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Halifax
Daniel Higham
(im)mobile at the Dalhousie Art Gallery
November 25, 2014

Walking down the stairs to visit the Dalhousie Art Gallery’s latest exhibition – (im)mobile – the view-er enters a strange and unpredictable dream. Just inside the door, Germaine Koh’s Fair-Weather Forces turnstile spins wildly, possessed, as if manipulated by an unseen hand, and a dissonant soundscape tumbles through the rooms.



Left: Germaine Koh & Gordon Hicks, There/Here, 2011. Right: Edith Flückiger, Slogan (Ask…), 2010. (Photo: Steve Farmer)

An electric red glow pulls the viewer through the installations to the back of the gallery. Walking around one corner reveals Edith Flückiger’s Slogan, a displaced subway billboard silently demand-ing, “ASK NOW FOR LATER.” Red light floods the room, enveloping the viewer. The sign feels out of place, and yet, in the manner of dreams, significant. Ask what for later?

In the next room is Koh and her collaborator Gordon HicksThere/Here, a pair of doors that stand surrounded by empty space. They are stripped of purpose, leading nowhere. As one door is opened, the other follows, invisibly tied – evidence of a sort of unpredictable causality. Between the doors, a video projection by Flückiger titled Swim spills out onto the floor. In it a group of people swim. Shot from above, the camera slowly pans across anonymous bodies amongst the waves, creating a feeling of disembodiment, of watching one’s self from a distance.

Mireille Bourgeois and Chantal Molleur’s curatorial premise for the exhibition title refers to physical mobility and stillness, and the displacing of the ordinary meaning of everyday objects. The collected work certainly achieves this, but the overall installation exceeds these ideas, disrupting the viewer’s sense of self and body to create a site of reflection and observation.


Dalhousie Art Gallery: http://artgallery.dal.ca/
(im)mobile continues until November 30.


Daniel Higham works in a butcher shop where he’ll talk to you about art, food, and life. Daniel writes for Visual Arts News and is Akimblog’s Halifax correspondent. He can be followed on Twitter @highamdaniel.

 

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