Tag Archives: Photography

Koffler Gallery Spring 2018 Opening Reception

Join us for the Koffler Gallery’s Spring 2018 Opening Reception: Esther Shalev-Gerz.

Based in Paris for the past three decades, Esther Shalev-Gerz is internationally recognized for her significant contributions to the field of public art and her consistent investigation into the construction of memory, history, nature, democracy and cultural identities. For her first exhibition in Toronto, the Koffler Gallery presents four recent video and photography installations that explore memory and migration.

Esther Shalev-Gerz is a Primary Exhibition, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Learn More

Koffler Gallery Spring 2018 Opening Reception

Thursday, April 5, 2018 | 6–9 PM | FREE

Koffler Gallery

Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street


Join us for the Koffler Gallery’s Spring 2018 Opening Reception: Esther Shalev-Gerz.

Based in Paris for the past three decades, Esther Shalev-Gerz is internationally recognized for her significant contributions to the field of public art and her consistent investigation into the construction of memory, history, nature, democracy and cultural identities. For her first exhibition in Toronto, the Koffler Gallery presents four recent video and photography installations that explore memory and migration.

Esther Shalev-Gerz is a Primary Exhibition, Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.

Learn More

2Fik: His and Other Stories

April 6 to June 4, 2017
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

SPRING OPENING RECEPTION:
Thursday, April 6, 2017 | 6 – 9 PM | FREE

Read the digital gallery publication with an essay by curator Mona Filip:

Digital Publication


Assuming the multiple roles of artistic director, photographer, and performer, 2Fik stages elaborate tableaux that often re-enact familiar compositions derived from famous paintings. Toying with reality, his constructed images destabilize the viewer’s assumed points of reference, playfully orchestrating scenes that comment thoughtfully on current society.

Born in Paris to a Moroccan Muslim family, 2Fik moved to Montréal in 2003. His encounter with the city’s multicultural environment inspired him to examine issues of identity and its socio-political ramifications. Drawn out of this diverse backdrop, the recurring characters featured in his photographs are all interconnected and stem from the artist’s life experiences and personality: Abdel, who was born in Casablanca, moved to Montréal, and now works as a property manager, turning to religion out of loneliness rather than genuine faith; Fatima, who abandoned her university studies to follow Abdel as his good wife and remains devoted to him even though they married out of family pressure, not love; Kathryn, an overconfident, spoiled young woman from Montréal’s West Island, who is juggling many lovers, including Abdel; and Firas, who fled his native country and asked for refugee status in Canada, motivated by a well-founded fear of persecution based on his sexual orientation.

These are only a few of the lively, fictional individuals embodied by 2Fik in his beguiling photographs. Dismantling stereotypes, they compel viewers to question their own sense of self and reflect on acquired notions of gender, sexuality, belief, universality, and difference. 2Fik first explored these topics by diving into the intimacy and daily life of his characters in the series 2Fik Or Not 2Fik (2005–2009), and later by positioning them into well-known paintings reimagined from a contemporary perspective in his second series, 2Fik’s Museum (2010–2012). In 2013, 2Fik began a new series of site-specific performance-based photographs, restaging history paintings in order to consider national identity narratives.

His and Other Stories offers a survey of these recent bodies of work to examine cultural legacies and identity constructs. The exhibition’s centrepieces are his latest compositions that reconfigure allegorical representations of nationhood. A new work, created for this exhibition, reinterprets Benjamin West’s 1770 painting, The Death of General Wolfe, an emblematic example of Canadian history represented through a colonial lens. The original dramatically depicts the General’s fall during the 1759 Battle of Québec, celebrating him as a hero and a symbol of British dominance. Subverting this patriarchal, whitewashing viewpoint, 2Fik’s vibrant characters of mixed genders, ethnicities, and faiths infuse new meaning into this iconic image. Raising irreverent questions, his critical reinterpretation disrupts nationalistic discourses, opening conversation on today’s pluralistic realities. Shot at Honest Ed’s just before its demolition, the photograph recalls this site’s significance to Toronto and its diverse inhabitants, honouring both present and historical loss, mourning across time and cultural dimensions.

2Fik: His and Other Stories is generously supported by the Hal Jackman Foundation.

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Image at top: 2Fik, Manon au Rat blanc, 2012.

Raymond Boisjoly: Over a distance between one and many

April 14 to June 5, 2016
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Guest Curator: Sarah Robayo Sheridan

SPRING OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, April 14, 2016 | 6 – 9 PM
ARTIST & CURATOR TALK: Sunday, April 17, 2016 | 2 PM 

Read the digital gallery publication featuring a conversation between artist Raymond Boisjoly and curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan:

Digital Publication

The practice of Vancouver artist Raymond Boisjoly has consistently gravitated to photographic means of emphasizing the act of transmission. Through an ongoing strategy that foregrounds the misuse of common imaging technologies, he generates abstractions of source images that subvert photography’s frequently performed role of commemorating the finite. Boisjoly’s accentuation of the unsteady nature of technology resonates against issues of Indigeneity and cultural transformation, asserting new possibilities for inhabiting the present.

In this new body of work presented at the Koffler Gallery and in another iteration as a billboard project, Boisjoly offers a mediation of Maya Deren’s Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti, a posthumously released film concerning dance and spirit possession in Haitian Vodoun ritual. Playing the film on an iPhone and capturing the stream through a flatbed scanner, he generates a series of interference patterns and crossed signals. These images are printed on vinyl and pinned to the gallery walls, their obscured content demonstrating the futility of this process in understanding the film. Alluding to the artifacts of digital migration, this gesture creates an aesthetic experience rooted in the fleeting nature of images. A ubiquitous marker of media downtime, within Boisjoly’s frame of reference the signal scramble suggests willful resistance—the specific suppression of a source.

Part ethnographic interest, part artistic pursuit, Deren’s attachment to Vodoun cultural practice stood outside the imperatives of both avant-garde filmmaking and anthropological doctrine. In order to represent the rituals of Vodoun practitioners, Deren became one herself. In this transformation, Boisjoly sees a capacity to question how one understands oneself in relation to others and to account for changing circumstances—a possible model for cross-cultural investigation. As an artist of Haida and Quebecois descent, Boisjoly states that his engagement with Indigenous issues goes beyond his own identification as an Indigenous person, being motivated by an urgency to participate in this discussion without claiming a privileged position due to his heritage. He advances a way of seeking understanding through detour rather than immediate access, a process that figures as part of Deren’s complex negotiation of cross-cultural transmission.

Overlaying the images and crossing the white wall expanse, large vinyl-letter phrases articulate a response to the challenges represented within Deren’s project. The scale and colour of these sprawling texts suggest declarations, yet their vernacular is more open-ended. Image and word cohabit a visual terrain but their interaction pressures them against one another. While Boisjoly’s images bear evidence of transit, their migration produces new form and meaning as they are loosened from their source. Reacting to the complications of Deren’s film, his words also emerge out of a process of abstraction into a life not tethered to this moment of reception. The texts float and commingle with the images in noted contrast to the practice of photo-captioning, wrestling against the way language has typically been used to encode photography. Through Boisjoly’s highly nuanced approach, an echo is produced over time and distance, allowing entry into the detailed workings of transmission as an artistic and cultural imperative.


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A Primary Exhibition of the
2016 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival


Raymond Boisjoly is an Indigenous artist of Haida descent based in Vancouver, Canada. His practice concerns the deployment of images, objects and materials in and as Indigenous art. A reflexive approach is used to foreground the discourses which frame and delimit the work produced by Indigenous artists. Boisjoly has been included in exhibitions and projects at SITE Santa Fe, Triangle France (Marseille),  Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Vancouver Art Gallery, The Power Plant (Toronto) and Presentation House Gallery (North Vancouver). Boisjoly is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studio in the Department of Visual Art + Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery.

Images: Raymond Boisjoly, digital sketches for Over a distance between one and many, 2016. Courtesy the artist and Catriona Jeffries Gallery.

Koffler Gallery presents Erratics: Martha Baillie & Malka Greene with Alan Resnick

Erratics

Martha Baillie | Malka Greene with Alan Resnick

April 16 – June 14, 2015
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

Click here for the exhibition digital publication featuring an essay by Malka Greene

Bringing together two distinct archives, Erratics explores the tensions between memory and fiction, examining the role of photographs and words in uncovering hidden narratives. Attempting to convey two personal stories, these collections of images, texts and records reveal both the impossibility of fully knowing the past and the effectiveness of literary imagination in grappling with history.

Toronto author Martha Baillie adds further layers to her most recent book, The Search for Heinrich Schlögel, through a multi-media installation. In Baillie’s hypnotic novel, an archivist seeks the truth about Heinrich’s life through letters, documents and photographs providing glimpses into the young man’s journey from a small German town to exploring the Canadian North and finding himself lost in time. Hundreds of postcards, voice recordings and a musical composition created by Nic Gotham give material substance to Baillie’s literary plot that addresses our fraught relationship to the historic past.

In His Father Over Time, Toronto artist and curator Malka Greene mines a store of materials belonging to the late Dr. Morris Resnick – a former World War II reconnaissance photographer who avidly documented his life and times. Emulating the work of an archivist, Greene tries to piece together the threads of this private story. In parallel, Morris’s son – television writer and satirist Alan Resnick – explores his relationship with his father and family through the mnemonic device of the archive and responds with a personal series of texts. Where information may lack or memories fail to fill the gaps in time, fiction takes over.


 

A Featured Exhibition in the
2015 Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

 


Contemporary Art Bus Tour
Sunday, May 24, 2015 | 12 – 5 PM | FREE
Tour starts at the Koffler Gallery at Artscape Youngplace (180 Shaw Street) and then departs for Blackwood Gallery and AGYU, returning to Shaw Street at 5 PM. Seating is limited.

Please RSVP by Friday, May 22 to:
Sarah Munro | kofflergallery@kofflerarts.org | 647.925.0643 x 221

Erratic Narratives and Archival Diversions
Sunday, June 7, 2015 | 2 PM Artist Talk | 3 PM Round-Table Conversation | FREE
Martha Baillie, Malka Greene, Donna Bernardo-Ceriz, Dr. David Dorenbaum, Alison Pick, Maia Sutnik, Mona Filip (moderator) 

An artist-led walk-through with Martha Baillie and Malka Greene offers personal insights into the narrative and memory-steeped layers of Erratics, discussing the creative intentions that guided the development of the two projects in the exhibition. The afternoon continues with a broader conversation on the ways in which fact and fiction coalesce in the process of remembrance, examining the role of photographs and words in both uncovering and constructing memory. Donna Bernardo-Ceriz (Archivist, Ontario Jewish Archives), Dr. David Dorenbaum (Psychoanalyst and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto), Alison Pick (Author of Between Gods and Far to Go) and Maia Sutnik (Curator of Photography, Art Gallery of Ontario) join moderator Mona Filip (Koffler Gallery Director/Curator) to discuss the interaction between reality and imagination in both artistic works and human consciousness.