June 20 – August 18, 2019
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

SUMMER OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, June 20, 2019 | 7–9 PM | FREE
ARTIST TALK: Sunday, June 23, 2019 | 2 PM | FREE

Bringing the work of artists Christian Hidaka and Raphaël Zarka in Toronto for the first time, this exhibition expands their continuing dialogue around the connected histories of scientific, philosophic and artistic invention.

Primarily sculptural yet often extending into photography, drawing and writing, Zarka’s work relies on the collection and re-contextualization of iconic forms that range from minimal to complex geometries. Similarly, Hidaka draws from distinct sets of visual languages to create paintings that merge contradictory references and techniques of representation.

The vast lexicon of spaces and forms serves as an ecology of critical and contemporary relevance for Zarka and Hidaka as they repurpose existing structures, subvert linear histories and disrupt prescribed canons. The one-point perspective of Italian Renaissance shaped by Piero della Francesca and the influence of Ancient Greek geometry merges seamlessly with alternative depictions of the pictorial plane, boundlessly unfolding as in Chinese and Japanese painted scrolls. Overshadowing viewpoints are counter-balanced by equalizing oblique perspective, creating ambiguities that undermine hierarchical notions and suggest the countless, interweaved cultural forms, codes and stories that populate our environments.

For Peter’s Proscenium, Hidaka and Zarka consider the gallery as a site of intellectual reflection where ideas and thoughts are distilled. Inspired by the original architecture of the gallery – the repurposed library of a former elementary school – the artists’ vision derives from their awareness of a concealed arched proscenium now hidden by the renovations. These buried vestiges of previous use, along with the visual explorations of 17th century German stonemason and draughtman Peter Halt, inspire a site-specific spatial investigation. As Hidaka considers the entwined histories of theatre and the development of pictorial space, Zarka translates Halt’s intriguing geometric drawings of volumes into three-dimensional objects, threading a conversation around both art and science’s drive to investigate and grasp reality.

Staging the gallery as a site for observation and reflection, Hidaka’s murals create the illusion of endless space while focusing attention inwards, where Zarka’s sculptures become mysterious protagonists. Backgrounds move forward into the spotlight, while viewers become actors in the performance of the art encounter. Making irreverent connections and disturbing dominant outlooks, Hidaka and Zarka invite us to explore shifting positions that question the representation of reality as absolute, favouring generative inconsistencies and plurality of views.



Exhibition is generously supported by Institut français and The Cultural & Science Services of the Embassy of France in Canada.

Christian Hidaka was born in Noda, Japan and currently lives and works in London, UK. He studied Fine Art at Winchester School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools, London. Hidaka’s paintings have been widely exhibited internationally, including solo and group shows at MNAC Bucharest (Romania), MAK Vienna, CAC Le Grand Café (St Nazaire), Synagogue de Delme (France), MUDAM (Luxembourg), Torrance Art Museum (USA), The Weisman Art Museum (USA) and The Goss-Michael Foundation (Dallas, TX), Le Consortium (Dijon) and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. His work is in numerous collections, including Centre National d’Art Plastique, France, MUDAM Collection, Luxembourg, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The Saatchi Gallery, London, Sigg Collection, Switzerland, and many others. He is represented by Michel Rein Gallery, Paris/Brussels.

Raphaël Zarka was born in Montpellier, France and studied at the Winchester School of Art, UK and at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he lives and works up to this day. Zarka’s works have been exhibited in institutions worldwide, including the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo (Roma), Museo el Eco (Mexico), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Espai d’art Contemporani de Castelló (Castellon), Museum of Modern Art (Oxford). His work is part of prestigious collections, he was awarded the Prize of Fondation d’entreprise Ricard in 2008 and he was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2013. Zarka is also the author of four books related to the practice of skateboarding published by B42. He is represented by Michel Rein Gallery, Paris/Brussels and Luciana Brito, São Paulo.

Image at top: Christian Hidaka and Raphaël Zarka, Gnomonica, 2019 (exhibition detail, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest). Photo: Raphaël Zarka.