Fall 2008 Newsletter
Paths leading Out There all converge at the centre

Director’s Letter

Out there is our constant theme. Out there, we are never the same. Sometimes, though, we repeat ourselves—with a difference. Case in point, this fall we’ve taken our cue from Brazilian artist Carla Zaccagnini and her themes of crossroads, forking paths, and mirrors. Although at first you don’t notice, everything in her exhibition is doubled. Everything! (I won’t give away its surprises.) So it is with our programming, where we exceed ourselves, doubling all our activities. For instance, two Brazilians are better than one, so Rodrigo Matheus, who was in residency this summer along with Carla Zaccagnini, has produced a project that exchanges our vitrines for those of other businesses. Similarly, we are replicating our outreach activities for another institution. Invited to participate in the Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF), we are showcasing our innovative artist-led education programs, this time with students from Parkdale Collegiate Institute and the artists Jessica Thompson and Pamila Matharu. After the fair, the project will continue in Parkdale during the fall school semester. Meanwhile, the AGYU’s performance buses divide and multiply themselves travelling between TIAF, PIAF (Parkdale International Art Fair), and the upArt Fair at the Gladstone Hotel as well as, traditionally, to the AGYU opening. As you would expect, our website continues to grow with Studio Blog branching in unexpected directions, and the AGYU site itself is now introduced by an amazing new animation by Ken Ogawa in collaboration with Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins—Comb Over to AGYU, a phrase that has insinuated itself as our new slogan! Ken also has applied Carla’s principles to this newsletter. So this fall, double your visits to the AGYU, here and out there. Go on, get out there, we double dare you.

Fall Exhibition

CARLA ZACCAGNINI: no. it is opposition.

17 September – 7 December 2008
Opening Wednesday 17 September, 6-9 pm

The palindromic title of the exhibition, no. it is opposition., hints at its central focus: what Argentinean-born, Brazilian artist Carla Zaccagnini describes as “forking paths and crossroads.” The exhibited works are premised on replication but ultimately prove to be somewhat different (forking paths), or appear completely disparate but ultimately end in the same place (crossroads). The exhibition’s metaphoric content can also be understood in terms of a mirror image reflected in the exhibition plan. The exhibition includes a full-scale replica of the AGYU’s lobby inside the first gallery so that the viewer enters the exhibition space twice and sees the “same” work again since the works are divided into pairs and split between the two galleries. For example, in the first gallery, the double-channel video installation, Duas Margens, simultaneously shows each coast of the Atlantic Ocean, while, in the second gallery, Duas Margens: Pacífico, two sides of the Pacific coasts are presented.  Similarly, the work Sobre la igualdaqd y las diferencias I: Casa Gemelas (On equality and difference I: Twin Houses), a photographic series of pairs of at one time identical house façades in Havana shows the forking paths of time in the changes, additions, or deletions that have been made to the structures.

Other works that appear the same reveal their differences. In Sobre la igualdaqd y las diferencias II: a casa ao lado (On equality and differences II: the house next door) Zaccagnini hired two archaeologists, Liesbet Sablon and Sofie Geelen, to excavate two houses destined for destruction on one street in Belgium. The archaeologists created a classification system (hygiene, kitchenware, décor/art, lighting/heating, waste, etc.) to draw out the similarities of the rescued objects from both houses, but their reappearance in the second gallery reveals their differences. The objects’ museological display system, one for each excavated house, has been newly commissioned in Toronto and designed by the twins, the Brothers Dressler, who—in a parallel process (meeting Zaccagnini’s work at a crossroad)–create a display structure from discarded materials found in Toronto’s condominium redevelopment sites, recording the history (date, material) of each component of their integrated display system.

Artist and curator in the exhibition occasionally mirrored each other’s roles. On the one hand, curator Emelie Chhangur has organized a new work for the artist, a choreographed performance of Canadian flight attendants responding in their native language to a series of in-flight safety procedures, two versions shown respectively in the two galleries as video installations. On the other hand, Zaccagnini has taken on Chhangur’s curatorial role of commissioning the vitrines (Rodrigo Matheus), producing multiples for sale (Jogo Memória/Memory Game), and programming the lobbies with video in one by Brazilian artist Almicar Packer and in the other by British artist Simon Faithfull. (The two videos have unintentional affinities.) Creating artworks using curatorial strategies and using artists’ strategies to inform curatorial practice are two other paths of work by Zaccagnini, who is also Director of the Curatorial Department of the Cultural Centre of São Paulo.

The AGYU has also produced Catalogue Traduit, the French version of an ongoing series of artist books by Zaccagnini comprised of commissioned texts by writers in their native tongue responding book by book to particular themes in the artist’s work, each book (Catálogo, Catálogo Traducido, Translated Catalogue) the same but completely different, and each with the addition of a new work. Ten new texts have been commissioned from French writers for Catalogue Traduit, which has been designed by Marilyn Fernandes. It will be available during the exhibition as an autonomous artwork in the two AGYU Bookstores.

Carla Zaccagnini (b. Buenos Aires, 1973) is a visual artist, writer, and curator based in São Paulo. She received her Masters in Poéticas Visuais from the Universidade de São Paulo. Zaccagnini’s work is represented by Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo and has been featured in Cream 3 (Phaidon Press, London, 2003) and in the special edition “50 international emerging artists” by Contemporary magazine (London, 2006). Recent solo shows include Wish (Blow de la Barra Gallery, London, 2007) ogolaid O (MAMAM no Pátio, Recife, 2008) and Bifurcações e encruzilhadas (Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo, 2008). This year she will take part in the XXVIII Bienal de São Paulo.

Carla Zaccagnini’s AGYU commissioned work for no. it is opposition. was choreographed by Sky Fairchild-Waller with support from Alumni Affairs, York University. Sky Fairchild-Waller is a performance artist originally from Victoria, British Columbia. A former student of the National Ballet School of Canada, Sky has choreographed and performed in Canada, the United States, and Mexico for the past fourteen years.

The project would not have been possible without participating flight attendants: Tito Chinchilla, Genevieve Lang, Tanya Montiti, Andrée Julie Tardif, and Meagan Vacheresse. Emelie Chhangur thanks OCAD student Sophia Lin for her assistance in organizing this project and Terrill Maguire from the Department of Dance (YorkU) for helping to facilitate the link between contemporary art and dance.

A special thank you, as well, to Catalogue Traduit writers: Martin Breaugh, Vicky Chainey Gagnon, Larissa Joachim, Isabel Koellreuter, Mark Lanctôt, Cécile Martin, Catherine Sicot, Carl Trahan, Julie Tremble, and Thiffany Wilmouth. And, of course, Marilyn Fernandes for her design services.

AGYU also thanks the Argentinean Consulate in Toronto for in-kind services related to Carla Zaccagnini’s residency.

In the AGYU Vitrines: Rodrigo Matheus

After a month-long summer residency, Brazilian artist Rodrigo Matheus presents a newly commissioned, site-specific work in the exterior vitrines along the north side of the Accolade East Building. Giving the colonnade a street-like character, the project seamlessly but ambiguously turns the vitrines into shop or office windows, bringing recognizable elements of off-campus commercial culture to the Accolade East Building.

Ride out there on the Performance Bus!

Get on the AGYU Performance Bus to the opening reception of no. it is opposition. with hosts Ina unt Ina. It’s double the fun and double the pleasure with this spectacle based electronic diva duo! Part tongue-in-cheek, part aesthetic exploration, the twin personas of Ina unt Ina (Celina Carroll and Christina Zeidler) animate original computer generated music for guests through visuals, movement, and live vocals. The free performance bus departs OCAD (100 McCaul St.) at 6 pm sharp and returns downtown at 9 pm.

PROGRAMMING – OUT THERE

Sounding out the Neighbourhood: AGYU at Toronto International Art Fair

You may have come across some students from Parkdale Collegiate Institute in the last little while. You’d recognize them as the ones with the audio equipment, crisscrossing their neighbourhood as they collect various aural artifacts.

Want to know what they’re up to? Well, you could ask Pamila Matharu or Jessica Thompson (who have been working with them for a couple weeks now) or, better yet, come to the AGYU booth at the Toronto International Art Fair (2 – 6 October 2008). That’s where the crossroads of Parkdale and TIAF first appears. The landscape of Parkdale will be reflected in the layout of TIAF. Later, in December, that crossroad will re-appear, this time with TIAF reflected in the geography of Parkdale. Stay tuned to our website for further details. Sounding out the Neighbourhood is another of the AGYU’s artist-facilitated education outreach programs.

AGYU thanks TIAF for generously providing a booth and the Hal Jackman Foundation for its support of the project and ongoing commitment to the gallery.

AGYU’s Performance Bus drives the spaces in between upArt, PIAF, and TIAF!

The AGYU’s unique Performance Bus has been hijacked! Again. Touring all three of Toronto’s art fairs on Sunday, 5 October, this performance bus doubles as the bridge that links these fairs together while creating a dynamic space in between each venue with Toronto artist-host Ulysses Castellanos. Full of surprises, the free Performance Bus departs from TIAF (Toronto International Art Fair) at the Toronto Convention Centre at 12:30 pm SHARP en route to the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St. W.) where participants will tour the upArt Contemporary Art Fair. At 2:00 pm the bus will depart the Gladstone Hotel for a tour of PIAF (Parkdale International Art Fair) at the Convenience Gallery (58 Landsdowne Ave.). The Performance Bus departs Convenience Gallery at 2:45 and doubles back to the Convention Centre for a tour of TIAF that begins at 3:00 pm. Ride back to the Gladstone Hotel at 4:30 pm for another surprise…

upArt is a new annual contemporary art fair launching  2-5 October  2008 at the Gladstone Hotel. upArt transforms the entire second floor of the hotel with site specific installations produced for this event and reflecting the diversity of contemporary art practices. This event is produced by the Gladstone Hotel and co-curated by Chris Mitchell and Jade Rude. Visit www.gladstonehotel.com for full event details.

STUDIO BLOG – now with RSS feed.

Studio Blog is an ongoing Internet project that explores new methods of curatorial research premised on process-based exchanges and collaborations between artists and curators. Over the course of this experimentation and through the specific activities of our collaborators, Studio Blog has diverged, splitting into two branches and variations of development. Both branches are reflected in the redesign of our website:

(1) On the one hand, we have artists and curators located in different cities in dialogue about the artists’ work. This fall, Nicholas Brown and Jesse Birch continue their ongoing project, mirroring each other activities with Brown in Toronto conducting a virtual studio visit with Vancouver artist Abbas Akhavan and Birch from Vancouver visiting the studio of Toronto artist Sandy Plotnikoff. The pair of studio visits, published on Studio Blog, uses the artist’s studio as a context to frame discussions first about the artist’s practice and then about specific individual works. These studio visits create an archive of information on these artists’ work for future reference.  Brown and Birch have also re-visited the studios of Toronto artist Kerri Reid and Vancouver artist/architecture student Christian Kleigel, enhancing their initial dialogue and bringing us up to date on works-in-progress that were discussed in the first installment. In another bifurcating branch of their exchange between Toronto and Vancouver, Brown and Birch reverse this principle to create a new series entitled Snap/Shot Studio Blog. For the inaugural installment in this on-going series, a single work by Toronto artist Jen Hutton and Vancouver artist Ron Tran was chosen by each curator respectively as an entry point to engage in a more general discussion about the artists’ practices.

(2) On the other hand, artists and curators from the same city collaborate to produce a single work based on their mutual research into each other’s practices.  This fall, artist Jennifer Murphy and curator Lise Hosein produce a collaborative artist project that builds from themes related to parallel interests. Published on Studio Blog, the final project is the culmination of a six-month process that began with three months of conversations, followed by a three-month Blog exchange, with Murphy uploading images (found and original) in response to texts (found and original) uploaded by Hosein and vise versa.

Contemporary Art Gallery Bus Tour – curator’s tour of no. it is opposition.

On Sunday, 21 September, join us at the AGYU for a free guided tour of Carla Zaccagnini’s  no. it is opposition. with curator Emelie Chhangur. The bus will continue with tours of the Koffler Gallery, the Blackwood Gallery and the Doris McCarthy Gallery. Bus departs from the main entrance of the Ontario College of Art and Design, 100 McCaul Street at 12:00 pm and returns around 5:00 pm. Seats are limited. To reserve please call Erin Peck at the Doris McCarthy Gallery, 416.287.7007.

AGYU Annual Student/Emerging Artist Screening

Here’s your opportunity to show your fresh videos. The call is open to all emerging artists and students from postsecondary art programs across Canada. Submission deadline is 3 November 2008 with the screening in spring 2009. All types of video are welcome; however, works should be no longer than 8 minutes and should be in DVD format. Multiple submissionswelcome.  For more information visit www.yorku.ca/agyu or email agyuscreenings2008@gmail.com . The screening is curated by Heather Phillips, the AGYU’s summer 2008 curatorial intern. Heather is a recent graduate of the BFA studio program at York University. Her current artist/curatorial project is PGP; Portable Gallery Project.

Upcoming Exhibition

Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins

January – March 2009

Following a successful year of exhibiting at Gallery TPW in Toronto and the National Gallery in Ottawa, as well as installing a public sculpture in New York City, Toronto artists Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins return with a new installation for their first solo exhibition in a public gallery.

EDUCATION REPORT

Architecture of the Imagination: Out There With Brookview Middle School Students

An arts education programme conceived and coordinated by Allyson Adley

Artists: Idman Abdulkadir, Nana Adu-Poku, Basro Ahmed, Ameer Ally, Kamal Brown, Arnelle Collison, Amanda Darshan, Jason Fleet, Michael Hoang, Raymond Hoang, Kevin Li, Raja Mathialakan, Amy Mecksavanh, Hamdi Moalim, Amal Mohamed, Sofia Mohamed, Corye Murray, Jack Nguyen, Karandeep Pabla, Roman Panelo, Devin Ramessar, Tharani Sathasivam, Tiffany Seetahal, Sakishan Subramaniam, Tianna Tomlinson, and Quan Tran.

Twenty-six Brookview Middle School students were invited by the AGYU to take part in Architecture of the Imagination a program that bridged the disciplines of storytelling, set design, sculpture, performance, video production and editing, culminating with the creation of eight thought-provoking new video works. After a four-month intensive arts program, the videos were screened in High Definition on June 11 in the Price Family Cinema to a captivated audience of two hundred friends, peers, family members, teachers, artists, as well as members of the Jane and Finch and York University communities.

A truly groundbreaking arts education program, Architecture of the Imagination afforded middle school students the unique opportunity of seeing a project through its various stages of development—from its narrative inception, through its visual manifestation in set design, to its dramatic articulation in voice-over recording, leading up to a final synthesis of all art forms in video production and editing.

Guided through the creative process by a dedicated team of artists and educators—which included renowned dub poet Michael St. George, acclaimed sculptor and installation artist Bruno Billio, accomplished documentary filmmaker Sarah Sharkey Pearce, gifted video artist and editor, Aleesa Cohene, and Coordinator of Destination Arts and innovative drama teacher, Kathleen Gould Lundy—students were encouraged to reach beyond their limits and explore the expressive possibilities of a range of media. As students became versed in the strategies of contemporary art, they increasingly gained confidence in their abilities and grew more willing to experiment – often taking risks that yielded engaging and thought-provoking work.

Testimonials

What I liked most about the Architecture of the Imagination was building the sets, getting to see everyone’s videos and being able to express my imagination through a different form of art other than drawing on paper. —Quan Tran, Grade 8 student, Brookview Middle School

Architecture of the Imagination opened up my eyes to the world of art, drama and language. I loved doing the art portion of this project. It was very hands-on and allowed me to be very creative. It was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed video-taping and editing. I got to use my imagination and think up different ways to make our video even better. But nothing was as rewarding as feeling the sense of accomplishment I felt when I saw our video on the big screen in the auditorium. —Hamdi Moalim, Grade 8 student, Brookview Middle School

How lucky I was to work so closely with Allyson Adley on this wonderful project! I loved the teaching challenges that required me to think through ways in which the students could find their artistic voices to say something significant about themselves and the world in which they live. Their drama was thoughtful, their writing “in role” insightful and their creative process incredibly generous. There was not a moment where I experienced anything but deep pleasure at what we were all able to accomplish in and through the arts. —Kathleen Gould Lundy

This arts education program was organized and presented by the Art Gallery of York University in partnership with Destination Arts – A Joint Initiative of the Faculty of Education and Fine Arts, Brookview Middle School, Toronto District School Board, Mariposa in the Schools, and Charles Street Video.

Architecture of the Imagination was made possible through The Arts Education Partnership Initiative of The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation with the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.

The AGYU would like to thank: Karl Subban, Principal, Brookview Middle School, Shosh Brenner, Vice-Principal, Brookview Middle School, Michael St. George, Bruno Billio, Sarah Sharkey Pearce, Aleesa Cohene, Dolores Anderson, Director, Mariposa in the Schools, Greg Woodbury, Director, Charles Street Video, Sharon Welsh, Doris Andrade, Monica Jacobs, Beverley Goldbach, Darlene Jones, Layne Clark, and Tiffany Landsdowne.

Speak Your Mind – AGYU partners with the ACE Program

During spring 2008, Nancy Kamalanthan, a Grade 11 student from Emery Collegiate worked with the AGYU team as part of her Advanced Credit Experience co-op placement. Mentored by Allyson Adley and Emelie Chhangur, Nancy organized and performed in Speak Your Mind, an event which featured spoken word performances by an incredible line-up of artists including: Kirstin Cohen, Adebe D.A., Blakka Ellis, Chaitanya Kalevar, Chandni Matharoo,  Mohamed Mohsen, Motion, Andrew Nguyen,  Andrea Ramautar, Michael St. George, Truth is…. and d’bi young anitafrika. Showcasing established spoken word artists alongside emerging poets, this unique event allowed audience members to discover up and coming talents and demonstrated how Toronto continues to be a vital hub for performance poetry.  For those who missed the event, and for those who want to view these impressive performances again, watch out for AGYU’s upcoming posting of Speak Your Mind on YouTube.

The AGYU extends its appreciation to Jackie Robinson and the Westview Partnership for generously supporting this public program.

We are proud to report that Nancy recently performed her poetry in the latest installment of The Box, an arts and culture salon organized by Toronto poet Louise Bak.

UPCOMING EDUCATION PROGRAMS

The Black Creek Storytelling Parade is Back!

The Black Creek Storytelling Parade returns this fall with youth from the Jane and Finch Boys and Girls Club. Inspired by the Black Creek’s habitat, Toronto artists Liz Forsberg and Laura Reinsborough lead an interdisciplinary arts program that will culminate with an art-filled celebration along this community watershed.

THE AGYU WANTS YOU! Double Up Your Donation

YOU can help make the AGYU’s innovative arts education programs for youth in the Jane and Finch community a reality by donating to the AGYU’s Education Fund. Phillip Silver, past Dean of Fine Arts, and Philip Monk, Director of the AGYU, invite you to join them in making a matching donation in support of the AGYU’s education initiatives.

We express our condolences to the Matloob family for the passing away of Helen Ghorbanian Matloob and our appreciation for donations made in her name to the AGYU, which will be directed to this Education Fund.

STAFF ANNOUNCEMENT

Not only has the AGYU been growing as an art gallery, it has been building as an institution. A few years ago, a second Assistant Curator position was added. And now, the position of Assistant Director/Curator has been created. In recognition of the role she has played in the transformation over the past five years of the new AGYU, we are pleased to announce that Emelie Chhangur has been appointed to this position. Emelie has been instrumental in developing the AGYU’s out there vision by her creation of the Performance Bus, artist residencies, and Studio Blog; by her integration of all promotional and marketing materials as vehicles for programming and audience development while being artist commissions at the same time; and especially by bringing a new spirit of collaboration with and support of artists, integrating them over the long term into all aspects of gallery activity—not to mention her coordination of exhibitions and mentoring student interns. Carla Zaccagnini’s no. it is opposition. is her first large-scale exhibition project for the AGYU.

PUBLICATIONS

New

Carla Zaccagnini, Catalogue Traduit
Art Gallery of York University, 2008
$20.00/$17.00 with AGYU Membership

Catalogue Traduit consist of ten French essays on themes related to, and illustrated by, works by artist Carla Zaccagnini. Designed by Marilyn Fernandes, the book features texts by: Martin Breaugh, Vicky Chainey Gagnon, Larissa Joachim, Isabel Koellreuter, Mark Lanctôt, Cécile Martin, Catherine Sicot, Carl Trahan, Julie Tremble, and Thiffany Wilmouth. Produced by the gallery for Zaccagnini’s exhibition, this is the fourth in a permutating series done by the artist, the first three being in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. The entire series is available for viewing in the gallery bookstore.

Matthew Brannon: To Say the Very Least (essay by Philip Monk)
Art Gallery of York University, 2008
$60.00/$51.00 with AGYU Membership
Distributed by D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.

Recent

Disassembling the Archive: Fiona Tan (a book by Philip Monk)
Art Gallery of York University, 2007
$25.00/$22.00 with AGYU Membership
Distributed by D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.

Forthcoming

Back in 2004, Mike Hoolboom was invited into the gallery space in response to his critique of film presentation in gallery spaces. The resulting exhibition, The Invisible Man, consisted of the presentation, re-presentation, and reformulation of several of his film works. Doubling back on the issues that gave rise to the exhibition, a collection of essays and interviews will be released late this fall further interrogating the relationship of fringe film to gallery presentation. Contributors include Mike Hoolboom, Philip Monk, Yann Beauvais, Chris Kennedy, and Steve Reinke.

More recently, Saskia Olde Wolbers presented two of her video works, Trailer (2005) and Deadline (2007), in the gallery in 2008. Trailer took the viewer on a circuitous tour from a midwestern cinema to the Amazonian jungle (via Hollywood, of course) while in Deadline, the viewer followed an interrupted journey from Gambia to Greece. In a reflective mood, the dream-like state of Olde Wolbers’ narratives are re-imagined as unresolved pathological case studies in a forthcoming book by Philip Monk.