October 14, 2013
Tadashi Kawamata – Hokkaido, Japan
Taking nothing for granted, Tadashi Kawamata engages us in a process that involves close consideration of the kinds of environments we make for ourselves, thereby raising questions of all-too-human need and desire. Kawamata’s gestures and materials, given the contexts within which they occur, are always smartly chosen.
Whether built up into fragile Babylonian constructions, tree huts, roof installations or stretched out to form a serpentine shape, his works offer another point of view – in every sense – over the place in which they are situated.
In its simultaneously unstable, universal and symbolic form, the stacked chairs, benches and garden furniture create an amphitheatre-shaped architecture that is intended to accommodate meetings and discussions. These inanimate objects contain memories, as if each person who sat on these chairs left a piece of himself blended into the worn-out fabric of canes, sometimes over generations, religions, and cultures.
The work evokes the beautiful and utopian aspects of the myth of the Babel Tower: a humanity speaking with one voice and engaged, with solidarity, in the building of a better future.
Born in Hokkaido, Japan, Kawamata lives and works in Tokyo and Paris.
His work has been exhibited all over the world, including the Daegu Art Museum, the Pompidou Center in Paris, the HKW in Berlin, the Serpentine Gallery in London, and the MACBA in Barcelona; his work has been featured at numerous biennials, such as Venice 1982, documenta VIII and IX 1987-1992, the Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art 1993, the Münster Skulptur Projekte 1997, and the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial 2012.
Kawamata is represented by kamel mennour, Paris.
Location: Metropolitan United Church — 56 Queen Street East (At Church Street)
Pascale Marthine Tayou – Ghent, Belgium
Pascale Marthine Tayou works once again with one of his favorite basic composition elements: the plastic bag. The almost banal simplicity of the bags acts here as a reminder of the numerous ordinary stories of our daily lives. This most common object, which is available to all, has become a symbol of the development of our global economies; a sign of the overpowering consumer societies in which we live. But the plastic bag is also a symbol of travel and migration, of the nomad mobility which is a growing feature of today’s world and a central theme in the artist’s work.
This huge sculpture made of nets and thousands of bags thus becomes a symbol of the human condition: contemporary men are entangled in a system of repetitive actions, in a network of physically and culturally narrow spaces. At the same time, man is always attempting to share, searching for moments of evasion, trying to escape to unknown or unexpected horizons.
Today, finally, plastic bag use is being limited, prevented from further endangering the world’s ecosystem and polluting the environment. What this huge installation suggests is a beautiful, different and politically correct use of plastic bags: to transform them instead into a work of art.
Pascale Marthine Tayou was born in Nkongsamba (Cameroon) in 1966. Starting his career as an artist in the 1990s, he changed his name, taking a double name in the female form: Pascal(e) Marthin(e). Exhibitions in Cameroon were followed by shows in Germany, France and Belgium, where he currently resides.
His work is deliberately mobile. Each work has a feature in common: they dwell upon an individual moving through the world and exploring the issue of the global village.
Location: Bell Trinity Square — 483 Bay Street (North of Queen Street West)
Cal Lane – Putnam Valley, New York, USA
Cal Lane’s sculptures juxtapose industrial materials with domestic elements. Their fabrication process involves the labour-intensive hand cutting of lace fabric patterns directly into recycled steel oil tanks and I-beams. Alternately strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolous, the sculptures deliberately confuse notions of function and ornament.
Lace has associations with both hiding and exposing — whether as a covering veil or revealing lingerie. It also has an association with purity when used in religious ceremonies, christenings, weddings and funerals. The dramatic contrast between lace and steel introduces a level of gravity and humour to the work. Like a wrestler in a tutu, the absurdity of these opposing extremes is meant to inspire a gut reaction rather than a rational response.
These contradictions suggest a process of opposition that creates a sense of balance as well as a clash between one’s first impressions of the materials. The physical removal of material to reveal deliberately delicate patterns in the hard surfaces of large oil tanks and I-beams. The result is a desirable opposition, a transformation of recycled relics into heraldic emblems of a lost industrial age.
Born in 1968 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Cal Lane was raised in Saanichton, British Columbia. Following her welding certification, she successively completed a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) in 2001, and a MFA from the State University of New York at Purchase (2005). Since 2001, Lane has exhibited her work nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the Sydney Biennial, DeCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts and Musea Brugge in Belgium.
Location: David Pecaut Square — 221 King Street West
Janet Biggs – Brooklyn, USA
Janet Biggs’ Arctic Trilogy is comprised of three short videos, each featuring an individual searching for meaning at the end of the earth. Isolated and vulnerable, the characters in Biggs’ videos struggle to define and defend their sense of self in extreme environments.
Fade to White follows a solitary explorer as he paddles his kayak through ink-black waters, gliding past polar bears and under massive glaciers. These images are interspersed with ghostly appearances of performance artist John Kelly dressed in white, singing a Baroque aria. Kelly’s age, androgyny, and mournful voice parallel the vanishing Arctic landscape.
Brightness All Around takes us beneath the earth’s surface where coalminer Linda Norberg, works in freezing temperatures and relentless darkness. Biggs has enlisted performer Bill Coleman, dressed in black leather, to deliver a demonic chant to complement the hostile, industrial sounds of the mining.
In the Cold Edge follows a spelunker as he descends into a glacier’s crevasse and crawls through claustrophobic ice tunnels. We follow his path as he explores the disorienting chambers formed by an ever-moving glacier. The video ends with a momentary eruption of colour and energy as Biggs shoots a flare off into a terrain as bleak and beautiful as the moon.
Janet Biggs is known primarily for her work in video, photography and performance. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has had solo exhibitions/screenings at the Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum; Tampa Museum of Art; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art Mint Museum of Art among others. Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Artforum, Art in America, and many others.
Location: Scotia Plaza, 15 Adelaide Street West
Boris Achour – Paris, France
For Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, the artist uses a short poem written by Johannes Scheffler, a theologian and German mystic poet of the 17th century better known under the name of Angelus Silesius. The poem, written with standard fluorescent lights spanning more than 300 feet, has an aspect of the spectacular while expressing a poetic and philosophical dimension and reflects upon the nature of the art and the place of the spectator.
Without any hierarchy, mixing assorted elements stemming from highly diverse cultural and formal fields, Achour’s work establishes an open connective system in perpetual evolution based on the affirmation of the shape and the jubilation of the creation. The notions of fragments, unity and therefore relations, imagined on the scale of a single work or on that of the whole work are formally, conceptually and humanely at the heart of his practice.
Boris Achour was born in 1966. He lives in Paris, France. His recent solo shows include Séances, Credac, Ivry/Seine, France (Part of La Triennale 2012), Oh Lumière, Galerie Vallois, Paris and Mehr, Gallery Ruth Leuchter, Dusseldorf, Germany. Recent group shows include Black Moon, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, Le Flâneur, Musee d’art et d’histoire de Saint-Denis, France, Songe d’une nuit d’été, Château d’Oiron, Toulouse, France Galerie de I’ENSBA, Lyon and Ha Ha Road, Quad, Derby & Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, UK among others.
Location: Nathan Phillips Square — 100 Queen Street West
Let’s Create and Appreciate!
Bring the kids to a world of good at Harbourfront Centre this Thanksgiving Monday. Featuring a full day of family fun, including concerts, films, crafts and more. We’re putting the “great” back in grateful.
For more details: www.harbourfrontcentre.com/harbourkids
Location: Harboufront Centre
Nathan Phillips Square is the site of Fresh Wednesdays from July 10 to August 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors sell fresh Ontario-grown produce, flowers, baked goods and more weekly until October 16 (excluding June 26). Lunch-time concerts by Canadian artists accompany the farmers market on the square from July 10. The performance schedule for Fresh Wednesdays is available at www.toronto.ca/special_events/wednesdays.
Location: Nathan Phillips Square — 100 Queen Street West
When the merchant Antonio seeks a loan from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender whom he has always treated with the utmost contempt, Shylock proposes a startling collateral: a pound of the merchant’s flesh. When Antonio defaults on the loan, Shylock prepares to take his revenge – only to find that the law is a knife that can cut both ways.
For tickets: Box office at 1-800-567-1600 or www.stratfordfestival.ca
Location: Festival Theatre — Stratford, Ontario
Oscar Wilde is at his bitingly satirical best targeting Victorian morals (especially marital) in this comic thriller that made him an overnight star. We meet rich, stunning, recently wed Lady Windermere on the day of her birthday ball when a notorious gossip drops by to announce that her new husband is betraying her — with a mysterious woman who is coming to the ball. Be ready for jealousy, intrigue, twists, turns, and massive doses of Wildean wit.
For more details: www.shawfest.com
Location: Festival Theatre — Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario