Simon Starling and Sadie Benning

Simon Starling and Sadie Benning

The Power Plant

Simon Starling, Proposal for Lake Ontario-Infestation Piece/Warrior
with Shield vs. The Zebra Mussel, 2005-06, collage.
Courtesy of the artist, the Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd., Glasgow.

February 29, 2008

SIMON STARLING: Cuttings (Supplement)

1 March – 11 May 2008

231 Queens Quay West
Toronto ON Canada M5J 2G8

SIMON STARLING ‘Cuttings (Supplement)’
‘Cuttings (Supplement)’ is Simon Starling’s largest exhibition since winning the 2005 Turner Prize and his exhibition ‘Cuttings’ at Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel. ‘Cuttings (Supplement)’ features nine major works from 2002-07, including The Power Plant’s new Henry Moore-related commission Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore), that in different ways address the various ecologies that Starling’s works engage. Also included is Island for Weeds–Starling’s work from the Venice Biennale in 2003 when he represented Scotland–as well as Bird in Space 2004, By Night, Nachbau, Autoxylopyrocycloboros, 24 hr Tangenziale, Tabernas Desert Run, and Los Angeles, 3rd-5th March 1969 // To indefinite expansion.

An interest in systems lies at the heart of Starling’s practice. His work explores the contemporary interdependence of cultural, political, economic, and environmental conditions, and the ramifications of such interdependence for a critically effective sculptural practice.

Working almost like a novelist, Starling’s approach embodies active narration. This tendency emerges strongly in the new commission, Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore). Evoking the heated reception to Henry Moore’s work in 1960s Toronto, the sculpture also evokes the impact of the zebra mussel, native to the Black Sea, on the Great Lakes’ ecosystem. It also reflects upon the art object at its most elemental. As in this work, Starling often melds two or more stories. The exhibition’s title plays on both the botanical practice of grafting and the idea of recovering sections that have been omitted from a story. Throughout Starling’s practice, narratives multiply, inform and are grafted onto subsequent works. ‘Cuttings (Supplement)’ explores these overlapping concerns, taking Infestation Piece (Musselled Moore) as its starting point.

Born in 1967 in Epsom, England, Simon Starling graduated from the Glasgow School of Art. He won the Turner Prize in 2005 and was short-listed for the Hugo Boss Prize in 2004. He lives in Copenhagen and is Professor of Fine Arts at the Staedelschule in Frankfurt. Starling has exhibited widely including the Bienal de Sao Paulo and the Busan Biennale in 2004. Recently he has made exhibitions at Villa Arson, France, MACRO, Rome, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, and Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

The exhibition was curated by Director Gregory Burke with assistance from Pamela Meredith and Swapna Tamhane. The commission was initiated by Reid Shier, former curator at The Power Plant. The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication, Cuttings (Supplement), with essays by Gregory Burke, Mark Godfrey, Reid Shier, and Sarah Stanners.

‘Cuttings (Supplement)’ is proudly sponsored by Exclusive Presenting Sponsor BMO Financial Group; Lead Donors Jay Smith and Laura Rapp; and Support Donor Jeanne Parkin. The Power Plant gratefully acknowledges the support of the 2006 Founding Commissioners: Lonti Ebers and Bruce Flatt, Yvonne and David Fleck, The Latner Family, Phil Lind, Garnet and Evan Siddall.

At age fifteen, Sadie Benning sparked international attention with videos she had made with a Fisher-Price Pixelvision toy camera. Shot in her bedroom and featuring herself, these intimate, funny and revealing missives explored Benning’s emerging lesbian consciousness.

Play Pause (2006) differs in many ways from Benning’s early single-channel videos. A two-screen video installation made from hundreds of drawings and with a soundtrack culled from hours of ambient recordings, the work weaves in and out of public and private urban spaces. Play Pause also, however, relates in interesting ways to Benning’s teenage oeuvre. As it leaps between anonymous urban figures, its characters are not dissimilar to those in Benning’s earlier works–isolated, lonely and wandering through the world as they explore and come to terms with their sexual and cultural identities.

Play Pause was directed in collaboration with Solveig Nelson.

Sadie Benning was born in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1973, and started making films when she was fifteen. Her films appeared in the 2003 Whitney Biennial when she was aged twenty; she was included again in 2000. Benning received a Rockefeller grant when she was nineteen. She is also a former member/co-founder of the band Le Tigre. Recently she has expanded her practice to include drawing and painting. In 2007 the Wexner Center organized ‘Sadie Benning: Suspended Animation’, her first museum retrospective, which included the debut of Play Pause.

Play Pause is programmed by and presented in conjunction with the 21st Images Festival, 3-12 April, 2008,

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The Power Plant
February 29, 2008

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