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Exhibitions at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery


picTop: Ariel Schlesinger, Untitled (Lighters), 2007. Wood, gas balloon, and wire. Courtesy of the artist, Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv, and Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin.
Bottom: Milutin Gubash, still from Born Rich, Getting Poorer Episode 3: DEAD CAR, 2008. DVD, 20 min. Courtesy the artist.


Join us on Friday, May 11 for the opening reception of two new exhibitions, Emotional Blackmail and Situational Comedy. The evening begins with a tour of Emotional Blackmail presented by Markús Þór Andrésson & Chen Tamir at 6 pm, followed by opening remarks at 7:30 pm. Admission to exhibitions and all events is free and everyone is welcome.

Emotional Blackmail

Haraldur Jónsson, Tova Mozard, Meiro Koizumi, Amie Siegel, Hadley & Maxwell, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Benny Nemerofsky-Ramsay & Aleesa Cohene, Ragnar Kjartansson & Magnús Sigurðarson, Bert Rodriguez Kerry Downey, Sigga Björg Sigurðardóttir, Kristleifur Björnsson, Ariel Schlesinger, Constant Reality Theatre
Curated by Markús Þór Andrésson & Chen Tamir, circulated by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery (SAAG)

May 9, 2012 – July 8, 2012

How do you feel? Is how you feel, your personal experience, rooted deeply within yourself, or is it learned behaviour? In the exhibition Emotional Blackmail, contemporary artists explore the fluid state of emotions, how they flow back and forth between the personal and the public, the ubiquitous and ephemeral, the natural and the affected. Tracing a tendency over the last decade away from irony and towards an attempt at sincere expression, this exhibition offers a sampling of complex works in an effort to examine what we might call "neo-sincerity."

The new stream of sincerity has surfaced at a time when individual expression seems prized above all, however there appears to be a simultaneous diminishing of the emotional scope. After the irony and cynicism of the 1980s and 1990s, we may have lost our ability to engage fully in the complexity of emotions, leaving the distinct impression that in today's world, feelings can be encapsulated by a limited number of emoticons.

Emotional Blackmail reflects the recent trend among artists to analyze, express and generate emotions through their work, and the ways in which sincerity manifests within it. It looks at how emotions are expressed and manipulated in the name of art; the often problematic emotional exchange between artist, collaborator and viewer; and the difficulty of expression, analysis and generation of emotion in contemporary visual art. This exhibition reveals contemporary art's reliance on language, theatre, film and music for addressing the complexities of emotions. Ranging from pop music, YouTube and teen culture to Ingmar Bergman and self-help, the inspirations for these works are placed squarely in the mainstream. However, the artists see beyond simple sappiness by considering the constructed effects of what is often called the "culture industry" and the mechanisms of its subtly manipulative power.

In contemporary culture sincerity proves to be layered and complex, prompting us to ask: What do we accept as sincere and is sincerity truly possible? Should emotional expression be equated with sincerity? Is feeling a choice?


Milutin Gubash: Situational Comedy

May 9, 2012 – July 8, 2012

Situational Comedy is a concise focus on Gubash's search to uncover and understand his origins through a form of episodic storytelling. The exhibition borrows its title from a television genre that seems to be undergoing an identity crisis with the overwhelming popularity of reality television programming. A former mainstay of family entertainment, situational comedies (or sitcoms) often explored familiar tropes via a regular cast of characters in shared settings. Though miscommunication between family members and the fear of disappointment form the basis of most sitcom narratives, their characters rarely suffer from a lapse in hilarity. Misunderstanding and discord, in the realm of the sitcom, are always resolved within 22 minutes.

Central to Situational Comedy is Gubash's major video work, Born Rich, Getting Poorer. Structured as a series of episodes and filmed in a style which blends reality and sitcom genres, the series stars the artist and his family members as themselves in believable, day-to-day situations. As the episodes progress, we encounter the life of the artist as a complicated – though comedic – site of converging roles (son, husband, father, friend, and neighbour). What at first seems like a vaudevillian struggle to meet the expectations of his family members, gradually becomes the artist's own existential search for his roots. A laugh track, that insistent caricature of emotional response, can be heard throughout the series, prompting us to consider how factual document and dramatic license often mingle in the most affecting stories.

Milutin Gubash was born in Novi Sad (Serbia), and currently lives and works in Québec. Gubash has mounted exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. His series of videos titled Lots were the basis of a touring exhibition organized by the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal. Most recently, Gubash's work has been the subject of a ten-year survey project organized and presented by a partnership between Carleton University Art Gallery, Rodman Hall Art Centre, Musée de Joliette and the Southern Alberta Art Gallery. A major monograph on his work will be published by KW|AG in collaboration with the tour partners in late 2012.

Visit the Gallery for an exciting line-up of public programming inspired by Emotional Blackmail and Situational Comedy

Exhibition Tour with Markús Þór Andrésson & Chen Tamir: Fri, May 11, 6 pm

Walk the Talk, a guided Gallery tour: Thurs, May 31 and Jun 28, 7 pm


Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery

101 Queen Street North (Located in Centre In The Square)
Kitchener, ON
N2H 6P7 | 519.579.5860 | www.kwag.ca

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Check out behind the scenes action on our blog Free Admission.

Media Contact: Teresa Chiavaroli, Communications Coordinator | 519.579.5860 ext. 222, tchiavaroli@kwag.on.ca

Gallery Hours: Daily: 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursdays: 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturdays: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sundays: 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Admission to the Gallery is always free.



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