From silent music to invisible exhibitions, the last 50 years have seen the rise of a movement for which absence was presence, less was more and the void was full to the brim with meaning.
Starts 25 February 2009 Until 23 March 2009 Pompidou Centre
Now, for the first time since John Cage penned his noiseless 4'33 and Yves Klein invited thousands to view an empty, white-washed room, Paris's Pompidou Centre is devoting an entire exhibition to the art of nothing.
Hailed by one critic today as the most radical show ever seen inside a museum, Voids, a retrospective is a celebration of art which, as the artist Robert Barry put it, wants us to be "free for a moment to think about what we are going to do".
A re-creation of different exhibitions spanning 50 years, the retrospective stretches through nine rooms, all of which are unashamedly devoid of content. The freshly painted walls are uniformly white, the floors all pale wood parquet. The only features that stand out – a thermostat here, an exit sign there, a piece of tissue lying discarded in the doorway – take on a strange and surely unprecedented significance.
For Laurent Le Bon, director of the Pompidou Metz, the project is "at the frontline of artistic venture and the venture of art history". His fellow curator, Mathieu Copeland, told Le Monde it was intended to be a "real experience" whose participants would be challenged to think hard about their environment. "It was not just about creating a radically conceptual exhibition but inviting people to explore in a very physical way the spaces around them, each of which has its own texture," he said.
At the top of the bill is Klein, the original void-enthusiast, whose 1958 show at the Iris Clert gallery in Paris started the ball rolling with an "anti-blockbuster" whose defining characteristic was its lack of physical character. Such was hype ahead of The Void (or, to give it its full title, The Specialisation of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilised Pictorial Sensibility, The Void) that around 3,000 people queued outside for their turn to pass through a blue curtain into an empty room.
The Pompidou accompanies his work with that of other artists who followed in his wake, such as Maria Eichhorn, Bethan Huws and Robert Irwin. The British collective Art & Language also plays its part with the resurrection of its 1967 Air-Conditioning Show, while Laurie Parsons' solo exhibition from 1990 is recreated with its original disdain for clutter (the invitations for the original New York show contained no names and no dates, just the address of the Lorence-Monk Gallery).
Denis Comy, an artist from Wales who was exploring the empty spaces this morning, said he was stunned by the "purity" of the concept. "You stand here in a major art gallery and you expect to see something," he said. "But it's just whiteness. Things like the emergency signs suddenly seem superfluous, intrusive."
Perhaps predictably, his feelings are not shared by everyone. A group of American students in Paris for spring break was less than impressed. "It's a load of bullshit," said one. "It's like they couldn't be assed so they just left it bare."