Miles Collyer: how do you surrender to a drone?

YYreZidency
MILES COLLYER | how do you surrender to a drone?
TUESDAY 22 MARCH SATURDAY 30 APRIL 2016

OPENING RECEPTION
THURSDAY 14 APRIL, 5:00PM-7:00PM

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YYreZidency
MILES COLLYER | how do you surrender to a drone?

how do you surrender to a drone?, is a cohesive installation of interrelated works. Image objects, documented forms, and sculptural armatures create a new deconstructed means for the presentation of photographic referents. As a starting point, the two-dimensional image is taken as a challenge. The image plane is manipulated to achieve a perceptual shift in the viewer’s experience of the photographic print.

Provisional elements within the installation position the works within a broader theme of politics, war, and abstraction. Evidence of civilian construction, wreckage artifacts, carbonized materials, and representations of the communication methods of conflict play this role; isolating principle qualities of an image and of materials to steer art towards a discussion of complex and charged politics. The installation is a reflective political work that does not respond with the immediacy of an activist stance.

MILES COLLYER is a visual artist who works with images and sculpture to challenge the traditional boundaries of photographic practice and aesthetics. His work has been published and exhibited across Canada. Selected group exhibitions include the Art Gallery of Western Australia (Perth); Australian Centre for Photography (Sydney); Open Space (Victoria, BC); and The Power Plant (Toronto, ON). His photographic mural was included in the exhibition Showroom at the University of Toronto Art Museum (2016). Collyer currently serves on the Board of Directors of Mercer Union, a centre for contemporary art, and is the Career Development Coordinator at OCAD University’s Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers.

Miles Collyer would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography.

Read RE: HOW DO YOU SURRENDER TO A DRONE? by CRAIG RODMORE, an essay published alongside MILES COLLYERS exhibition.

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Lisa Neighbour: Smithereens

YYreZidency
LISA NEIGHBOUR | SMITHEREENS
SATURDAY 21 MARCH – SATURDAY 02 MAY, 2015

OPENING RECEPTION
FRIDAY 10 APRIL, 4:00PM-7:00PM

1.ComingApart

Smithereens is an on-going series of screen prints and drawings that examine what’s left after catastrophic events have passed. Lisa Neighbour is a cyclist and a runner and often notices the shards of glass and car-parts that are scattered everywhere – they are evidence of the frequent collisions that happen in the city. Neighbour has been collecting the pieces, drawing them, and then making prints about the damaged vehicles and their scattered parts.

During her YYreZidency, she is setting up a drawing generator consisting of a 4’X8′ white-board platform, a selection of found car-parts, and a supply of black dry-erase markers. Visitors to the gallery will be invited to use the car-parts and markers to create drawings that she will document and then erase. The surface of the platform will be projected onto the gallery wall, and then photographed. During and after the residency, Neighbour will incorporate the resulting imagery into her screen prints and drawings.

Neighbour’s goal is to develop a visual language that can examine traumatic experience in a way that she (and other people as well) will understand and perhaps benefit from. This process involves becoming conscious of, accepting, and then being at peace with the traumatic events that are part of human experience.

LISA NEIGHBOUR was born in Montreal, Quebec. She graduated from OCADU in 1982 and received an MFA from York University in 2009. Neighbour is represented by Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, in Toronto. Her recent exhibitions include: This is My Punishment, (solo) G Gallery, Toronto, Micah Lexier: One, and Two, and More than Two, (group) The Power Plant, Toronto, Pilot X: Death in the City, (group) LE Gallery, Toronto, Beyond in Western New York, (solo) at The Carnegie Art Center in Tonawanda, N.Y. and Bite the Dust, (solo) at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects. Neighbour currently lives in Toronto and is a member of the faculty of the Art and Art History Program, a joint program between Sheridan College and University of Toronto, Mississauga.

Lisa Neighbour would like to thank Carlo Cesta, Jennifer McMackon, Lee Goreas, Katharine Mulherin, Ana Barajas, and the YYZ Board Members.

YYZ would like to acknowledge the support of the talented members of the Sid Lee Collective without whom this exhibition could not be possible.

Libby Hague: Brave Interventions

LIBBY HAGUE | BRAVE INTERVENTIONS
Presented in conjunction with Libby Hague’s Be Brave! We are in this together YYreZidency
EVERY SATURDAY MAY 26 – JUNE 30, 2012
1:00PM 3:00PM

As part of the YYreZidency program, Libby Hague has scheduled several interventions and performances to take place within her interactive installation: Be Brave! we are in this together; the anticipated super-energy combo of sculptural drama and live human performance. The interventions/performances are scheduled for Saturday afternoons from 1:00pm-3:00pm with open rehearsals happening any time during regular gallery hours. A variety of documentation will be made and presented as a small video series through the social media outlet YouTube.

Find more information on Libby Hague’s YYreZidency exhibition here.

Every exhibition can provide a formal clarity and distance which furthers self understanding. Interventions are distancing filters, which connect us to another creative mind in the short window of our availability. The format layers rather than blends ideas so that each contributing flavour stays visible, distinct, and delicious.

-Libby Hague

SCHEDULE:

MAY 26 | PHILIP ANISMAN: A READING FROM INFINITE JEST BY DAVID FOSTER WALLACE
Philip Anisman practices law, mainly securities law, in Toronto most of the time- and has written legal books,, articles, and op-eds. He also reads literature sometimes aloud at Libby Hague’s shows. May 26 is one of these times.

JUNE 2 | CATHERINE CARMICHAEL: I FOUND IT IN THE STREET– A MOVEMENT BASED SOUNDSCAPE
Carmichael’s exhibitions include a solo show at the Parisian Laundry (Montreal) and an upcoming group show at the Zweigstelle (Berlin); her performances include the New Soundworks Festival (Meaford). Carmichael’s cycle of poems: Ecstatic Shift was published in Hamilton Arts and Letters. She was a founding member of Niagara, an improvised sound performance group in the 80’s (Toronto).

Watch Catherine Carmichael’s performance now.

JUNE 9 | ERICA IRIS: A VOCAL EXPLORATION
Mezzo-soprano Erica Iris, emerged onto Toronto’s music scene with a gorgeous big voice, seamless from top to bottom, dramatic, and highly expressive. (Howard Dyck). Winner of the 2011 Eckhardt-Gramatt National Music Competition, she has made numerous performances with the Aldeburgh Connection, and is one of eight rising Canadian musicians who were recorded for broadcast on CBC Radio 2’s In Concert.

JUNE 16 | ANDREA CERSWELL: A VOCAL EXPLORATION
Hailed as the possessor of a bright, pretty voice with surprising power (Opera Canada). Canadian soprano Andrea Cerswell is emerging as an exciting presence on opera and concert stages. Highly praised as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, she also performsas an Oratorio soloist and was featured as the soprano soloist in Carmina Burana with Brampton Symphony Orchestra. In July, Cerswell will travel to Milan to perform Despina in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, as part of the Accademia Europea dell’Opera.

JUNE 23 | ZOJA SMUTNY: A DANCE-BASED PERFORMANCE
Zoja Smutny spends her time creating dance works, performing, and teaching in Berlin, Toronto, and Montreal. Smutny’s work, both performance and video, has been presented at international festivals including Hop Scotch at the Cultural Olympiad, 2010, and the 64th Festival des Cannes, 2011. Her new solo work this I LOVE YOU thing, premiered at UFERSTUDIOS in Berlin and will be presented in Tel-Aviv in May.

JUNE 30 | MAEV BEATY: A PERFORMANCE WITH VOCAL EXPLORATION
Maev Beaty is a Toronto based actor, writer and voice artist. Her favourite stage credits include Civility (Necessary Angel), The Penelopiad, The Happy Woman (Nightwood Theatre), Ritter Dene Voss (La Mama, NYC, One Little Goat), and Parfumerie (Soulpepper). She has been nominated for Outstanding Performance Dora awards for Montparnasse and Dance of the Red Skirts (Theatre Columbus). Beaty is also co-Artistic Director of Belltower and Sheep No Wool Theatre companies, and an associate of Groundwater Productions. www.maevbeaty.com


Meav Beaty: Brave Interventions, 2012. Photo Credit: Mallory Wilkinson


Catherine Carmichael: Brave Interventions, 2012. Photo Credit: Mallory Wilkinson


Soja Smutny: Brave Interventions, 2012. Photo Credit: Mallory Wilkinson

Libby Hague: Be Brave! We are in this together

LIBBY HAGUE | BE BRAVE! WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER
SATURDAY 05 MAY 2012 SATURDAY 21 JULY 2012
OPENING RECEPTION
FRIDAY 04 MAY 2012, 8PM – 10PM


Libby Hague’s installation is to be viewed as a psychological self-portrait that traces patterns of influence as they move between creative life and private life. The themes that often recur in Hague’s work risk and luck, disaster and rescue are transposed into an approximate timeline of the complicated and contradictory textures of her life. Here is the beginning; the forgotten things; the boredom; the family dynamics; the accidents; the patterns; the nightmares; the sex; the love; the fun.

The exhibition will consist of an immersive woodcut installation including the Toronto premier of Hague’s pleated paper structures. In addition, abstract puppet sculptures will be suspended from tracks on the ceiling. These puppets are to be reconfigured by the gallery audience, moving around but never going away, accumulating like our personal history.

Part creature and part object, the puppets are made to stand and sit. Then they stand and sit again, in a lower-case ideal of continued effort. By moving them, we give them a half-life that engenders in us a strange empathy and impatience. They test our patience with their repeated and almost inevitable failures; they test our optimism with their inability to learn or show gratitude. Together they speak to the isolation and interconnection of beings.

As part of the YYreZidency program, the lengthy duration of the show will allow for several interventions and performances to take place within the gallery; the anticipated super-energy combo of sculptural drama and live human performance. The interventions/performances are scheduled for Saturday afternoons from 1:00pm-3:00pm with open rehearsals happening any time during regular gallery hours. A variety of documentation will be made and presented as a small video series through the social media outlet YouTube.

Read more about Libby Hague’s Saturday afternoon Brave Interventions here.

LIBBY HAGUE is a Toronto-based visual artist who works primarily in print installation. She recently held solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, ON), Galerie Circulaire (Montreal, QC), La Centrale (Montreal, QC), the Durham Art Gallery (Durham, ON), and at the Art Gallery of Mississauga (Mississagua, ON). She has traveled internationally to install her work in the International Paper Art Exhibition and Symposium, Chung Shan National Gallery (Taipei, TW), Miner for a heart, curated by Yael Brotman for Impact 7 (Melbourne, AU), and for IPCNY’s New Prints 2011/Autumn (New York City, USA). Hague was the recipient of the 2009 Open Studio National Printmaking Award. She is represented in many public collections including the Muse du Qubec , Confederation Center, Anderson Collection, University of Buffalo, Bank of Montreal and the Donovan Collection at the University of Toronto. www.libbyhague.com

Libby Hague: Be Brave! We are in this together, 2012. Photo Credit: Allan Kosmajac

Alexandre David: Moving Around

ALEXANDRE DAVID | MOVING AROUND
SATURDAY 22 JANUARY 2011 – SATURDAY 02 APRIL 2011

OPENING RECEPTION | FRIDAY 21 JANUARY 2011, 8:00PM – 10:00PM
Photo courtesy of the artist.

In this extended YYreZidency, Alexandre David will develop a new site-specific work for YYZ over the span of two months. Our everyday architectural sensations are a necessary background for his work in sculpture. Architecture is not referenced as a subject, rather, it relies on the way we as humans walk with ease through doorways, walk alongside walls, turn corners and sit on benches. David works with standard heights of ceilings, tables, benches and steps. Often, he attempts to create an architectural sense of space through the experience of a self-contained object. Some of his work also attempts to blur the boundaries between public and intimate spaces or between a space one can only look at and a space in which one can move around. The intention of David’s work is to reorganize a space only for a short period of time.

ALEXANDRE DAVID received his Masters of Fine art from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 1990. David’s work has been exhibited internationally throughout museums and galleries in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France. He has held solo exhibitions at Optica and Dare-Dare in Montral and La Chambre Blanche in Qubec City (2007) and at Aceartinc in Winnipeg and Grunt in Vancouver (2009). David currently lives and works in Montral.

Read CAROLINE DIONNES Moving Around, an essay about ALEXANDRE DAVIDS exhibition.

Photo Credit: Allan Kosmajak


Sarah Jane Gorlitz & Wojciech Olejnik: Everything Next to Each Other

SARAH JANE GORLITZ & WOJCIECH OLEJNIK | EVERYTHING NEXT TO EACH OTHER
TUESDAY 09 MARCH 2010 – SATURDAY 17 APRIL 2010

Sarah Jane Gorlitz & Wojciech Olejnik: YYreZidence

YYZ, order which turned thirty this year, responds to contemporary discourse about the breadth of artist support at artist-run centres by working beyond the crate and offering SARAH JANE GORLITZ & WOJCIECH OLEJNIK a six-week residency this spring.

In their collaborative videos, Gorlitz and Olejnik present fictional, fabricated environments, with the help of models, sets and stop-motion animation. These invented spaces are constructed intuitively with materials at hand, and refer to generic and familiar, yet emptied social spaces. These videos present a reality that is never stable but in the process of becoming: like a book, where with every turning page the interworking of the whole is re-framed and restructured. In this way, reality can be discussed as something reworked, as something incomplete, and as something with active potentiality.

SARAH JANE GORLITZ & WOJCIECH OLEJNIK‘s collaborative work has been presented in solo exhibitions at Eyelevel Gallery (Halifax), Struts Gallery (Sackville), Neutral Ground (Regina), Optica, Centre D’Art Contemporain (Montreal), and Kapitalisitischer Realismus (Berlin), and in recent group exhibitions at The Soap Factory (Minneapolis), 6 Picoles Cycliques (Lyon), Kunstverein INGAN (Berlin), and Truck (Calgary). They have received funding from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Arts Council and in 2008 were awarded the Joseph S. Stauffer prize for emerging artists.

The artists gratefully acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins: Massive Sale @ YYZ MALL

JENNIFER MARMAN & DANIEL BORINS | MASSIVE SALE @ YYZ MALL

SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2009 – SATURDAY 08 AUGUST 2009

In the 1970s, the concept and practice of the artist-run centre emerged as a revolutionary challenge to public and commercial galleries in Canada. They focused on supporting the most vital component of any art space the artist. Nearly forty years later, it’s time to ask: how can artist-run centres better serve artists?

YYZ, which turned thirty this year, is responding to contemporary discourse about the breadth of artist support at artist-run centres by working beyond the crate and offering Toronto-based artists, JENNIFER MARMAN & DANIEL BORINS, a two-month residency this summer. The Z Gallery will be utilized as the artists studio, available to the artist around the clock and open to the public during gallery hours. An exhibition of work produced in the space follows the residency.

YYZ’s current direction toward artist engagement was born out of its renewed mandate to provide artists with the financial, physical and intellectual support for diverse practices. With YYreZidency, YYZ takes the leap of opening the process of creation to the public. Curiosity, questioning, investigation and participation are encouraged and indeed expected in this new space where the isolation of the studio is broken down, and conversations between artists and audience are a natural part of the formation of work. This reinvention of the space instigates social interaction and exposes the audience to the stages of process and progress that are usually shielded from public view. MARMAN and BORINS’s presence at YYZ as an interdisciplinary duo promises an ever-transformative space where no two visits will be alike and anything is possible.

On June 27, 2009, Marmco International will celebrate a groundbreaking ceremony in 401 Richmond, kicking off construction of Massive Sale @ YYZ Mall, the first ever artist-run centre mall of its kind in Canada. YYZ Mall will host 430 square feet of retail space in a mini-mall built within the YYZ gallery. It will feature a variety of small businesses operated by artists. It is anticipated that the development of YYZ Mall will enhance the retail mix of the area and boost both economic and social growth. Social and off-site attractions such as lectures, satellite spaces and events will enhance the mixed-use qualities of the mall. As part of its program to support its retail tenants, YYZ Mall will strive to provide unique advertising and marketing solutions to help businesses become successful in the current marketplace. In these challenging economic conditions, YYZ Mall offers a new model for small business owners, artists and their audience alike.

The Massive Sale @ YYZ Mall residency and exhibition originates from observations about the unique nature of small businesses in Toronto, and the ways in which the individuality and creativity of small business mirrors contemporary artistic strategies. Marman and Borins act as artist-producers, who enable the practice of four chosen groups of artists: Lucia de l’Amour and Ken Ogawa; Ulysses Castellanos; Eric Shinn and Karey Shinn; and Aleks Ognjanovich, as collaborators in the residency and exhibition. The traits of individuality, eccentricity, difference, and humour, which these artists have in abundance, mirror the cultural meshwork that makes independent businesses in Toronto unique, and thus the local urban experience unique. With respect to the four artists groups involved, illustrated is the concept that without the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses and artists, the city of Toronto would become a monoculture. The four groups of artists have eagerly opted to participate in Massive Sale Mall of 401 Richmond within the premise that if they were asked to open a small store what would it be like, what would it do, or sell? All of the artists have responded in highly individualistic manner.

Marman and Borins through this residency and exhibition engage with the concept of dematerializing and yet broadening the possibilities of the art object through a practice of social interaction with, and the creative participation of, other artists. The artists raise sociological questions about the tensions and power dynamics implicit within social based arts practice. Questions are asked of relational aesthetics, whether it is a post movement, and if so what hybridized strategies can be used to make it relevant? Within the context of a post-relational aesthetics art world, and the significance of the artist-run centre as backdrop for an art exhibition, Massive Sale both defiantly and with complicity responds to the modalities and consequences of the current economic conditions that artists face on a local and national level within the context of funding cuts and a menacing economic climate.

JENNIFER MARMAN and DANIEL BORINS practice sculpture, installation and media art in Toronto. MARMAN AND BORINS have shown work both in Canada and internationally, including exhibitions at: Art Santa Fe, in Santa Fe New Mexico; Galeria Vermelho, and Paco Das Artes, in Sao Paulo Brazil; at the University of Toronto; the Toronto International Art Fair; and the Toronto Sculpture Garden. In the fall of 2007 and winter of 2008 MARMAN AND BORINS showed their sculpture The Presence Meter at the National Gallery of Canada, as part of an exhibition entitled Dots, Pulses, and Loops. In the fall of 2008 MARMAN AND BORINS participated in a group sculpture show at the National Gallery of Canada entitled Caught in the Act. Most recently, they had their first museum level solo show at the Art Gallery of York University in Toronto.

MARMAN AND BORINS have been invited to speak at a number of galleries and institutions, including: the National Gallery of Canada, The Power Plant’s Hub-Bub series, the Art Gallery of Ontario, University of Toronto, the Ontario College of Art and Design, York University, and Syracuse University.

Their work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada (2008) and they are represented by Georgia Scherman Projects in Toronto.

MARMAN AND BORINS graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 2001. Prior to that, MARMAN received a BA in Philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, and BORINS received a BA in Art History from McGill University.

Swintak: Self-Aware Shed

SWINTAK | SELF-AWARE SHED
SATURDAY 28 JUNE 2008 SATURDAY 09 AUGUST 2008

OPENING RECEPTION | FRIDAY 27 JUNE 2008, 8:00PM 10:00PM

swintak

The inaugural YYreZidency artist will exhibit the work created throughout her summer-long residency. Having constructed a large shack at the entrance of the Y Gallery, SWINTAK continues to experiment with the consciousness of the structure throughout the remainder of her residency. The exact contents of the September exhibition are not yet known, but will surely evoke the transformation of space through, the artist says, what may or may not be a self-aware shed.

SWINTAK is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and inventor. Part armchair scientist, part amateur enthusiast, Swintak’s projects generally involve an experiment with an unknown outcome. Working in a number of media including installation, intervention and performance, Swintak has exhibited in a variety of contexts including Nuit Blanche (Toronto), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), ArtCity Festival of Art and Architecture (Calgary), Conflux Festival of Psychogeography (New York), Space 1026 (Philadelphia), The Living Museum (Greensboro), Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (Halifax) and Rockefeller Centre (New York). Swintak has also presented numerous public installations and relational happenings in places like Vancouver, Teslin, New York, Salt Lake City, Death Valley and Los Angeles. Swintak is currently working on a series of Impossible Projects with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. She received a BFA in 2003 from NSCAD University and is committed to continual self-directed research.

Read The Artist, the Gallery and the Self-Aware Shed by MICHELLE JACQUES an essay published alongside SWINTAK’S exhibition.

The Artist, the Gallery and the Self-Aware Shed by Michelle Jacques

SWINTAK | SELF-AWARE SHED
SATURDAY 28 JUNE 2008 – SATURDAY 09 AUGUST 2008

OPENING RECEPTION | FRIDAY 27 JUNE 2008, 8:00PM – 10:00PM

This text by MICHELLE JACQUES was published alongside SWINTAKS The Self-Aware Shed exhibition

THE ARTIST, THE GALLERY AND THE SELF-AWARE SHED
By Michelle Jacques

Today, the modernist vision of the ideal gallery space, which accentuates the art object while the surrounding architecture recedes, is still a prevailing trend. However, in current day Toronto, at a moment when architectural renovation and the conversion of historical buildings has become endemic, the reality is that very few exhibition spaces possess pure purpose-built lines and forms. YYZ, for instance, located in the large complex at 401 Richmond Street West is defined by a modernist aesthetic that has been inserted into a late nineteenth-century industrial building. Through the two renovations that have been carried out since the artist-run centre moved into this location in 1997, the lexicon of the modernist gallery space has been laid over the rugged building features that still speak of its original function. Given this architectural history then, what does it mean that local artist, Christine Swintak, who was invited to use YYZ’s gallery space as her studio for the summer, has inserted a rustic shed into this semi-modernist setting? And then, what does it mean that she built a modernist structure connecting the inside of the shed to the outside of 401 Richmond?

Consideration of some of the artist’s previous projects The thing that won’t let you walk away (an elaborate frontispiece constructed at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2005 out of IKEA furniture, second hand clothes, discarded office supplies and other detritus) and the Dumpster Hotel (a luxury hotel room created in a City of Toronto dumpster for Nuit Blanche in 2007), makes it evident that she has a penchant for using humble materials and references whether the languages of vernacular building or waste management structures to challenge our expectations about the physical and virtual construction of the art world, and for revealing the elitist underpinnings of its modernist origins. A project which shared these inclinations was the VIP Shed, created in 2007 in response to the AGO’s invitation to participate in Massive Party, an annual fundraising event. Swintak erected a pre-fabricated, sheet metal shed in the midst of the posh affair; given its tiny proportions and the 1,500 guests, the lineup to get into her exclusive sanctum began almost immediately. Luckily, she had a roster of local artists (all of whom she insisted receive free tickets to the exclusive and expensive event) with her to manage the wealthy folk anxiously awaiting entry. Setting up the garden shed at Massive Party was Swintak’s attempt to bring the antics of the art gallery fundraiser back down to earth.

In the context of these examples of Swintak’s past work, the shed currently erected in YYZ might then be understood as critique of the white cube and its somewhat uneasy intervention into the industrial architecture of 401 Richmond. But while the earlier projects relied to a certain extent on humour in order to achieve their full impact, the Self-Aware Shedseems to eschew comedy for pathos. There is perhaps a certain absurdity in the current enterprise, which saw Swintak taking apart a wooden shed, transporting it from its rural site north of the city, and resurrecting it inside the downtown gallery space. However, her exploration of these elements does not resolve with the kind of witty effortlessness that has infused much of her recent work. Her juxtaposition of the refinement of the gallery and the unpretentiousness of the shed is more complex. Yes, the shed serves to interrupt the space of contemporary art presentation by drawing our attention to the structural vestiges that denote the once industrial usage of the building in which the gallery is housed. This is apparent in the positioning of the shed, which is situated awkwardly in the corner of the gallery, partially blocking the opening to the space, underneath a ceiling fan and with its door stuck wedged open by a pillar that recalls the building’s industrial past. But while it was perhaps Swintak’s original intention to create a simple equation in which the insertion of the rustic structure into the modernist gallery would draw attention to the industrial past of the building, or to insert something real into the gallery in order to draw attention to the artifice of the space, what she discovered was a much more multifarious set of relationships, between herself and the space, herself and the shed, the shed and the space and the outside world.

During her occupation of the space, it became evident that her critique could not be conveyed with a quick one-two punch i.e. dropping the shed into the gallery rather it needed to be conveyed as a complex argument that drew attention to all aspects of the connections between the space, the shed, the artist and the outside world. To convey the convolution of these associations, she constructed a corridor that joins the shed’s large double doors to the gallery’s loading entrance; at this entrance, she created a sort of Juliet balcony that enables viewers to look out into the back alley behind the building. Visitors to YYZ would normally find these doors closed, and as they are painted white, they more-or-less blend into the walls under normal circumstances. In Swintak’s treatment of the space, they have been transformed into a look-out point that elevates what would normally be considered a banal view. In effect, this creates a theatre of the real, where the incidental elements of the outside world are absorbed into the exhibition, and in a sense, absorbed into the space. The structural elements are accompanied by a two-channel video that features views of the shed set against a simulated day break and sunset, in which the artist commands day to begin and night to fall.

Swintak’s exploration of the relationship between the interior space of the gallery and the exterior space of the real world evokes the ideas of Robert Smithson, albeit in a manner that disorders the aims of his ruminations about the site (the land) and the non-site (the gallery). And of course her use of the shed as the central motif of her project calls to mind his 1970 project, Partially Buried Woodshed. Initially devised during an artist residency at Kent State University as an investigation into entropy, the simple action of Smithson’s shed project was to dump truckloads of dirt onto a derelict building until its central beam cracked under the weight. This anti-pastoral act took on unexpected implications when, just a few months after he completed the project, members of the Ohio National Guard killed four students and wounded nine more during a protest of the US invasion of Cambodia. When someone inscribed May 4 Kent 70 on thePartially Buried Woodshed, it became a de facto memorial to the horrific event, although it was set afire in 1975 by arsonists and only its foundation exists as a vague imprint in the earth today.

It is unlikely that there will ever be a shed created by an artist that bears the same kind of profundity and mythology as Smithson’s, but as Swintak discovered, even the most apparently innocuous of sheds can come to embody allusions that provide us with insights into the essence of its past, present and potential environments. Regardless of what initially compelled Swintak to bring the shed into the gallery space, in the end, the project is defined by her desire to let the shed explain itself hence the title Self-Aware Shed, which implies that it understands that it exists as an entity that is unique from the things that surround it. Perhaps the impulse to impart consciousness to a shack is a little unusual. But it also allowed the artist to step out of the role of cultural arbiter which she had occupied in her previous projects. Here, Swintak does not tell us what to think about the constructedness of the art world rather, she creates a set of relations that invite us to interact with the shed, the gallery, the building and the outside world as we see fit.

MICHELLE JACQUES is a Toronto-based curator and writer. She is currently Associate Curator, contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where her recent work has included projects with Luis Jacob, Jennifer Steinkamp, Karen Henderson, Kori Newkirk and Christine Swintak. From 2002-2004, she was programming director of the Centre for Art Tapes, a Halifax-based artist-run centre that supports the production and presentation of media art. Jacques’s recent writings include Some Thoughts on Speech Bubbles in Pro Forma: language/text/visual art, volume 3 (YYZBOOKS, 2007); and Dialogues: Inhabiting Culture at a Time of Rapid De-Publicization, co-authored with Janna Graham and Anthony Kiendl for the thirtieth anniversary issue of Fuse magazine.

SWINTAK is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and inventor. Part armchair scientist, part amateur enthusiast, Swintak’s projects generally involve an experiment with an unknown outcome. Working in a number of media including installation, intervention and performance, Swintak has exhibited in a variety of contexts including Nuit Blanche (Toronto), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), ArtCity Festival of Art and Architecture (Calgary), Conflux Festival of Psychogeography (New York), Space 1026 (Philadelphia), The Living Museum (Greensboro), Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (Halifax) and Rockefeller Centre (New York). Swintak has also presented numerous public installations and relational happenings in places like Vancouver, Teslin, New York, Salt Lake City, Death Valley and Los Angeles. Swintak is currently working on a series of Impossible Projects with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. She received a BFA from NSCAD University and is committed to continual self-directed research.

SWINTAK would like to thank Deirdre Fraser-Gudrunas, Iris Fraser-Gudrunas, Heather Haynes, Martin Heath, Emily Hogg, Michelle Jacques, Chad Jagoe, Steve Kado, Heather Lee, Sandy Plotnikoff, Amy C Lam, John Marriott, Jon McCurley, Don Miller, Seth Scriver, Ward Williamson, Allan Kosmajac and everyone at YYZ for their input and support.