CONTACT Photography Festival 2020

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival 2020
presents a new Online Program beginning May 1

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the popular annual presentation of lens-based art, announced an online platform to present new works and initiatives by Festival artists, participants and partners, including photo essays and books, videos, and a variety of conversations recorded in living rooms, studios and exhibitions. 

Typically spanning the month of May, an exceptional range of lens-based works by Canadian and international artists was selected for a diverse array of exhibitions at museums, galleries, public sites, and alternative spaces throughout Toronto in 2020. While many venues will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the impact of COVID-19, some of the Festival’s exhibitions, public installations, and programs will eventually open on a case-by-case basis, once public safety is assured and schedules are confirmed.

To acknowledge the enormous efforts of everyone involved in the Festival and to celebrate their many accomplishments, information about all of the original programming is presented on the CONTACT 2020 website. Visitors will discover a rich and diverse range of content with individual profiles dedicated to each of the more than 150 exhibitions and public installations originally planned for sites across the city in May.

CONTACT is presenting a series of online programs, many in collaboration with their partners, which will roll out on the CONTACT website starting May 1. The selection listed below reveals the scope of programs that reflect and enhance the Festival’s exhibitions.

In Focus profiles existing and new works, plus initiatives including videos and other timely iterations of photo-based projects.

Artist Kim Hoeckele presents a new video where she takes a deep dive into her computer’s research folder. Comprising hundreds of photographs, it reveals visual interconnections and the complexity of reference materials used for her planned Public Installation billboard project epoch, stage, shell.

Kim Hoeckele, Nike or Nike, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Photographer and journalist Alberto Giuliani presents an on-going series of images documenting front-line workers at the San Salvatore Hospital in his hometown of Pesaro, Italy, an epicenter of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Select portraits are accompanied by reflections from the doctors and nurses pictured, speaking to the unfathomable circumstances within which they find themselves.

Alberto Giuliani, Untitled, 2020, Francesca Palumbo, Intensive Care Unit Nurse. Courtesy of the artist.

Trinity Square Video presents the group exhibition Performing Lives on a new online platform. Curated by Zoë Chan, the exhibition sheds light on alternative forms of storytelling and strategies for viewer engagement.

May Truong, The Outsiders (video still), 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) has partnered with CONTACT to jointly present Scouring the Press, a video performance by artist Fatma Bucak, as a complement to the upcoming two-person exhibition with Krista Belle Stewart, titled Acts of Erasure, scheduled for MOCA later this summer.

Fatma Bucak, Scouring the press (video still), Courtesy of the artist.

Touched by a Soucouyant, a video by Trinidadian-born, Toronto-based artist Natalie Wood, is a potent example of the works to be shown in Wood’s solo exhibition Performing Change which is scheduled to open at John B. Aird Gallery and Charles Street Video this fall.

Natalie Wood, Comfortable, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist Profiles feature conversations, writings, images, and explorations focused on Festival artists.

Artist Tereza Zelenkova discusses her past work and new series commissioned by CONTACT for the upcoming solo exhibition The Double Room at Campbell House Museum, with editor and producer of the podcast Nearest Truth, Brad Feuerhelm.

A video produced by The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery offers insight into Dawit L. Petros’ solo exhibition Spazio Disponibile and provides context for his CONTACT 2020 Public Installation Untitled (Overlapping and intertwined territories that fall from view III).

Dawit L. Petros, Untitled (Overlapping and intertwined territories that fall from view III), Catania, Italy, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Upcoming profiles on artists in CONTACT’s Core Exhibitions include Diane Arbus, Aaron Jones, Christina Leslie, Ebti Nabag, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, and Małgorzata Stankiewicz

Curator’s Reading Lists share texts recommended by curators related to their CONTACT 2020 Core Exhibitions.

Curator and writer Sara Knelman shares some readings that informed her approach to the upcoming Public Installation of Thirza Schapp’s work Plastic Ocean at Dupont Subway Station.

Philip Monk, curator of the public installation of works by Greg Staats at Todmorden Mills Heritage Site for at least one day, you should continue to breathe clearly, suggests readings that informed his involvement with the project and shares insights about the artist’s practice.

Greg Staats, Transformation, 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Curator Heather Rigg presents select readings related to Alone in the House (Still Life with Clarice Lispector), the exhibition of Elisabeth Belliveau’s work that will be presented at Gallery 44 in the fall.

Elisabeth Belliveau, Still Life with Pretzel (After Clara Peeters), 2019. Courtesy of the artist

Forthcoming reading lists from exhibition curators will be featured including Zoë Chan, Benjamin Freedman, Sophie Hackett, Anique Jordan, Bonnie Rubenstein and Tara Smith.

Photobook Lab showcases recent publications by artists and photographers.

While the 2020 Photobook Lab is currently postponed, a selection of books will be featured online. This year’s initiative is inspired by Spanish artist Laia Abril’s exhibition A History of Misogyny Chapter Two: On Rape, to be presented in the CONTACT Gallery later this year. The first iteration of the virtual Photobook Lab features Abril’s book A History of Misogyny Chapter One: On Abortion (2017).

Books by Genevieve Allison and Elliot Ross, Hannah Darabi, David Hartt, and Donald Weber will be highlighted in the coming weeks.

Sponsor Initiatives

# ScotiaGallery

In previous years, Scotiabank presented #ScotiaGallery at bank locations across Toronto. This year, the open entry program encourages participants to come together by sharing their views from home. People are encouraged to take a photo and use the tag #ScotiaGallery to share it on Instagram. Scotiabank will select photos from entries to be featured on the CONTACT website throughout May.

Nikon: Stay Inspired Lecture Series

Nikon will present a series of weekly lectures streamed on Facebook Live during May by international guests including Taku Kumabe: Shifting Perspectives for a New Look (May 6); Viktoria Haack: Navigating the World of Social Media (May 13); Michelle Valberg: For the Love of Wildlife (May 21) and Kristian Bogner: Intention, Vision, Creation (May 27). All presentations are scheduled for 3:00pm EDT.

The Festival’s weekly newsletter will announce new online content while CONTACT’s Instagram account @contactphoto will highlight related features daily.

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