Inside Blackwood Gallery’s award-winning exhibition

Image of art installation
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 9:40am
Kimberley Wright

In winter 2012, U of T Mississauga students stared at a mound of crumpled paper perched atop a doorway joining the CCT building to the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre.

In varying shades of pink and grey, and piled pyramid-style, the castoff paper had no logo, no sign, and no explanation.

“People looked up and whispered, ‘What is it?’” says Christof Migone, the director and curator of UTM’s Blackwood Gallery.

The eye-catching exhibit was part of a four-piece contemporary art installation, titled Landscapes Events Reproducted, showcased by the gallery from January to March 2012.

“The artists intended it as a beacon to reference the library and the context of a university student writing papers and discarding the umpteenth draft of their work,” Migone says.

Recently, Blackwood Gallery received the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) Best Exhibition Award (Under $20,000) for the exhibition, created by artists Chloe Lum and Yannick Desranleau, and curated by Migone.

Known as Seripop, the Montreal-based Lum and Desranleau used pulleys, rope, fishing net and reams of screenprinted posters splashed across walls and floors, and folded into geometric forms for their UTM debut. Vivid colours, cultural allusions and text chosen for its ‘shape’ as opposed to meaning, punctuated the installations.

“On opening night, the OAAG director said the exhibition was ‘very alive,’” Migone says.  “There is such a spatial focus to their work; spaces are completely transformed and engulfed.”

Migone first noticed Seripop when they emerged as sought-after poster artists in Montreal’s underground band scene. When the duo expanded to 3D shapes and Migone viewed their first solo installation in New York in 2010, he knew he wanted to work with them.

“They are influenced by urbanity; by a city that is in a constant play between things controlled by ‘the powers that be’ and the populace that doesn’t really comply—either through protests or graffiti,” Migone says. “Their work reflects street posters that are torn or layered with other posters which creates shifts where you have only half of the information.”

The OAAG award, which recognizes artistic merit and excellence, shines a spotlight onto the provocative visual arts experiences found at Blackwood Gallery.

“Our struggle out here at UTM is to get a wider audience,” Migone says. “People without cars might miss us, so hopefully awards like this will convince those who don’t usually visit the gallery to come out and see what we do.”

 

To view images of Landscapes Events Reproducted, visit the Blackwood Gallery website at http://www.blackwoodgallery.ca/Blackwood_exhibitionSeripop.html