Sandra Rechico’s studio practice in drawing and installation is currently focused on a specific sense of place. She often looks to maps, routing, wayfaring, and navigation in her research. Her collaboration with Gwen MacGregor, Backtrack, is currently at the A trans Pavilion in Berlin. A further collaboration called Placemarkers will be at the Dalhousie Gallery in Halifax in 2012. (More of their projects together can be seen here.) Rechico’s work has been featured in numerous publications and is held in many public and private collections. She has exhibited across Canada, in Europe, and Australia, and has taught at the Ontario College of Art, the University of Toronto and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph.
1. Bikes & Cars
They get along in Berlin. You can ride on major arteries like Uter den Linden or Torstrasse where there are no bikes lanes, and everyone shares the road. At smaller unmarked intersections sometimes the car gives way, sometimes the bike. I know it’s more complicated than I make it, but why can’t we just get along in Toronto? Would it be that hard?
This kids’ amusement park was built in the sixties. Think Ferris wheel, rides for the under ten set, a few big dinosaurs, etc. Then in 2001 the owners claimed bankruptcy and the place has been sitting unused ever since. But now you can ride the little train around the park for two euro and see the fallen over dinosaurs, the grounded swan rides, and the motionless ferris wheel. Fabulous.
3. Sammlung Boros
The contemporary art collection of Christian Boros, housed in an above-ground bunker in Mitte. The collection is austere, and maybe a bit boy crazy, but they had enough of a sense of humour to blast a hole through the two metre thick walls so that a hotel room next door could have a view of Elmgreen and Dragset’s Temporarily Placed (which is the sculpture of a guy lying in a hospital bed).
4. Museum of Things
This is one of the strangest and most wonderul museums I’ve been in. Basically it’s a vast collection of things, just like it says. One of my favourite displays is of the Werkbundkisten, which are display boxes that were used in schools in the sixties to teach children about modern product design and help them develop “taste”. There are boxes based on subject groups, so under the heading Object Types there would be a “vases” box and another called “cutlery”. Functional Units included “the table setting” and ”the work table”. Booklets included in the boxes gave criteria on how to judge good form. There are also a number of more whimsical cabinets: one is a veritable Noah’s ark of salt and pepper shakers, another is full of desktop busts including JFK, Karl Marx, Elvis, Lenin, and Lennon all cheek by jowl.
For the exhibition Backtrack Gwen MacGregor and I ask visitors to the gallery two questions: What time did you leave your house in Berlin today and how far do you think you’ve traveled? This information is recorded along with the time that the visitor arrived at the pavilion. On the wall is the time they left the house and on the floor is the time they arrived at the pavilion, both marked with screw eyes. In between is thread representing the distance traveled. One day a group of landscape architects came to see us. One of them (Vinzenz) asked what would happen if he rode the S-Bahn from 7am until we closed at 7pm the next day. We told him we would have to use his distance in the piece. The next day he arrived at 6:30pm having left his house at 7:45am. He kept track of the distance he travelled on the S Bahn for the entire day: 295 km. Brilliant.
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