March 2 to April 30, 2006
Koffler Gallery
Curator: Carolyn Bell Farrell
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 2, 7 – 9 pm; Artist Talk: 7 pm
Free Guided Sunday Bus Tour: April 30, 1 – 5:30 pm

Blue Republic is a critically acclaimed, multi-disciplinary artist collective. Originally from Poland, and now based in Toronto, the collective has exhibited internationally with projects at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna; the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen, Germany; and CCA Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw; as well as Oakville Galleries in Canada.

Artist members Anna Passakas and Radoslaw Kudlinski produce installations that combine humour, wit and metaphor to stimulate discourse on political ideas, power structures and economic imbalances. Nostalgia for the Present, their exhibition at the Koffler Gallery, includes an array of discrete objects and site-related installations that further the artists’ explorations of urban culture. In this meta-city, Passakas and Kudlinski approach notions of utopia and dystopia though a fictional, futuristic lens, revealing the desires, fantasies and prejudices that drive our contemporary society.

Central to this exhibition is Speeding (2004⎯), a sprawling urban environment realized on a miniaturized scale. Here, debris from the present-day⎯cardboard, fashion magazines, tin cans, Styrofoam, plastic bottles, etc.⎯form the building blocks of the future. In Limited Activities, garbage is strewn on the gallery floor, and then swept into circles by hand brooms. Each broom is tied with a string and attached in the centre of each circle to the floor/walls, producing a radius of what may be read as personal space⎯a material manifestation of the subjective boundaries that define and divide. In another installation, Beautiful Infections (2006), outcroppings of small plastic blocks appear on an aluminum stepladder. Ascending the steps, the blocks clone the shape of the ladder, replicating its order. As the block formations extend to the adjacent gallery wall, movement independent of this organizing structure takes place. An insidious new order is generated, characterized by random, accelerated and unbridled growth.

In Nostalgia for the Present, Passakas and Kudlinski assemble artworks from discarded industrial materials and re-fashioned ready-mades, inviting reflection on the commonplace and the ideologies that inscribe them. Alluding to systems of authority, currencies of exchange, and habits of consumption, collection and waste, their project exposes the underlying mechanisms and motivations that govern society’s evolution.

A publication for Nostalgia for the Present is forthcoming with an essay by esteemed author and culture critic Mark Kingwell, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

General Information

Reception and Gallery Talk: Nostalgia for the Present will be on view in the Koffler Gallery from Thursday, March 2 to Sunday, April 30, 2006. A reception for the artists will be held Thursday, March 2 from 7 to 9 pm, with a gallery talk at 7 pm.

Free Guided Sunday Bus Tour: On Sunday, April 30 there will be a free, guided bus tour to the Koffler Gallery, the Art Gallery of York University and Doris McCarthy Gallery UTSC. The bus departs from The Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue) at 1:00 pm returning downtown at approximately 5:30 pm. To reserve a seat, please call AGYU at (416) 736-5169.

Group Tours and Workshops: Gallery talks and tours are free and are offered in both English and French. Group tours and workshops are also available. For information, please call (416) 636-1880 ext. 270.

Gallery Location: The Koffler Gallery is part of the Koffler Centre of the Arts, located at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, 4588 Bathurst Street, three stoplights (two TTC stops) north of Sheppard Ave. The gallery is accessible by TTC via the Bathurst 7 bus north from the Bloor/Bathurst subway station, or the 160 Bathurst North bus from Wilson subway station. Buses stop at the BJCC.

Gallery Hours: The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Sunday noon to 4 pm and Monday by appointment. Closed Saturday. Closed from Thursday, April 13 through Thursday, April 20 for Passover. Admission is free.

Acknowledgements: The Koffler Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of its Patrons and Members, BMO Harris Private Banking, the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.