CONTACT Gallery
Upcoming Programming

Cristina de Middel
This Is What Hatred Did

  • Cristina de Middel, Itakiti, 2014
    Cristina de Middel, Itakiti, 2014
  • Cristina de Middel, Oniyobwo, 2014
    Cristina de Middel, Oniyobwo, 2014
  • Cristina de Middel, Okowako, 2014
    Cristina de Middel, Okowako, 2014

Cristina de Middel
This Is What Hatred Did
September 24 – November 7, 2015


In the 1960s, a five-year-old Nigerian child’s village was attacked by soldiers. His mother had left him home alone and he had to run away, escaping the bombs and the fire. He saved his life entering the Bush, this magical territory where no humans are allowed and where all the Yoruba spirits live and fight. Our kid spent thirty years lost in the Bush trying to find his way back home amongst the spirits and the dead. He got married two times, became a king, a god, a slave, a cow, a jar, a horse, and a goat. He ate gold, silver and bronze, snakes and snails. He fought two wars and was sentenced to death half a dozen times... all that in just one hundred pages.

Amos Tutuola wrote My Life in the Bush of Ghosts in 1964 and then had to leave the country to escape the violent reactions to a book that would open in exile a new path for contemporary African narratives. The story is told by the five year old child in a very basic, direct, naive and repetitive style that only children master, but it manages to convey the magical and absurd reality that war and religion added to the Nigerian experience.

The series This is What Hatred Did (the mysterious last sentence of the book), aims to provide an illustrated contemporary version of this story, adapting the characters, space and the ambient to the actual situation of the country. The Bush is now the Lagosian neighborhood of Makoko, a floating slum with its own rules, commanded by kings and community leaders. It is a place where no logic seems to prevail and that is equally forbidden for those who do not belong. With the conviction that contemporary issues should be described in a way that includes the ancient traditions, perspectives, fears and hopes, this series documents the enhanced reality of one of the most iconic places in Nigeria, according to the always dramatic media. - Cristina de Middel

 

Cristina de Middel is a photographer whose work investigates photography’s ambiguous relationship to truth. Blending documentary and conceptual photographic practices, she plays with reconstructions and archetypes that blur the border between reality and fiction. After a successful career as a photojournalist, de Middel stepped outside of the photojournalistic gaze. She then produced the critically acclaimed series

The Afronauts in 2012, which explored the history of a failed space program in Zambia in the 1960s through staged reenactments of obscure narratives. De Middel’s work shows that fiction can serve as the subject of photography just as well as facts can, highlighting that our expectation that photography must always make reference to reality is flawed.

De Middel has exhibited extensively internationally and has received numerous awards and nominations, including PhotoFolio Arles 2012, the Deutsche Börse Prize, POPCAP’ 13, and the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York. De Middel lives and works in Mexico.

 

CONTACT Gallery
Past Programming

Lorenzo Vitturi
Dalston Anatomy

CONTACT 2015
Primary Exhibition
May 2 – June 27

  • Lorenzo Vitturi, Yellow #2, from the series Dalston Anatomy, 2013, Courtesy of the artist
    Lorenzo Vitturi, Yellow #2, from the series Dalston Anatomy, 2013, Courtesy of the artist
  • Lorenzo Vitturi, Plastic Blue #1 & 2, from the series Dalston Anatomy, 2013, Courtesy of the artist
    Lorenzo Vitturi, Plastic Blue #1 & 2, from the series Dalston Anatomy, 2013, Courtesy of the artist
  • Installation View
    Installation View
  • Installation View
    Installation View

 

When Venetian-born artist Lorenzo Vitturi moved to Dalston, East London, he explored in his usual manner, searching for vibrancy and excitement. He found what he was looking for in Ridley Road Market. One of London’s oldest street markets, in recent years it has become a point of convergence for Nigerian, Caribbean, Asian, and Mediterranean immigrant communities. Vitturi was inspired by its social and sensorial richness; how all of its contrasting colours, odours, flavours, and textures managed to coexist harmoniously to create something unique. He began “collecting images, forging atmospheres, and making sculptures” to capture the beauty and rawness of the market, with all of its flaws and sensory conflicts. 

From the beginning, Vitturi’s intention was to capture Ridley Road Market in the form of a book, which he later described as a “heterogeneous series of images that mix different languages and photographic approaches: from snapshots and portraits to photos of sculptures; from photographs of collages to scans of found materials.” Whereas a book normally marks the close of a body of work, Dalston Anatomy, first published in 2013, continues to evolve as a project through mixed media, site-specific installations. 

Vitturi’s exhibition at CONTACT Gallery responds to the architecture of the space: murals frame its entryways and sculptural components encircle a structural column. His method of responding to the idiosyncrasies of each site mirrors the way he has approached Ridley Road Market. Many of the images presented in the exhibition are being shown for the first time outside of Vitturi’s book. In the context of Toronto, Dalston Anatomy naturally draws parallels to the shifting cultural identity of Kensington Market, which is located just a few blocks from the Gallery. 

Supported by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Toronto

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein

CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting the creation of the new CONTACT Gallery.

Michel Huneault

La longue nuit de Mégantic

  • , Chaudière River, heavily contaminated by the oil spill. , August 2013
    Chaudière River, heavily contaminated by the oil spill. , August 2013
  • , Burnt tree inside the red zone, behind the security fence, August 2013.
    Burnt tree inside the red zone, behind the security fence, August 2013.
  • Jacques. First swim of the year in Lac Mégantic. June 2014
    Jacques. First swim of the year in Lac Mégantic. June 2014
  • Installation view
    Installation view

 

2014 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
January 29 - March 13, 2015
Opening Reception Thursday January 29, 6 – 9pm, remarks at 7pm

La longue nuit de Mégantic is the culmination of the documentary photographer’s year-long project visiting Lac-Mégantic after Canada’s deadliest train disaster in almost 150 years. In the middle of the night on July 6, 2013 a train filled with crude oil derailed in the small Quebec town creating an explosion that destroyed much of the downtown area, instantly killing 47 people. 

The disaster has since been in the forefront of current national debates regarding energy transportation, safety and the environment.  However, Huneault’s interest in this story is human and intimate, with a focus on the community and the aftershock. His experience in international development and academic research on disaster and trauma, both personal and collective, has given him an insightful perspective.

The series of large-format and small photographs, predominantly of the town’s landscape, brings to mind the viewpoint of a wanderer, or stunned observer. Upon Huneault’s arrival within hours of the explosion, and subsequent visits throughout the seasons, he was able to capture an eerie calm that seemed to resonate across the community. Often at night he would return to the same streets, houses or sites, retracing the geography of the scarred place, sometimes encountering locals on a similar journey. As a result, the images convey the passing of time and evoke the emotions of loss, absence and searching, as they evolve over one symbolic year.

An accompanying single-channel video piece consists of a series of portraits and short audio interviews with community members who experienced loss and trauma.  Their stories offer an intimate glimpse into their process of mourning, the need for answers and justice, and the desire to find reconciliation.

Before devoting himself full time to photography in 2008, Michel Huneault worked in the international development field, a profession that took him to over twenty countries, including one full year in Kandahar. He holds a MA in Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Rotary World Peace Fellow, researching on the role of collective memory in large scale traumatic recovery. At Berkeley, he was a student and teaching assistant of Magnum photographer Gilles Peress, and afterwards held an apprenticeship position with him in New York. Currently, his practice focuses on development related issues, on personal and collective traumas, and complex geographies. 

Curated by Tara Smith

Huneault is the recipient of the 2014 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. Chosen by an international jury, this award recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT’s annual Reviews. The award is supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Image Works, and Vistek. Huneault’s project has been generously funded by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. La longue nuit de Mégantic will travel to Lac-Mégantic after its run at the CONTACT Gallery. CONTACT gratefully acknowledges the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting the creation of the new CONTACT Gallery.

Johan
Hallberg-Campbell
Nzirambi

From the series Nzirambi, 2013

November 22  – December 20, 2014
Closing Party Thursday December 18, 6 – 9pm

In December 2013, Johan Hallberg-Campbell spent several weeks in Uganda, photographing at the Nzirambi Orphanage, a family-run centre outside Kasese. The resulting series of photographs and video illustrate life at the orphanage and its impact on the many individuals who call it home. This exhibition includes portraits of the orphanage’s residents and staff, as well as landscapes of the surrounding area.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell was born in the Highlands of Scotland and has been living and working in Canada since 2007. He is a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art, and his work has been published and exhibited internationally. Johan’s photographic work explores what it means to belong to a community with traditions rooted in heritage, and alternatively what happens when one’s “place” is altered, removed, or shifted.  With the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, he is continuing his long-term project ‘Coastal’, documenting the Canadian coastlines. 

As a freelance photographer, Johan has worked on assignments for numerous publications and institutions worldwide. He has curated 45 exhibitions of photography in galleries such as VII gallery, New York and Pikto, Toronto, and is the photo editor at Raw View magazine alongside Donald Weber.

Curated by Tara Smith


About the Nzirambi Education Fund
The Nzirambi Education Fund is a grassroots initiative helping children from the Nzirambi Orphanage to access higher levels of education. Established over 25 years ago by Dorothy Nzirambi, the orphanage is home to more than 120 orphaned and vulnerable children from the area.  To date, the fund has raised more than $60,000 and sponsored eight individuals through various levels of education, including five young women who are currently in university. The Fund helps break the cycle of poverty, by providing access to education.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the benefit party in support of the Nzirambi Education Fund. The $16,000 raised at this event will directly contribute to tuition fees for a group of 6 students attending university in Uganda. Also a big thank you to Toronto Image Works, The Gilder, and Lamin 8, Stratus and Kronenbourg for supporting the exhibition, as well as the many local businesses that contributed to the fundraising event.

 

Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen
The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus

CONTACT 2014
Primary Exhibition
May 1 – 31

  • Rob Hornstra, The Beach, Adler, Sochi Region, 2011
    Rob Hornstra, The Beach, Adler, Sochi Region, 2011, © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery. From: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus (Aperture, 2013)
  • Rob Hornstra, Mikhail Karabelnikov, Sochi, Russia, 2009
    Rob Hornstra, Mikhail Karabelnikov, Sochi, Russia, 2009, © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery. From: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus (Aperture, 2013)
  • Rob Hornstra, Gimry, Dagestan, 2012
    Rob Hornstra, Gimry, Dagestan, 2012, © Rob Hornstra / Flatland Gallery. From: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus (Aperture, 2013)
  • Installation view, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, Photo © Toni Hafkenscheid
    Installation view, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, Photo © Toni Hafkenscheid
  • Installation view, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, Photo © Toni Hafkenscheid
    Installation view, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, Photo © Toni Hafkenscheid
  • Installation view, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, Photo © Toni Hafkenscheid
    Installation view, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, Photo © Toni Hafkenscheid

 

Photographer Rob Hornstra and journalist Arnold van Bruggen have been collaborating since 2009 to document the turbulent region of Sochi, Russia. Over the course of five years and eleven visits, they practiced a form of “slow journalism” in order to delve deeply into the area’s complexities, and its remarkable transition in preparation to host the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. A subtropical resort on the Black Sea, Sochi lies in close proximity to conflict zones and impoverished, unstable republics, making it full of contradictions. Not surprisingly, Hornstra and van Bruggen met with closed border crossings and overzealous law enforcement officers in the process of developing this project, and nearing its end, they were denied entrance to Russia.

Through photographs, texts, videos, and books, Hornstra and van Bruggen draw viewers into the story of Sochi, focusing on evocative individual narratives that collectively chronicle larger issues. Along with their book of the same title, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, this exhibition unpacks the story of Russia’s continuing search for a post-Soviet identity. 

Organized by Aperture Foundation, New York and The Sochi Project
Made possible, in part, with generous support from Mondriaan Funds and the Consulate General of the Netherlands

Ian Willms
The Road to Nowhere

Ian Willms, from the series The Road to Nowhere, 2012 - 2013

CONTACT 2013 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
January 23 – March 7, 2014
Opening reception Thursday January 23, 6 – 9pm
Artist Talk Saturday February 15, 2pm

In 2012 and 2013, Ian Willms retraced the refugee migrations of his Mennonite ancestors to witness the places where they lived and died. He followed the route of their historical journey through the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Siberia, photographing the communities, farmland, execution sites and mass graves that had been left behind.

From their origins in the 16th and 17th centuries, Mennonites in the Netherlands were attacked by the Catholic Church because of their beliefs, prompting these communities to migrate to Poland. They remained for a century until the state began to force them into military service—against their commitment to nonresistance—inciting another migration, this time to Ukraine and Russia. Life was prosperous and peaceful until the Russian Revolution, which brought the Mennonites into an era in which they struggled to survive under the weight of the Soviet monolith. This history underscores Willms’ work, as he searches for places of significance and traces of Mennonite life in the present day.

Curated by Tara Smith

Ian Willms’ photographic practice explores the narratives of disempowered peoples, wounded environments and dying cultures that are often the symptoms of “progress” and economic growth. Over the last four years, in addition to the The Road to Nowhere, Willms has explored the impact of Canada’s oil sands industry on Indigenous communities. His work has been exhibited in North America and Europe, including exhibitions at Gallery 44 Centre For Contemporary Photography, O’Born Contemporary and Bau-Xi Photo. His work has also been honoured and supported by the Magnum Expression Photography Award, the Pictures of the Year International competition, the Burn Emerging Photographer Fund, the National Magazine Awards and the Canada Council for the Arts. Willms is part of the Global Assignment by Getty Images roster and is a founding member of the Boreal Collective.

Ian Willms is the recipient of CONTACT’s 2013 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. This award, chosen by a jury of international professionals in the field of photography, recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT’s annual Portfolio Reviews. The program was created to support and advance the careers of talented emerging artists. A special thank you to Vistek, The Gladstone Hotel, Toronto Image Works and Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.

 

 

Erik Kessels
24hours in Photography

CONTACT 2013
Primary Exhibition
May 1 – June 15

  • Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, 2013, installation at CONTACT Gallery, Toronto
    Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, 2013, installation at CONTACT Gallery, Toronto
  • Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, 2013, installation at CONTACT Gallery, Toronto
    Erik Kessels, 24hrs in Photography, 2013, installation at CONTACT Gallery, Toronto


24hrs in Photography explores our shifting relationship to photography during a hypermediated era, in which internet users are bombarded with images on a daily basis. Erik Kessels’ immersive installation of vernacular photography, originally conceived for the exhibition What’s Next at Foam (2011), reveals how the limited frame of a computer screen can present an expansive view of the world. An indeterminable number of freely circulating images depict a multitude of people, places, and events across the globe.

Kessels’ diverse biography informs this unique project: he began his career as a commercial illustrator and is now founding partner and creative director of the advertising agency KesselsKramer (Amsterdam), editor of the alternative magazine Useful Photography, publisher of several books of photographs, and curator of noted international photography exhibitions. What each of these endeavours has in common is an obsession with vernacular photography that fuels an impulse to collect. Like any collector, Kessels’ desire to archive is guided by self-imposed parameters; the prints that comprise 24hrs in Photography were downloaded from all of the free and accessible images uploaded to the photo- sharing site Flickr by amateur photographers in a single 24-hour period—about one million images. Shown for the first time in North America, the installation at the CONTACT Gallery features a random selection of 350,000 photographs, printed and arranged in such a way as to represent the volume of the total download. The heaps of images that the viewer encounters are overwhelming in their plenitude.

The photographs comprise a landscape constructed out of photo paper; visitors are invited to walk on and through the installation. Just as readily, one might lie upon the photographs, resting for a moment on a mattress made of other people’s memories. A tension develops through these embodied interactions with the installation: we can peruse the images as singular representations of individuals and events deemed important enough by someone that they have been documented and put online; in contrast, the exhibition is also experienced as an undifferentiated mass of prints that is greater than the sum of its parts. This tension is palpable in the installation’s imposing physical presence in the gallery, and evokes apprehensions about the carefree ways in which we represent our lives to ourselves and to others online, often without concern for who might be looking, and why. Ultimately, the photographs exist simultaneously as precious memories and paper detritus, in a complex balance that considers how the internet challenges conventional investments in the photographic medium’s ability to create cherished material representations of our most significant moments.

24hrs in Photography takes an intersectional approach in its exploration of media, commenting on photography to the extent that it is shaped by social media, and encouraging the viewer to reflect upon the ways of seeing the world engendered by our interactions online. Kessels’ work manifests what it feels like to be confronted by the slew of images we encounter each day via our networked computer screens. Though hundreds of thousands of images might seem reasonable stored on a server, the volume takes on an entirely different scale when placed into the “older” physical form of print. The monolithic installation renders Flickr’s database form absurd: crucial functions such as searchability become impossible, replaced by other means of encountering the installation such as perusing, wading, or even climbing. Sifting through 24hrs in Photography, we are faced with the lasting implications of the speed at which we document, circulate, and consume images online, a pace that mirrors the frenetic rhythms of our contemporary, mediated lives.

Supported by Hewlett-Packard Canada.

Guillaume Simoneau
Love and War

  • Guillaume Simoneau, Wearing army uniform for me, Kennesaw, Georgia, 2008
    Guillaume Simoneau, Wearing army uniform for me, Kennesaw, Georgia, 2008
  • Guillaume Simoneau, from the series Love and War
    Guillaume Simoneau, from the series Love and War
  • Installation View
    Installation View
  • Installation View
    Installation View

 

CONTACT 2012 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award
January 17 – March 2, 2013
Opening Thursday January 17, 6 - 8pm

Love and War is an intimate and unique investigation that reveals the complexity of a young U.S. Army sergeant's love life—before, during and after her deployment to Iraq. Following his subject Caroline Annandale between the ages of 16 and 25, Montreal-based photographer Guillaume Simoneau documents her transformation through the experience of war and military service as it plays out against her personal world.

The series of images is composed of enigmatic portraits, places and objects, in addition to documentation of personal correspondence through handwritten letters, emails, and text messages. Like a dream or recollection of memories, time collapses as the artist has sequenced the images in a non-chronological order, finding novel and nuanced ways to foreground the changes in Annandale's identity and sense of self. This personal story is a poetic comment on youth, one's coming of age, and the indelible effects of love and war.

Guillaume Simoneau is a Canadian photographer based in Montreal. He began his independent studies in art after completing a diploma in applied science. Today, his work centres mostly on transitional spaces within universal themes. His most recent body of work, Love and War was shortlisted for both First Book Award and European Publishers Award For Photography. Love and War is scheduled to be published in 2013 by Dewi Lewis UK. The series recently headlined the Daegu Photography Biennale in Korea and is heading to the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago in July 2013 for a three person exhibition entitled Backstory: Ron Jude, Guillaume Simoneau and LaToya Ruby Frazier. Simoneau is currently nominated for this year's PDN30. 

Organized by Tara Smith

Simoneau is the recipient of CONTACT's 2012 Portfolio Reviews Exhibition Award. This award, chosen by a jury of international professionals in the field of photography, recognizes outstanding work presented at CONTACT's annual Portfolio Reviews. The program was created to support and advance the careers of talented emerging artists. Supported by Vistek.

 

Lynne Marsh
Upturned Starry Sky


CONTACT 2012
Primary Exhibition
April 28 – June 15

  • Lynne Marsh, Stadium, 2008, production still, HD video installation
    Lynne Marsh, Stadium, 2008, production still, HD video installation, Courtesy of Danielle Arnaud contemporary art, London, and Galerie Donald Browne, Montreal
  • Lynne Marsh, Cinema 2000 Tent, 2011, Courtesy of Galerie Donald Browne, Montreal
    Lynne Marsh, Cinema 2000 Tent, 2011, Courtesy of Galerie Donald Browne, Montreal

 

Upturned Starry Sky presents a selection of works by Lynne Marsh (b. Canada, based in Montreal, Berlin, and London, UK) that come together under the rubric of spectacle. Engaging with three sites in Berlin—an empty sports stadium, a disused amusement park, and the interior of the city’s iconic orchestral concert hall—Marsh positions the viewer as participant in the social relation that gives each location its essential meaning. Writing in 1967, French thinker Guy Debord stated “The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images.” This quote points us to a consistent element in Marsh’s exhibition—which also relates to her art practice as a whole—the camera that depicts each of her subjects. Aligning the eye of the viewer with the camera lens, Marsh positions the viewer within the latent spectacles her artworks embody.

Marsh’s photographs share a focus on the mise en scène—the stage and backstage—of contrasting forms of entertainment. Shot during the production of two recent film projects, the photographs depict sites of performativity in which the implied audience is the cohering element. Kulturpark Plänterwald was an amusement park built in 1969 in the former German Democratic Republic and abandoned after unification. Devoid of human presence, the images in Plänterwald (2010) reveal the decayed structures and overgrown landscape of the derelict site. A Ferris wheel and other rides stand motionless, the dead space becoming theatrical scenery for a dystopian tale that, rather than being about some future society, conveys a message about social and economic conditions in Berlin today. The photographs in The Philharmonie Project (2011), also absent of people, document the scene behind-the-scenes inside Berlin’s internationally acclaimed Hans Scharoun-designed Philharmonie building. Lyrical yet somehow menacing, two photographs depict idle orchestral instruments that function like stand-ins for the players in dialogue with viewers. Another image, an upside-down shot of the Philharmonie ceiling lights, is the starry sky of the exhibition’s title. The photograph suggests how art can upend the everyday, and sets the stage upon which the viewer can enter into an imaginary space that is, in part, of his or her own devising.

The symbolically-charged Olympiastadion, a prime example of Fascist architecture, was built in Berlin for the 1936 Summer Olympics and used for Nazi propaganda purposes during the games’ opening ceremonies. Marsh’s video, Stadium (2008), presents the vast site as empty but for a sole figure—a young woman dressed in white athletic gear, her face somewhat obscured by the hoody she wears. Dwarfed by the stadium’s scale, she performs methodical choreographed movements amongst the 75,000 seats. The architecture of the stadium appears as a dominant entity, one with an apparently infinite power to encompass the protagonist. Combining actual footage with computer-generated imagery, the work is accompanied by a soundtrack reminiscent of a score in an Alfred Hitchcock film. The camera hovers above and swoops down on the stadium seats, its movements mimicking the choreography of the televised sporting events that normally occur at this site. The artist’s use of camera movement is also explicitly intended to recall the history of the location, home to the production of Leni Riefenstahl’s film Olympia (1938), which was a propaganda exercise par excellence. In the same way that the artist mirrors moments in time—suggesting parallels between different eras in the stadium’s history—she uses the omniscient perspective taken by the camera to suggest continuities in the way spectacle is produced as a means to empower and control the audience.

The spectacle, in whichever form it takes, is the most tangible meeting point between the individual and the collective entity that is society. Through an emphasis on absence and anonymity in her artworks, Marsh strives to make social relations evident as a means to impress on the viewer the active role they play in the production of meaning. Like the young woman in the video, who becomes an almost abstract entity when engulfed by the stadium architecture, Marsh finds effective ways to dramatize the processes by which the individual is knit into the collectivity.

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein

Luther Price
Number 9 and Number 9 II

  • Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012
    Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY
  • Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012
    Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY
  • Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012
    Luther Price, Number 9 and Number 9 II, 2012, Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY

 


September 6 - October 6, 2012
Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections Programme

American artist Luther Price is known primarily for his radical Super-8 experimental films and his recent handmade 16mm found-footage works. However, this year's Whitney Biennale revealed another extraordinary body of work from Price: his gorgeous glass slides.

While Price's focus on fleshy deterioration and decay has often been called "Boschian," his slides are buoyed by their fragility and projection through a near-obsolete analogue slide machine. In Number 9 and Number 9 II, individual collages of transformed found footage and other detritus are held within the slides, materiality giving way to abstraction as light passes through them. Transcending ideas of cinematic decasia, the mesmerizing mix of reclaimed photographic imagery, inks, paint, and other particles offer soulful expressions of the tactile and the fleeting.

This exhibition contains four rare, wax paper ink blots and two carousels of eighty handmade slides, on continuous view at the CONTACT gallery. Price's 16mm film Sorry--Horns (12) will be presented alongside older slides in the TIFF Wavelengths programme.
- Andréa Picard, Exhibition Curator

Luther Price studied sculpture and media/performing arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he currently teaches. Known since the 1980s for his Super 8 films and performances, Price has recently turned to 16mm film. His work has been shown at a number of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Light Industry, San Francisco Cinematheque, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and at the 2012 Whitney Biennale, New York.

 

Alex Kisilevich

  • Alex Kisilevich, Hair Rainbow, 2012
    Alex Kisilevich, Hair Rainbow, 2012, Digital Chromogenic Print
  • Alex Kisilevich, Flowered Vent, 2011
    Alex Kisilevich, Flowered Vent, 2011, Digital Chromogenic Print

 

CONTACT 2010 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
Toronto Image Works Gallery, February 23 – March 24, 2012
Opening reception Thursday February 23, 5 – 8pm


Alex Kisilevich's practice investigates the duality of photography, with its capability to imply truth while simultaneously subverting it. His new photographs employ aspects of sculpture, installation and performance to touch on ideas of distinction and assimilation. The images, full of pathos and absurdity, continue to explore human subjectivity as well as the relationships we form with the things around us.

Alex Kisilevich is a photo-based artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. He is a recent graduate of the MFA program in Visual Arts at York University and holds BFAs in Music and Photography from York University and OCAD University, respectively. Kisilevich's photographs have been featured in publications such as Magenta Foundation's Flash Forward and BlackFlash Magazine. His work has been exhibited internationally and was recently shown in a solo exhibition during the Lianzhou Photography Festival 2011 in China. Kisilevich is represented by Angell Gallery in Canada.

Jonathan Taggart
The Friction of Distance: The Lillooet River Valley

 

CONTACT 2011 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
January 19 – February 16, 2012
Opening Thursday January 19, 6- 9PM

The reserves of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation are scattered along both sides of British Columbia’s Lillooet River in an expanse of traditional territory stretching 100km north and south between the towns of Pemberton and Harrison Lake. Like many of Canada’s indigenous communities, these settlements exist in isolation; poverty is rampant and infrastructure dearly lacking, and with limited access to health and education resources, the communities of the Lillooet River Valley can be seen to represent a continuation of what has too often been referred to as the “Indian Problem.” This series illustrates Taggart’s ongoing commitment to document and raise awareness of the socio-economic challenges facing Canada’s First Nations communities.

Jonathan Taggart is a photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a founding member of the Boreal Collective of Canadian photojournalists. His photography has been exhibited internationally, has been featured in the New York Times Lens Blog and Applied Arts Magazine, among others. He was nominated for the National Magazine Award (Photojournalism, 2010) and PDN30 (2012), and is a three time Ontario Arts Council grant receipt. Taggart spends his volunteer time as a photography instructor at Vancouver’s Urban Native Youth Association.

Organized by Tara Smith


 

Jesse Louttit
No Roads

  • Jesse Loutitt, from the series No Road, 2011 - 2012
    Jesse Loutitt, from the series No Road, 2011 - 2012
  • Jesse Loutitt, from the series No Road, 2011 - 2012
    Jesse Loutitt, from the series No Road, 2011 - 2012
  • Installation View
    Installation View

CONTACT 2011 Portfolio Reviews Award Exhibition
Toronto Image Works Gallery January 19 – February 16, 2012
Opening Thursday January 19, 6- 9pm

Jesse Louttit’s new series documents Moosonee and Moose Factory, two northern Ontario towns unconnected to the road system and only accessible by train or plane. Located on the shores of the Moose River and James Bay, they are at the northernmost point of the Ontario Northlander train route. Originally settled as fur trading posts, the towns grew in prominence with the arrival of the rail line in 1932 operating as gateways to surrounding communities, many of them Cree settlements. Louttit’s return to Moosonee, the place where his father was born, was inspired by his fascination with isolation, connection and travel in remote places. Unable to locate the areas on Google Street View, these large format images are personal substitutes, responding to the global mapping project with an insightful approach. Taken at dusk and before dawn, Louttit’s use of light and composition evoke qualities of beauty, stillness, and contemplation, while depicting the infrastructural elements of these isolated towns.

Jesse Louttit is a photographer who lives and works in Toronto. His large format landscape images often reveal the traces of human existence in the environment. His work has been featured in PDN, Applied Arts and Report on Business and has been exhibited at Pikto and the Boiler House for CONTACT 2011. The Harbourfront Centre will be presenting a series of No Roads in the Photo Gallery from January 28 to April 15, 2012. 
Opening Friday January 27, 6 - 8pm.

Organized by Tara Smith

 


 

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of the Parts
Lucas Blalock
Jessica Eaton


CONTACT 2011
Featured Exhibition
May 1 - 31

  • Jessica Eaton, Pinholes 12, 2009
    Jessica Eaton, Pinholes 12, 2009
  • Lucas Blalock, Portrait Study (Nina), 2009
    Lucas Blalock, Portrait Study (Nina), 2009

 

Montreal-based Jessica Eaton and Brooklyn-based Lucas Blalock create interconnected imagery–each in their own way–through experimentation with situations, objects, and photographic techniques. Their process-based images are altered to such an extent that when finished, the subject is depicted as a new entity.

Eaton’s analogue images of still life and landscape are intricately built with in-camera masking of negatives and the addition of red, green, and blue filtration. Referencing Divisionism–the mid 1880s painting style defined by the practice of separating colours into dots or patches–Eaton explores how images function physically. Through the Gestalt effect, the form generating capacity of the senses, her images of coloured spheres oscillate between representation and abstraction.

Blalock’s portraits are created with a combination of in-camera and post-production digital techniques. In the series Nautilus (2010), the layers and tools of Photoshop are kept visible, revealing the depiction of form as a study of possibilities. By presenting a multitude of viewpoints–whether through a series of images or a single frame–Blalock references theories of perception. Through an ongoing exploration of duplication and manipulation of the subject, he establishes a tension between figure and photographic surface.

Both artists use the camera to investigate optic strategies and resulting visual phenomenon. By way of abstraction, repetition, sequence, and photographic processes, they achieve a dynamic whole–greater than the sum of its parts.

Curated by Persilia Caton.

Medium_Massage 2.0 :: an infinite inventory

  • Jeremy Bailey
    Jeremy Bailey

Jeremy Bailey, video still.

November 5 - December 3, 2011
Opening Reception Saturday November 5, 2 - 5pm


Kate Armstrong, Myfanwy Ashmore, Jeremy Bailey, David Jhave, Johnston Mouchette, Rafaël Rozendaal, Cheryl Sourkes, Donna Szoke, KD Thornton

Medium_Massage 2.0 :: an infinite inventory is a net-based exhibition inspired by Marshall McLuhan and graphic designer Quentin Fiore's collaborative book The Medium is the Massage. Published in 1967 in an experimental format that fused Fiore's engaging graphic style and visual language with McLuhan's text, The Medium is the Massage introduced McLuhan's theories of media and communications technology to a mass audience. Within the context of Marshall McLuhan's centennial and 20 years after the development of the first webpage, the media artists in this exhibition reflect McLuhan's prophetic theories through their immersion in the networked medium and cultural shift that McLuhan predicted in the 60s.

The exhibition includes a new expanded version of The Medium is the Massage matched with compositionally similar images using google algorithms; a sorrybot that gives a unique apology to every citizen on earth; new web software that re-invents the way artists communicate with the media; an archeological examination of 8 bit-graphic images and obsolescent media through daily floppy disc mining; and more!

Curated by Michael Alstad.

Presented by Year Zero One (YZO) in collaboration with the CONTACT Gallery for the McLuhan100 Festival. YZO gratefully acknowledges the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council for their generous support of Medium_Massage 2.0.

Gregory Crewdson - Sanctuary

  • Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (13),  2009
    Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (13), 2009

September 8 - October 22, 2011
Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections Programme

With La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini broke with the neorealist tradition of filming on location, and moved to Cinecittà Studios, where he built a near-exact replica of Rome's famed Via Veneto. Cinecittà, then known for hosting American epics like Ben Hur, would become inextricably linked with the great director.

In this series of photographs, artist Gregory Crewdson revisits Fellini's stomping grounds, documenting a cinematic ruin where narratives linger like ghosts. The traces of bygone productions are everywhere: a painted sign, perhaps from Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York; flooded alleyways that evoke HBO's Rome.

Crewdson—known for highly staged, fantastic photographs—chooses to dwell on the gaps in the fragile illusions of these film sets. Scaffolding can be seen supporting each structure. Modern high rises can be glimpsed behind an ancient cottage.

Mussolini once described Cinecittà as the place where "dreams become reality." For Crewdson—like Fellini before him—it is a place to revel in the dreamlike nature of reality itself. — Michael Connor, Exhibition Curator

Gregory Crewdson (b. 1962, lives and works in New York) is internationally renowned for his elaborately constructed, surreal scenes of small town America. His large-scale colour photographs psychologically reference the movies by iconic filmmakers such as David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and Stephen Spielberg. Museum and public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland, and the V&A Museum, London. A retrospective of his work, spanning his career, from 1985 - 2005, was shown as a traveling exhibition from 2005 - 2008, at major museums in Europe. Another travelling exhibition of his work opened at the Kulturhuset Museum, Stockholm, in February 2011, followed by Sorte Diamant, Copenhagen and c/o Berlin, Berlin.

 

 

The Skin you Love to Touch
Jodi Bieber, Lauren Greenfield, Zed Nelson


CONTACT 2010
Featured Exhibition
May 1 - 31

  • Jodi Bieber, Brenda, From the series Real Beauty, 2008
    Jodi Bieber, Brenda, From the series Real Beauty, 2008, Jodi Bieber/INSTITUTE
  • Zed Nelson, Ox and Angela, plastic surgeon and wife. Rio, Brazil. From the series Love Me, 2004-2009
    Zed Nelson, Ox and Angela, plastic surgeon and wife. Rio, Brazil. From the series Love Me, 2004-2009, Zed Nelson/INSTITUTE
  • Lauren Greenfield, Lily, 5, shops at Rachel London
    Lauren Greenfield, Lily, 5, shops at Rachel London's Garden, where Britney Spears has some of her clothes designed, Los Angeles, California, 2004-2009, , Lauren Greenfield/INSTITUTE

The enhanced human beauty the photographic image conveys inspires widespread feelings of inadequacy. In the unpublished text Touch and Go Photography (n.d.), Marshall McLuhan noted that “the skin-you-love-to-touch” has undergone a great change as a result of photography. He went on to describe how with the photo came “self-consumption” and “collective social trauma”. While McLuhan’s aphoristic pronouncements can be interpreted in a number of different ways, it seems clear that these ideas carry unnerving relevance to the work in this exhibition.

Selections from Zed Nelson’s documentary series Love Me (2004 – 09) look at the multi-billion dollar beauty industry, suggesting that self-consumption begins with modification of the body towards a standardized ideal. As Nelson notes, the “worldwide pursuit of body improvement has become like a new religion.” Lauren Greenfield’s ongoing work kids + consumerism (2004 –), presents an extended portrait of children who have only ever known an image-saturated world. Self-consumption for them is a matter of buying their way to a happiness defined by appearance and material goods. Photography, however, also has the power to counter the distortions in self-perception that the image industry creates. For her series Real Beauty (2007 – 08), Jodi Bieber worked with South African women to present images of beauty as it exists in real life. Collaborating with her subjects, Bieber photographed them at home in their underwear presenting themselves as empowered and comfortable in their own skin.

Bieber, Greenfield and Nelson are represented by Institute Artist Management, Los Angeles and London. 

Harun Farocki
Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades

  • Harun Farocki , Still from Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades, 2010
    Harun Farocki , Still from Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades, 2010
  • Installation View
    Installation View


September 9 – October 9, 2010
Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival Future Projections Programme

For our first collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival we are pleased to present at the CONTACT Gallery Harun Farocki’s 12 channel video installation Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades.

Harun Farocki, the celebrated film essayist, theorist and artist, has often emphasized the industrial, machine-like function of the camera. With his seminal Workers Leaving the Factory in Eleven Decades, a horizontal suite of twelve monitors depicting scenes from the iconological images of late nineteenth-century workers exiting a factory in Lyon recorded by the Lumière Brothers, he extracts one of the most recurring themes of our times consistently represented by the cinema from its very inception. Delving into each decade of film history, Farocki selected similar scenes from Metropolis, Modern Times, Red Desert and Dancer in the Dark – the expression shifting from stoicism, to confusion and befuddlement, to utter anguish. With many more people leaving the factories and with job losses, especially in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, at an all time high, this early cinema scene remains as prescient as ever. This installation is as much about cinema and its evolution as it is a reminder of the medium’s dialogue with a reality inextricable from its own representation. - Andréa Picard

Harun Farocki was born in Nový Jicin (Neutitschein), in the then German-annexed Czechoslovakia. He attended the German Film and Television Academy Berlin and was editor and writer for the magazine Filmkritik (Munich) from 1974-1984. He has made more than one hundred films and has presented exhibitions and installations in galleries and museums internationally since 1996. He is a full professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and is currently a visiting professor at Harvard University.

Sammy Baloji
Vues de Likasi

  • Installation View
    Installation View
  • Sammy Baloji, Vues de Likasi, Avenue Mama Yemo, (detail) , 2005
    Sammy Baloji, Vues de Likasi, Avenue Mama Yemo, (detail) , 2005, Courtesy of the Artist and Axis Gallery, NY

January 14 - March 14, 2010
Opening reception Thursday January 14, 6 – 9pm

Baloji’s photographic and sound installation analyzes contemporary African identity through the ethnography, architecture, and urban landscape of Lakasi. The photographs of the reconstructed streetscape, with its obvious signs of a civilization built before, during, and after the Belgian colonial period, reveal the artist’s interest in the daily life of Congolese people. As a result of the strict government ban on photographing public buildings, Vues de Likasi is a rare presentation of the city’s cultural and industrial legacies, depicted through its main street. Encircling the gallery, Baloji’s 55 meter long assembled panorama documents the city’s past within the day-to-day activity of the present, revealing a complex portrait of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sammy Baloji was born in 1978 and lives in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. His work has been exhibited extensively in Africa and in Europe, including the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris and the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium. Baloji was recently featured in CAPE07, Cape Town, Le Tarmac de la Villette, Paris, Rencontres africaines de la photographie, Mali and le Mois de la Photo, Montreal. A traveling exhibition of his work is currently in preparation by the Museum for African Art, New York. Baloji is represented by Axis Gallery, NYC

Sammy Baloji was a finalist for the Prix Pictet in 2009, a recipient of the Prince Claus Award in 2008 and received two awards at the 2007 African Photography Biennial in Bamako, Mali.

CONTACT would like to thank Gaëlle Morel and Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal for their assistance in making this exhibition possible.

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