“Like all walls it was ambiguous, two-faced. What was inside it and what was outside it depended upon which side of it you were on.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed
Like the sister planets in Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction novel “The Dispossessed,” Marvin Luvualu Antonio’s solo exhibition of the same name is confined behind walls. Taking on the role of the outsider, the viewer can only observe what appears to be Antonio’s abandoned dystopia through a chain-linked fence. Remnants of a story left untold line the sand covered ground as the viewer has roughly 2.5 feet of room between Antonio’s fence and the gallery walls to move around the installation where, at each corner turned, a new artifact comes into view.
Each work in the show is a sign of humanity and the struggles that come along with it, as themes of cultural appropriation, racial politics, identity, and capitalism are addressed through Antonio’s street material sculptures and loose canvas acrylic paintings. Aaliyah’s “At Your Best (You Are Love)” eerily plays on repeat in the vain of elevator music, or like an abandoned iPod that was never turned off. Dispossessed /Pt 1 carries with it a narrative that the viewer as an outsider will probably never fully piece together, but one can surely try.
*Exhibition information: March 24 – April 30, 2016, Clint Roenisch Gallery, 190 Saint Helens Avenue, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sat, 12 – 6 p.m.