Saturday, October 30, 2010

the 2010 toronto international art fair

at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is definitely worth going to. It's still going on today until 8 and Sunday and Monday from 12-6pm. You'll get to see a picture of a skull dusted with diamonds by Damien Hirst, plus a small painting he did of coloured polka dots which is far more expensive (and less interesting) than the diamond skull. On the same note, one of my favourites this year was a large sculpture-painting by Kim Dorland of a sparkly green swamp thing c/o the Mike Weiss Gallery. She also had some cool sparkly owls. More on that later. Happy Halloween.
Because I couldn't find pictures of the aforementioned works, here's Hirst's unicorn in formaldehyde (unfortunately not at the TIAF this year):

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

bayview subway station

I really enjoy seeing art in the otherwise bleak subway stations and I think we could use more of it. It would actually be the perfect public space for changing installations, though we rarely use it for that purpose. 
I'm also intrigued by the imagery at Bayview and Sheppard that was created by Panya Clark Espinal in 2002. It looks like abstract distortions from most angles but viewed from the right spot it looks impossibly realistic, with the shapes extending from the walls to the floors.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Billy Twinkle: Requiem for a Golden Boy by Ronnie Burkett

Ronnie Burkett and Billy Twinkle puppet
It's hard to do a one-man show because it always ends up looking like you're playing with yourself - especially when you're talking to dolls and making them talk back to you. And especially when one of those dolls is a miniature version of you that you made yourself for that very purpose. It's an odd set up, but one that draws out multiple layers of meaning.

Burkett began the show with himself as the puppeteer Billy Twinkle, manipulating a stripper puppet who takes her clothes off seamlessly by herself. Then when Burkett/Billy becomes possessed by his dead puppeteering teacher, he himself becomes a puppet to the will of his possessor: he is forced to reenact his past, with puppets playing his past selves and mentors. The story explores the course of Billy’s career from when he was a kid at a puppet festival doing his gig with his stripper puppet (see above picture) and trying to get the puppeteering master to take him on as an apprentice - to him as an adult, now the master, being hassled by a kid with a drag queen puppet.

Basically, this is the best puppet show I've ever seen (granted, the only one - but still) and I highly recommend it. It's showing at Factory Theatre until October 24th 2010.

Ronnie on stage
Doreen puppet holding Jesus puppet

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

nuit blanche part II

Lastly, we went to Queen West, which didn't seem to have as much art going on as the zone map led me to believe. Regardless, the interactive Hair Matters installation from the Toronto School of Art was amusing. Nuit-blanchers were given a piece of yarn each to attach to the master ball of yarn which was supposed to represent a giant hair ball. Luckily, it wasn't gross as one would expect an actual hair ball to be. Actually, it didn't remind me of hair much at all. It was more just a mess of yarn and ribbons. I did, however, notice that someone put some actual hair in the installation. Ew.

Hair Matters, Toronto School of Art
Hair Matters, Toronto School of Art
The best thing I saw in Queen West was off in a building that no one seemed to know about. It was called The Night Watch by Jérôme Havre. There were several screens projecting videos of chandeliers spinning in time to eerie classical music. There was also a brown patched together ghost-like figure in the centre of the room. The figure confused me and although the chandeliers did actually remind me of Versailles, I didn't really catch on to the artist's intended meaning as described in the guide book: "Havre explores French colonialism by recreating the Grand Chandelier of Versailles in simulated African skin". Actually, I just liked the way the chandeliers moved to the music.

(photos by me)

Monday, October 4, 2010

nuit blanche 2010

Toby Smith, Bau-Xi Gallery
Bryan and I went to Nuit Blanche this weekend. We started out in Yorkville but everything had ridiculous lines, so we saw the Winter Garden exhibition at the Japan Foundation and then headed downtown. We checked out a few galleries across from the AGO and I really liked the photography at the Bau-Xi Gallery. It's hard to make photographs that everyone hasn't seen a million times before, but somehow this exhibition managed to collect some original images (granted, my photography knowledge is limited) from various artists. Many had pretty colour combinations and an alluring glow.

Ferit Kuyas, Bau-Xi Gallery
Heidi Leverty, Bau-Xi Gallery
One thing I had never seen in art before is a 3D gallery. The "Three Dee Realms" exhibition at Open Studio (401 Richmond St.) featured black and white prints of fantasy landscapes that could be viewed with 3D glasses. 3D is taking over motion pictures - it shouldn't be a surprise that it's leaking into still art. Although I thought it was awesome to see art in 3D, I did feel a little sick while looking at the pictures.

Yorodeo (Paul Hammond and Seth Smith)
Print by Yorodeo (Paul Hammond and Seth Smith)
Also at 401 Richmond St. was "Man with Yellow Typewriter" a live performance by Martin Helmut Reis with photo exhibition by Jim Gronau. The photos showed Martin in various poses where he looks sad and alone in a vaguely humorous Magritte kind of way. The catch was that Reis was actually at the exhibition. He would walk into the space, take a look at the photo exhibition, then sit down on a bench where he would proceed to take out his typewriter from the yellow case and begin typing things on leafs that were scattered on the ground. He handed the leafs out to gallery-goers and gave me one that said "leaf me be". Contrary to the way he looks in the photos, Reis was approachable and pleasant.

Martin Reis/Jim Gronau
Martin Reis/Jim Gronau
Performance by Martin Reis, photo by me
Performance by Martin Reis, photo by me
Performance by Martin Reis, photo by me
Leaf by Martin Reis, photo by me
to be continued...