One of the most elegantly displayed art exhibitions currently on view in Toronto is Micah Lexier’s One, And Two, And More Than Two at The Power Plant. On the Sunday morning of the Art Toronto fair, I had the pleasure of joining Lexier in conversation about the curatorial project he organized as part of this retrospective of his work. In the largest of The Power Plant’s galleries, Lexier has curated over 200 small works by 101 artists who are currently living and working in Toronto. The exhibition is an interesting (and often charming) look at particular kinds of process-based and conceptually inclined work being made in Toronto right now.
During our conversation, I asked Lexier how long it took him to arrange the prints, paintings, books and objects in the sleek custom-made vitrines (by Toronto-based designer Andrew Jones), several rows of which confront viewers upon entering. His answer – weeks of painstakingly arranging images of the pieces on sheets of paper the size of the vitrines’ display surfaces laid out on the floor of the space – made me rethink the ideas I had about this issue of Magenta.
Originally, I had thought of doing a focus on Installation Art that would simply feature profiles of artists working in this medium. But then, I realized that the root of ‘installation’ is, of course, install. I began to think of the verb ‘to install’, the process of setting up the presentation of works. I asked myself, “What does this process entail? How does one go about setting up an exhibition? How does one present something that seems ‘impossible’ to show?”
The feature articles in this issue answer some of these questions. Krystina Mierins interviews the U.S.-based Scottish artist Fraser Stables about his exhibition at Georgia Scherman Projects in Toronto this past fall, and the innovative way he presented the video works. (Indeed, the curator friends I visited the show with were green with envy at the display.) Montreal-based Olivia Boudreau talks to Benjamin Bruneau about, among other things, adapting her video work to different venues, and the challenges she’s faced when showing alongside other artists. (Wim Delvoye’s turd-generating Cloaca machine, for example.) In her article “Blowing Up”, Heather White examines three emerging Toronto-based artists who incorporate ideas around art installation and display techniques into their work, while Saelan Twerdy ponders a recent exhibition of the work of Christopher D’Arcangelo, an early proponent of institutional critique whose non-object-based work throughout the 1970s presents a challenge for any curator building an exhibition around him.
Nips and tucks
You will also notice that Magenta Magazine (or MagMag ) is looking a little different! As we enter our fifth year of production – yes, we’re soon turning five! – we thought the magazine could use a facelift. Indeed, the entire Magenta Foundation website has undergone a radical re-branding. We hope you enjoy our new look, and we welcome your feedback as we refine things over the next few issues. I’m also happy to welcome Alicia Skalin as the magazine’s assistant editor, whose assistance with coordinating the issue was greatly appreciated. And, last but not least, big kudos to Vanda Marasan and the team at The Office of Gilbert Li for helping us transition to this new design.
On behalf of everyone at The Magenta Foundation, have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. We’ll see you again in April with our Spring 2014 issue.
Bill Clarke was the Executive Editor of Magenta Magazine Online from its inception in September 2009 until May 2017. His writing has been published in Modern Painters, Art Review, Canadian Art, Artnews and several other publications. In January 2017, he assumed the position of associate director at Angell Gallery in Toronto.