Dedicated to you, but you weren’t listening

Dedicated to you, but you weren’t listening

The Power Plant

Dave Allen, The Mirrored Catalogue d’Oiseaux, 2002-03. Aviary, Mockingbirds/Starlings, CD recording and hi-fi equipment. Courtesy of the Artist.

March 24, 2005

Dedicated to you, but you weren’t listening
March 24 to May 23, 2005

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
at Harbourfront Centre
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto ON Canada
T 416 973 4949

Curated by Reid Shier

Dave Allen
Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla
Andrew Dadson
Jeremy Deller
G.L.N. [Maura Doyle & Tony Romano]
Dan Graham
Jonathan Monk
Derek Sullivan
Zin Taylor
Tercerunquinto [Julio Castro, Gabriel Cazares & Rolando Flores]

The Power Plant, Canada’s leading non-collecting contemporary art gallery, announces the opening of Dedicated to you, but you weren’t listening, a group exhibition of works by fourteen artists from Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Europe. A public opening reception will be held at The Power Plant (Thursday March 24, 7 to 10 pm) and features a special live performance of UK artist Jeremy Deller’s Acid Brass by a Toronto brass band.

What is the nature of artistic authorship when multiple, perhaps contradictory, voices are invited to come together in the production of an artwork? Dedicated to you, but you weren’t listening assembles a selection of works that grow out of collaborative and performative relationships. The exhibition explores the unscripted (and sometimes unforeseen) outcomes that result from a request to help make an artwork, or that are actively realized through forms of participation.

In Searching for the centre of a piece of A4 paper (2002), Jonathan Monk asked two of his commercial dealers to pinpoint, without measuring, the centre of a sheet of office paper. Animating their repeated attempts, Monk projects the results against one another to form a curious dance of two subjective and competing ideas. In a similar fashion, the Toronto artist Derek Sullivan’s Endless Kiosk (2005) recreates Constantin Brancusi’s Endless Column as a site for commercial advertising. Brancusi imagined his column as a modular structure that could potentially grow monumentally upward. Sullivan invites visitors to use his variation as a site for posters and announcements, a ‘kiosk’ that will grow continuously in girth to complement the possibility of its endless height. Commenting on the fact the Power Plant relies on paid visitor admission to support its programming, the Mexican collective Tercerunquinto has created a new doorway into the gallery. In place of one of the Power Plant’s large plate glass windows, an entranceway has been installed, access through which admission will not be charged.

Works with music figure extensively in the exhibition. Glasgow artist Dave Allen’s installation The Mirrored Catalogue d’Oiseaux (2002/03) responds to Olivier Messiaen’s “Catalogue d’Oiseaux”–thirteen pieces for solo piano based on the French composer’s interpretation of natural birdsong. Messiaen would compose in the birds’ natural habitat-fields, meadows etc., writing his notation as he listened. Allen reverses this process by playing back Messiaen’s piano works through a stereo to an aviary housing two starlings-a species adept at mimicry. In principle the birds will tonally mimic Messiaen’s interpretation of birdsong, thus returning the composition, in a modified form, to the ‘natural’. Also improvisatory is a selection of work from Spaceship Earth (2004) by Toronto artists G.L.N. [Maura Doyle & Tony Romano]. The DVD documents the two artists as they compose free-form electronica while sitting in a variety of natural settings. Ambient sounds from their surroundings are sampled and looped through two synthesizers and played back live. In Highway 44, the artists sit on a rock outcropping above a main freeway, and as automobiles pass underneath, Doyle and Romano sample the sound and create a song in response. Toronto artist Zin Taylor has created a visual accompaniment to a CD by Japanese electronica composer Aki Tsuyuko. In The Allegorical Function of Dirt: A Discussion with Aki Tsuyuko’s Ongakushitsu (2004-05) Taylor has filmed luxurious, surreal landscapes made from of dirt and glue to accompany the subdued, organic sounds of Ongakushitsu. Taylor then contacted Tsuyuko, forwarded her a copy of the DVD, and asked her opinion. A small brochure outlines their conversation.

Assembled together, works by fourteen artists from Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Europe extend and elaborate a theme of transformation, exploring a wide variety of means that put their authorial voice at risk.

The Power Plant gratefully acknowledges the support of Artangel, The British Council, The Toronto Zoo, Mark and Suzanne Cohon, Jay Alan Smith and Laura Rapp and the Hal Jackman Foundation for their support of this exhibition.

The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery at Harbourfront Centre is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and Harbourfront Centre.

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The Power Plant
March 24, 2005

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