All of a sudden..., curated by Collin Zipp for Platform Centre for Photographic + Digital Arts, brings together eight artists using a variety of media to address the notion of aftermath – those moments directly following disaster. Each work depicts a scenario suggesting a state of unknowing. The moments between speculation and confirmation are conceivably some of the most exciting and challenging we can experience. An inability to confirm what has taken place or what may follow forces us to fill in the blanks, but without the satisfaction of the answer key to confirm our conclusion. We want the narrative and our personal understanding of the world to be verified.
Jason de Haan
Perhaps most effectively addressing that liminal space between event and aftermath is Gordon Lebredt's photograph untitled (park bench). The bench is shrouded in darkness, surrounded by trees, and utterly isolated; it presents no clues as to why it has been photographed. The sole context we have is provided by the exhibition's title. Individual works like Sarah Anne Johnson's photograph of a figure whitewashed by a savage blizzard, Ian August's exquisite painting of a smashed vodka bottle on a filthy table, and Laurie Kang's undeveloped light-sensitive photo paper installation clearly address the theme; however, the strength of the show lies in the interplay between works. Lebredt's park bench, mounted directly across from Daniel G. Wong's clock suffering from the inability to advance time, and beautifully contrasted with Jason de Haan's obsessively flagged copy of Lord of the Flies, creates a powerful corner of considerations. Time, space, and memory are all highly significant themes when placed in the context of disaster.
Given the chaotic nature of the subject and the abundance of contemporary artists currently fixated on it, Zipp shows restraint in curating only eight artists. Even with this small selection, All of a sudden... recognizes we are a society preoccupied with tragedy; we revel in the unknown, forever searching for answers to questions we have yet to ask.
All of a sudden... continues until October 26.
Lisa Kehler is a writer and curator from Winnipeg. She most recently co-authored the forthcoming publication Art Tomorrow: 40 Years of the Future Now (Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art 1972 - 2012). She holds a Masters in Cultural Studies: Curatorial Practices from the University of Winnipeg and is currently the Special Projects Director at Border Crossings. She is Akimblog's Winnipeg correspondent and can be followed @LisaKehler on Twitter.
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