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"Passport to Paradise: Works by Ian Carr-Harris, Janet Cardiff and"
2002-09-21 until 2002-11-17
Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
Toronto, ON, CA

The Power Plant, Canada's leading non-collecting contemporary art gallery, is excited to present two exhibitions this fall that feature three of Canada‚s most prominent artists. Sponsored by BMO Nesbitt Burns and BMO Harris Private Banking, a survey exhibition of major works by Ian Carr-Harris and a collaborative work entitled The Paradise Institute by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller run from September 21 through November 17, 2002. The public programmes related to these exhibitions are made possible by CIBC Wood Gundy, The Power Plant's Primary Education Sponsor.

Ian Carr-Harris "In [Ian Carr-Harris‚s] accomplished works, Toronto‚s veteran conceptualist, teacher and former Ontario College of Art and Design librarian (he now teaches art at the college) presents extremes of materiality and ephemerality." The Globe and Mail, April 25, 1998

In a major survey exhibition, Ian Carr-Harris presents eight works all produced, with one exception, over the past decade. Curated by Philip Monk, the exhibition features sculpture, light projections, book and audio-visual works including two new works made especially for The Power Plant. As one of Canada‚s preeminent artists, Carr-Harris has become well known for his works that pass for other things - but are not quite, such as sculptures that look like furniture but have no function. Staged like tableaux in the gallery space, Carr-Harris‚s art creates theatrical effects that we experience as events rather than as objects. The earliest work in the exhibition, After Dürer (1989) is included as a reminder of the artist‚s audio-visual installations of the 1980s. The work reveals a number of concerns that are constant within his oeuvre; it exposes all its elements to view: cabinetry, A/V equipment, speakers, projector and screen. A scenario that juxtaposes two images of a rhinoceros - one by Albert Dürer and another filmed by Carr-Harris at a zoo - After Dürer is a dramatic demonstration of the discrepancies between reproduction and reality. A new light work, entitled 8, rue Ferrand, is made from only the slightest of theatrical materials - light itself. Metaphors of indeterminancy, fluidity and transformation play out in this artificial re-enactment of sunlight passing through time and space. Molly, a new wallwork uses backlit text on an elementary school blackboard to scrutinize the workings of pedagogy. Sculptures Made in Hong Kong and Jan.-Mar. (both from 1993) and bookworks Index (1993) and Narcissus (1994) are as much about our immediate sensory experiences as about our ordering of knowledge and representation. In the audio work Annabel (1999), the MAC computer-voice, Fred, reads excerpts from Vladimir Nabokov‚s 1955 novel Lolita. The banality of the mechanical voice and the irony of the overwrought writing seem to cancel each other, invoking a strange mix of longing and loss. Ian Carr-Harris was born in Canada in 1941. He studied at Queen‚s University, Kingston, the University of Toronto, and the Ontario College of Art. He has had an international exhibition career since the early 1970s including solo shows at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; l‚Aquarium Valenciennes, France; proton ICA, Amsterdam; Ecole des Beaux Arts, Metz, France; and a travelling exhibition originated by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge. Carr-Harris represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1984 and was included in Documenta 8 in 1987. He has been included in numerous important group exhibitions at the Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto; La Biennale de Montreal; The Power Plant, Toronto; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; and Kunsthalle, Basel, amongst others. Ian Carr-Harris currently resides in Toronto where he teaches at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He writes frequently for Parachute, C, Canadian Art and other magazines, and has been a visiting artist and lecturer at numerous institutions worldwide. The Paradise Institute: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller „Could this be the future of cinema? The Paradise Institute, an award winner at last year‚s Venice Biennale, is an almost scarily captivating 13-minute multimedia experience. Wearing headphones, you watch a noirish film about a prisoner in a remote hospital, while the soundtrack conflates what‚s happening on screen with what seems to be going on around you in the theatre. It builds to an amazingly powerful climax; you exit feeling mystified and exhilarated.‰ - The New York Times, April 12, 2002 Curated by Wayne Baerwaldt, The Paradise Institute is the prize winning digital audio-video and installation experience first presented at the 2001 Venice Biennale. Produced by Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, and organized and circulated by Plug In-ICA, Winnipeg, The Paradise Institute is the artists‚ most important piece in a multimedia practice that international critics have identified as one of the most significant breakthroughs in conceptual art in the past decade. The artists use sound and moving images in fundamentally different ways, effectively blurring the distinction between fiction and reality, between the actors in a film and the observers in the audience. A plain wooden construction - a movie house for seventeen people - is located within The Power Plant‚s galleries. Visitors are invited to don headphones and take a seat in the cinema balcony from where they have an elevated view of the miniature theatre space. An original thirteen-minute video presents several narrative strands, both visual and acoustic. Fragmented scenes from a character‚s dreams, illusions and memories are viewed while pre-recorded and outside sounds of the site mingle so that it is no longer possible to distinguish which sounds belong to which reality. „Realities turn out to be fictive, and the fictive has a lot to say about realities. Just as the title of the work is a paradox for ways of perceiving the world - romantic associations with the word Œparadise‚ are juxtaposed with the rational of the word Œinstitute‚ - the work itself is full of ambiguities and disturbances that take us on an uncertain but spellbinding journey,‰ says Baerwaldt. Janet Cardiff was born in 1957 in Brussels, Ontario. She studied at Queen‚s Univeristy in Kingston and at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton. She has gained international recognition for her audio and video walks; her work Forty-Part Motet won the Millennium Prize awarded in 2001 by the National Gallery of Canada. In 2002, the first major survey of Cardiff‚s work, including collaborations with Bures Miller, was organized by P.S.1. Contemporary Art Centre, Long Island City, New York and was accompanied by a comprehensive monograph on her work. George Bures Miller was born in 1960 in Vegerville, Alberta. He studied at the Ontario College of Art and the University of Alberta. Miller is well known for his kinetic sculptures and video installations and has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad. Together, the artists are acclaimed for their collaborative works including The Dark Pool (1995/96) and Muriel Lake Incident (1999). These exhibitions have been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation. They have also been generously supported By Steven Latner and Carol and David Appel.

Ian Carr-Harris
Film Loop from After Dürer, 1989
cabinet, print, film loop, 16mm sound projector
Courtesy of the artist and Susan Hobbs Gallery
Photo Credit: Isaac Applebaum

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