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Wednesday 17 March 2010

The Power Plant exploring moving images opens in Toronto

With the Aesthetica Short Film Competition well underway (entries are coming in from as far as Australia, Israel, India, Canada, US, Brazil and even Argentina), I am increasingly seeing the vast diversity in film. From shorts that take more traditional format to more experimental cinema, I’m finding the entire genre of moving image enhancing the cultural landscape and exploring new possibilities for contemporary visual culture. Coming up in the April issue of Aesthetica, there’s a feature on the Artists’ Cinema Project (a collaboration of the Independent Cinema Office and LUX). It’s definitely worth checking out if you want to explore the endless possibilities of film and video.

An amazing new project launches on 26 March at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. The project examines the work of four acclaimed moving-image artists. Representing a range of different generations, styles and forms, the four solo artists all experiment with the idea of screen space and play with the relationships between viewers, moving images and the site of the gallery. From pioneering video artist Peter Campus to rising young star Ryan Trecartin, these international artists are united in exploring the space of the screen through their thrilling experiments in film and video. The works presented demonstrate the different ways by which each artist considers both the representational space of the moving image, and the gallery space in which the work is presented, providing a multi-dimensional and immersive visitor experience.

Power Plant Director Gregory Burke elaborates: “Each artist engages to varying degrees with both the real, material world and the realm of fantasy and imagination, ranging from Campus psychological investigations to Sharon Lockhart working in an anthropological documentary tradition, to Joachim Koester, whose 16mm films evoke altered mental states, or Ryan Trecartin, who captures the dizzying mindset of a generation raised by the internet in his hallucinogenic videos. More, The Power Plant is pleased to present these important projects timed to coincide with the 23rd Images Festival here in Toronto.”

Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever is the first Canadian solo exhibition for this 28-year-old artist, and the first stop of its major world tour. The exhibition brings together for the first time two recent bodies of work: the three-part Trill-ogy Comp (2009), parts of which made a splash at the New Museumss 2009 Younger Than Jesus Triennial, and the just-completed, four-part series ReSearch WaitS (2010). Together they form Trecartins most ambitious project to date, a sprawling seven-video epic that is the largest of our four spring exhibitions. With an insomniac energy and frenetic editing, Trecartin choreographs a cracked parallel universe only slightly more surreal than the one we actually inhabit. The artist explores consumer culture and fractured identity in the digital age, both through his long-form videos and via the containers he creates for their viewing whose contents (IKEA furniture, schoolyard equipment, etc.) mirror the environments seen in the videos, extending them into the space of the gallery. Trecartin, whose work has already become iconic through mediums such as YouTube, was recently featured in Vogue as one of the most notable artists, finding inventive ways to depict the figure in the contemporary world. The exhibition is curated by Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs, and Jon Davies, Assistant Curator of Public Programs.

Sharon Lockhart: Podwrka features a single new work by the U.S. artist that captures six groups of neighbourhood youth as they play in seemingly deserted yards in Ldz, Poland, offering an intimate portrait of daily life. Shot with a fixed camera, this single-channel projection highlights Lockharts concern for the interrelationship between the still and the moving image, and evidences her nuanced observational gaze at different communities she has encountered. Always very attuned to the architecture in which her work is presented, Lockhart presents this piece within two sculptural volumes at The Power Plant. Lockharts acclaimed film and photography work has been shown in galleries and cinemas around the world, including in Life on Mars: The 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008). Co-presented with the Images Festival, this exhibition is curated by Power Plant Director Gregory Burke and Images Festival Artistic Director Pablo de Ocampo.

Peter Campus: Reflections and Inflections juxtaposes the legendary video artists iconic early work Anamnesis (1974) with a new multi-channel video, Inflections: changes in light and colour around Ponquogue Bay (2009), spanning 35 years of Campuss pioneering practice and his move from treating video as a sculptural to a pictorial medium. Sure to be one of the highlights for visitors, Anamnesis involves a closed-circuit television, which confronts viewers with images of themselves at a time-delay demonstrating the mediums capacity for transforming viewers perceptions of self and of duration in the gallery space. Curated by Director Gregory Burke, this exhibition features an American artist who has led a very distinguished career, including work in photography and computer-based images. In addition to being included in numerous biennials, major group exhibitions and in dozens of museum collections, Campus has had recent solo exhibitions at Albion Gallery, London (2007) and the BFI Southbank Gallery, London (2009-2010).

Joachim Koester: Hypnagogia explores the threshold between consciousness and sleep in the three films that comprise Joachim Koesters first solo show in Canada: Tarantism (7 min., 2007), My Frontier is an Endless Wall of Points (after the mescaline drawings of Henri Michaux) (11 min., 2007) and To navigate, in a genuine way, in the unknown necessitates an attitude of daring, but not one of recklessness (movements generated from the Magical Passes of Carlos Castaneda) (3 min, 2009). Projected onto floating screens, creating a mysterious and otherworldly environment, these black and white 16mm film loops suggest conscious and unconscious states and gestures, irrationality, loss of control and possession, and the fringes of the body that Koester terms the grey zone. Koester is a Danish artist based in Copenhagen and Brooklyn. He represented Denmark in the 2005 Venice Biennale. Hypnagogia is curated by Helena Reckitt, Senior Curator of Programs.

All four exhibitions will be accompanied by special, not-to-be-missed programmes, some of which offer direct access to the artists. The Power Plant will present Ryan Trecartin in conversation with the curators on 23 March as part of its International Lecture Series.

Please visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com for more information, dates, and tickets.

(c)Ryan Trecartin, Sibling Topics (Section A), 2009.
Courtesy the artist and Elizabeth Dee, New York.

Sharon Lockhart, Podwórka, 2009.
Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York.

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