GUT_BRAIN 1: Destructive Desires and Other Destinies of Excess

GUT_BRAIN 1: Destructive Desires and Other Destinies of Excess

Blackwood Gallery at University of Toronto Mississauga

January 8, 2024
GUT_BRAIN 1: Destructive Desires and Other Destinies of Excess
Part two
January 8–March 15, 2024
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Blackwood Gallery at University of Toronto Mississauga
University of Toronto Mississauga
3359 Mississauga Road
Mississauga Ontario L5L 1C6

T +1 905 828 3789
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Curated by Irmgard Emmelhainz and Christine Shaw.

With Allora & Calzadilla, Baum & Leahy, Miguel Calderón, Jo Ann Callis, Minerva Cuevas, Patricia Domínguez, Ines Doujak, Duke & Battersby, Ane Graff, Tsēmā Igharas, Lake Verea, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, Chandra Melting Tallow, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Tania Willard, Guadalupe Maravilla, Dafna Maimon, Dana Prieto, Mika Rottenberg, Marina Roy, Tejal Shah, Miriam Simun, Dannielle Tegeder, Miguel Ventura, Alberta Whittle.

GUT_BRAIN is an exhibition series inspired by the primary movements of the digestive system: ingestion, propulsion, mechanical breakdown, chemical digestion, absorption, and elimination.

The first movement, Destructive Desires and Other Destinies of Excess, materializes at the mouth. The mouth tracks the destinies of excess: the origins and symptoms of injurious forms of interdependency that have led to our toxic world. Part two of GUT_BRAIN 1 (January 8–March 15, 2024) focuses on artists who recognize that modern technologies at the centre of a project of future worldmaking are linked to destructive desires, toxic masculinity, feminicide, dependency on fossil fuels, land dispossession, chemical contamination, remaindered and redundant populations, necropower, and the colonial technosphere to sustain life. The exhibition moves from injury to potential, from predation and separation to symbiosis, from damage to possible futures.

In the Blackwood galleries
Dannielle Tegeder’s commissioned wall drawing resembles the often invisible material and digital infrastructures that sustain human lives while functioning as a device to relate to the beyond; Ane Graff’s glass goblets filled with toxic materials linked to mental illness highlight how substances we consume daily shape epigenetic changes; in Marina Roy’s paintings made of bitumen, the human desire to devour and consume is set against the backdrop of capital accumulation and environmental destruction; Minerva Cuevas’ Famine 3.6 is a chocolate-dripping machine that evokes the production of cacao (the ground base for chocolate) in Mexico, which is exported to be consumed in European countries, leaving famine and environmental devastation behind; Dana Prieto’s olfactory installation physically and poetically entangles us with the smell of soil near sites of gold extraction by Canadian mining companies operating in the Americas; Miguel Ventura’s collage exposes what is erased by late Modernity or by solidified power of which Starchitecture is emblematic: exported weapons, foreign wars, and a trail of masses who have disappeared and died across sacrifice zones; Lake Verea’s photographs of Guatemalan bodyguards portray men of Indigenous backgrounds whose elders once defended their territory: now they must make a living defending those in power; Guadalupe Maravilla’s retablo represents the artist returning to his homeland for the first time since the Salvadoran Civil War, serving as a poignant reminder of the resilience that emerges from experiences of conflict and displacement.

In the UTM campus lightboxes and on a public billboard
Lightbox Cycle 3 (January 8–February 14) explores destinies of excess through centring objects tied to destructive desires. The five images attune to consumption, the ways in which the body recognizes or fails to acknowledge the sensations of overindulgence. Miguel Calderón’s billboard image featuring a snake trapped in a beer can evokes the sugary lure behind self-destruction. Jo Ann Callis’ eclair points at the capitalist invention of the desirability of foods over sustained nourishment. Minerva Cuevas’ chocolate bar alludes to the historical use of cannibalism to justify European extractivism and colonization in the Americas. Allora & Calzadilla depict landscapes in Vieques, Puerto Rico, revealing that these paradisiacal sites were designated for hazardous waste disposal. Tsēmā Igharas transforms decommissioned Canadian pennies into a melted copper anomaly, highlighting the cultural and industrial value of copper.

Lightbox Cycle 4 (February 14–March 27) features artists who examine the interconnectivities within and outside the body to address the entangled economic, technological, microbiological, and ecological crises of our time. Ines Doujak’s creature represents diseased bodies in perpetual flux and outgrowth, where disruptive forces transform structural violence into visible forms. Alberta Whittle’s work critiques institutional performativity, envisioning freedom through Afrofuturism among the stars, escaping Earth’s inequalities. Baum & Leahy imagine a future where deeper understanding of cellular biology is guided by “Olcks,” guardians intricately linked to the senses. Patricia Domínguez attunes to life beyond her body, learning the vegetal world’s languages and wisdoms to create quantum possibilities for healing.

Visit the Blackwood website for artist bios, project descriptions, installation documentation, and more!

In the cinema
February 17, 12–4pm

Small World Music Centre, 180 Shaw St, Toronto

This video program speculates on Other Destinies of Excess: practices of world-making in the face of dire ecological and existential threats including waste, extinction, toxic drug supply, racism, and colonialism.

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Blackwood Gallery at University of Toronto Mississauga
January 8, 2024

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