Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins: Massive Sale @ YYZ MALL

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Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins: Massive Sale @ YYZ MALL

September 5, 2009 @ 11:00 am - October 17, 2009 @ 5:00 pm


On June 27, 2009, Marmco International celebrated 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 (Marmco International is the pseudo-corporate-moniker of Toronto based artists JENNIFER MARMAN and DANIEL BORINS). Massive Sale: YYZ MALL will host 430 square feet of retail space in a mini-mall built within the YYZ gallery. The Mall will officially open on September 11, 2009 and it will feature four stores/small businesses designed by four sets of artists. Marman and Borins have conceived of and facilitated this project as part of a summer residency at YYZ artists outlet. In the winter of 2009 Marman and Borins invited four groups of artists to participate in this project by asking them: if they could open a store or small business, what would they dream of doing? The artists included in the project are Ken Ogawa, Aleks Ognjanovich, Ulysses Castellanos, and the Shinn family Karey, Nick and their children Eric and Zoe.

The summer residency culminates in the grand opening of Massive Sale: YYZ MALL on September 11, with the stores being operated for six weeks until October 17. Marman and Borins conceive of the exhibition as both mall, and as a totalizing conceptual art installation.

A unique aspect of this project is that four groups of artists will run four stores/small businesses and that they will be in attendance in the gallery space during store hours throughout the duration of September 11 through to October 17.

The Businesses:

Respectively, the names of the stores/small businesses are: 156 Ehohe (Ogawa); War and Leisure (Ognjanovich); Chirajito Clown Painter (Castellanos); and Shinndustry International (Shinn). The themes of the stores are as follows:

156 Ehohe: Money exchange, perfume, and mini Golf.
War and Leisure: Men’s leisurewear and accessories based on the dialectic of War and Leisure.
Chirajito Clown Painter: An artist workshop, studio and showroom where one can be surrounded by clown imagery, have one’s portrait done as a clown, and that also functions as a record shop.
Shinndustry International: A family run business since 1998 that sells digital software and media, printed matter, apparel, accessories, textcessories, souvenirs, and design artifacts.

Slogans respectively are:
156 Ehohe: Hole in 1-5-6′
War and Leisure: War is over, let’s party!’
Chirajito Clown Painter: Everyone’s a Clown’
Shinndustry International: From a to zee its Shinndustry An international family business since 1998′

The Process:

Marman and Borins have acted in a diverse set of roles – as producers, interior architects, builders, business developers, and finally as artists, to enable four other sets of artists, and to facilitate the production of these artists’ four stores through initial planning in the winter and spring of 2009, to the construction of the stores in the summer of 2009, and the implementation and opening of the stores in September of 2009. Led by Marman and Borins throughout this time period, the artist groups/store/small business owners were prompted to go through a series of thematic considerations, business development concepts, design and branding exercises. The process unfolded in a manner akin to Marman and Borins acting as business consultants and project producers.

The Themes and Concepts:

Massive Sale: YYZ MALL blends artifice and reality, with contemporary social and artistic responses pertaining to the programming agenda of YYZ Artists Outlet, and with reference to greater social concerns on an urban level in Toronto.

On the level of artifice and reality:

Marman and Borins create a context where a series of business modalities and cultural programming entities intertwine. It is anticipated that the implementation of Massive Sale: YYZ MALL will augment the retail mix of 401 Richmond and boost both the economic and social growth of YYZ. Social and cultural attractions such as lectures, satellite spaces and special events will enhance the mixed-use qualities of the mall. In support of its retail tenants, YYZ Mall will attempt to provide unique advertising and marketing solutions to help its businesses become successful in the milieu of the gallery space. With respect to the current global downturn in economic conditions, YYZ Mall offers an ironic new model for small business owners, artists and their audiences alike where artists and shopkeepers alter their strategies in search of economic viability. Marman and Borins carry out all of these tasks and efforts out in a serious and professional manner, yet they as artists also recognize the humour and incongruities that exist with regard to setting up such a scenario in an artist run centre. Questions abound from YYZ Mall: Will the artists involved make money if they are at no financial risk (ie the space has been given to them)? Will the artists be successful in attracting shoppers and visitors to their space? How will the public respond?

With reference to the programming agenda of YYZ:

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 has become a post movement, and if so what hybridized strategies can be used to make it relevant, or to move beyond it? 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: YYZ MALL 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.

With reference to social concerns on an urban level in Toronto:

Massive Sale: YYZ MALL 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. The traits of individuality, eccentricity, difference, and humour, which the four artist groups in YYZ Mall 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 artists involved, illustrated is the concept that without the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses, artists, and creative types, the city of Toronto would become a monoculture. The four groups of artists have eagerly opted to participate in Massive Sale: YYZ 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. YYZ Mall also ruminates on the aspects of the creative city and how the creative city is displacing an earlier generation of small businesses and retail stores, replacing them with service sector stores and businesses. Will we mourn this loss, or will we even notice?

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.

Read NADJA SAYEJ‘S Attention All Shoppers: Demoting the ArtStar, Coming to a Store Near You, an essay about JENNIFER MARMAN and DANIEL BORINS exhibition.


September 5, 2009 @ 11:00 am
October 17, 2009 @ 5:00 pm
Event Category:


140-401 Richmond St. W.
Toronto, ON M5V 3A8 Canada