September 17 to November 29, 2015

FALL OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, September 17, 2015 | 6 – 9 PM 
Koffler Gallery

Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip | Curatorial Advisor: Magda González-Mora

Koffler Gallery presents the first solo show in Canada of British-Spanish artist filmmaker Isabel Rocamora. Her large-scale video installations consider the performative language of human gesture and its relationship to individual and cultural identity. Troubled Histories, Ecstatic Solitudes includes recent and new films that examine issues of authority, faith, exile, territorial attachment and the intimacy of violence.

Set in the historically charged landscape of the Normandy beaches, Body of War (2010) reflects on the transformation of man into soldier. Punctuated by testimonies of retired and serving soldiers, the film deconstructs, through its rigorous mise-en-scène, the visceral act of hand-to-hand combat – inviting the viewer to engage in the relationship between human intimacy and the brutality of war.

Portrait in time and gesture (2005) poetically examines the transformation of the self’s core over the course of an individual’s history. Referencing photography, which traditionally claims to offer a genuine representation of identity, Portrait looks at moments of inconsistency and oscillations over time, describing a body that is at once separating and re-uniting with itself, betraying feelings of self-multiplication and revealing gaps in self-perception.

Across two enveloping projections and positioned between the fictive and the testimonial, Horizon of Exile (2007) stages female identity at the centre of a poignant meditation on the underlying cultural causes of displacement. Set in vast desert scapes and guided by individual narratives from the Middle East, the film reflects on the condition of women within authoritative societies, employing testimonies and choreographed bodies to consider issues of self-image, belonging and effacement.

Premiering in this exhibition, Rocamora’s latest work, Faith (2015), contemplates the conflict between the three dominant religions in Jerusalem, seeking a common ground in the gesture of prayer and its essential humanity. The three-channel film juxtaposes three men – one Orthodox Jewish, one Greek Orthodox Christian and one Sunni Muslim – praying in time and place synchronism. The Judean Desert serves as setting for the intimacy of worship, referencing both the Biblical holy land that nourishes all three religions and a liminal landscape positioned as possible threshold towards a space of communion. Revealing a meaningful similarity of inner state and gestural intention, the film communicates a hope for transcending not only this worldly existence but also our divisive political and territorial debates.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with a commissioned essay by Mark Cauchi, Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities, York University.

The exhibition and included works are generously supported by:

Chad and Lisa Wolfond

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Signals Media      SED      Amister Collection      Galila’s Collection

 


PUBLIC PROGRAMS

Artist Talk: Isabel Rocamora
Monday, September 21, 2015 | 7 PM | FREE
Ryerson University Library, Room LIB072
In conjunction with her major exhibition Troubled Histories, Ecstatic Solitudes organized by the Koffler Gallery, Isabel Rocamora will offer insight into her artistic practice, closely discussing her working process from themes through cinematography to directorial approach. Her acclaimed film works explore the relationship between the moving body, place, temporality and the lens, creating a distinct visual language at the intersection of the performative and the testimonial. Full details.

FREE BUS TOURS
Koffler Gallery / Varley Art Gallery / Zion Schoolhouse Site-Sensitive Installations
Sunday, September 20, 2015 | 11 AM – 5:15 PM
Starts at Koffler Gallery
| Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
The tour starts at Koffler Gallery at 11 AM and then departs for the Varley Art Gallery in Unionville and an artist talk with Brendan Fernandes, continuing on to the Historic Zion Schoolhouse in North York with the Gifts + Occupations Collective (Yael Brotman, Matthew Brower, Libby Hague, and Penelope Stewart, with guest artist Panya Clark Espinal). Bus returns to the Koffler Gallery by 5:15 PM. RSVP to reserve your seat: info@giftsandoccupations.ca

Koffler Gallery / Blackwood Gallery / AGYU / Doris McCarthy Gallery
Sunday, September 27, 2015 | Noon – 5 PM
Starts at Koffler Gallery | Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
The tour starts at Koffler Gallery at 12 PM and then departs for Blackwood Gallery, Art Gallery of York University and Doris McCarthy Gallery. To make a reservation, contact the Doris McCarthy Gallery: dmg@utsc.utoronto.ca or 416.287.7007


Isabel Rocamora (1968) is a British-Spanish artist filmmaker. Her practice originated in performance, with live works commissioned by institutions such as the Arts Council of England and the Victoria and Albert Museum (1993 – 2003). Awarded internationally, her films have been exhibited at CCC Strozzina, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence; the National Museum of Photography, Copenhagen; the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel; the Austrian Cultural Forum, New York; and the Bologna Museum of Modern Art, among other venues. Current shows include the Musée de la Civilisation, Québec; MUNTREF Museum, Buenos Aires and this solo show at the Koffler Gallery. Rocamora’s work is in several international collections. She lives and works between Edinburgh and Barcelona, and teaches film practice at Edinburgh Napier University. She is represented by Galeria SENDA. www.isabelrocamora.org


Image at top: Film Still of Body of War, a film by Isabel Rocamora, U.K, 2010. Courtesy of Galeria SENDA.