Currently at The Power Plant, four solo installations address four distinct subjects. The immersive environments created in each uniquely engage the visitor, encouraging a critical re-evaluation of global realities and universal sentiments.
Brazilian artist, Jonathas de Andrade exhibits uncanny events that confront the projected national identity of Northern Brazil and reveal a real power imbalance. He portrays intimate situations that form initial impressions of life. Simultaneously, he exhibits the circumstances in which these situations came to be. In this way he intertwines an alternative narrative, confusing initial impressions and illuminating more complex realities.
Subtly obscuring the line between reality and fiction he is able to tell otherwise invisible stories. O peixe (The Fish), a fabricated expose shot on 16mm film, immerses the audience in an equally beautiful and unsettling ritual of fishermen cradling their catch. In the repetitive motions, sublime visuals, slow pace, and added natural sounds the scene becomes almost nostalgic. The film introduces the audience to de Andrade’s alternate method of educating; where the visitor becomes immersed in a constructed narrative and slowly begins to derive the embedded analogies.
For O Levante (The Uprising), the collection of framed correspondence documents, orienting maps, still images and documentary film, reveal a whole culture otherwise pushed to town’s borders. It becomes clear that the horse drawn cart race was really an exercise in maneuvering around an imposed system to bring forward a largely ostracized population.
Cartazes para o Museu do Homem do Nordeste (Posters for the Museum of the Man of the Northeast) encompasses the open space within the gallery. In sharing with the anthropological museum of Recife this work becomes an alternative museum that questions the reality of the projected racial democracy. Photographing the varied local population, through recruited newspapers adverts and chance meetings with workers in the streets of Recife, he captures a contrary selection. While de Andrade is an artist, in his pursuit he takes on the role of museum curator, documentarian, and film-maker. By personifying different professions he is able to reveal real contradictions with hometown’s projected identity.
The exhibitions that follow uniquely address other content. Maria Hupfield emphasises object, ritual and the significance of place in forming identity through her exhibition of personal objects and past performances.
Latifa Echakhch uses an accessible, universal subject and material; the sky rendered in cement, to create an atmospheric space for contemplation and interpretation.
Kapwani Kiwanga isolates atmospheres and architectures to provoke the re-evaluation of spatial impact.
These diverse exhibits, in experimenting with methods of communication, demonstrate interesting possibilities in educating about current global realities.
*Exhibition information: Jonathas de Andrade, On Fishes Horses and Man; Maria Hupfield, The One Who Keeps On Giving; Kapwani Kiwanga, The wall is just a wall & Latifa Echakhch, Cross Fade, January 28 – May 14, 2017, The Power Plant, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto. Gallery hours: Tue – Sun, 10 am – 5 pm; Thur 10 am – 8 pm.