Millie Chen, Emelie Chhangur, Hannah Claus, Stefan Hoffmann and Dan Perjovschi

September 21 to November 28, 2010
Koffler Gallery Off-Site
Balisi (4 locations): 711 Queen Street West, 668 College Street, 439 Danforth Avenue, 2507 Yonge Street
Curator: Mona Filip

Presented in partnership with Printopolis: International Symposium on Printmaking

Bearing a written message, an iconic image, a familiar or an eccentric brand, the T-shirt makes a statement, expressing individual choice in creating a personal image. As a basic clothing item, the T-shirt has become one of the most ubiquitous identity-defining elements. Five Canadian and international artists are invited by the Koffler Gallery to explore notions of displacement between cultures and identities, designing limited edition silkscreen-based T-shirts to be disseminated through several Toronto stores. The project is presented in conjunction with Printopolis, an international symposium organized by Canada’s leading printmaking centre, Open Studio, in celebration of its 40th Anniversary.

Exploring the T-shirt as a medium for communication, Millie Chen, Emelie Chhangur, Hannah Claus, Stefan Hoffmann and Dan Perjovschi engage with issues of race, gender, immigration and social justice. Based in Ridgeway, Ontario, Millie Chen delves into her Chinese heritage, reinterpreting the motifs of Chinoiserie wallpaper and disrupting the fictional Chinese idyllic scenes as projections of European desire. With a text-based T-shirt design, Toronto artist Emelie Chhangur addresses inter-racial relationships and the history of discrimination practiced against those of mixed racial identity.

Montreal artist Hannah Claus manipulates decorative patterns to explore the intersection of her two cultural identities, Native and European-Canadian, searching for a new language that reveals a poignant absence. Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi, who gained international recognition for his shrewd political cartoons that explore global events, contributes a T-shirt that comments on the immigrant condition and the inherent dislocation of individual identity.

Rotterdam-based Stefan Hoffmann is the featured artist invited by Open Studio in conjunction with Printopolis. Hoffman creates work that ranges from site-specific wall and window interventions to object-based multiples, using silkscreen to layer images drawn from pictograms, urban signage, medical illustrations, and old heraldry books with visual elements derived on location. In a public event at Balisi on Queen Street West during Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2010, Hoffmann will transfer his images to T-shirts brought in by the public. Creating an original piece for each participant, the artist re-emphasizes the democratic essence of this popular clothing item. In addition, Hoffmann will intervene on the storefront window and walls, developing imagery derived from the local urban context to highlight the MIXEDFIT project.