- May 1, 2015 to July 31, 2015
Shako club (or social club) is a project initiated by grunt gallery and the artist, and created in collaboration with members of Tonari Gumi (Vancouver’s Japanese Community Volunteers Association), an association serving primarily Japanese Canadian seniors and new immigrants to Canada. With a signature investment in both collaborative and improvisational energies, Mochizuki will spend 3 months in residence at Tonari Gumi, working in their commercial kitchen to create recipes and culinary sculptures that acknowledge equally the influence of cultural background, history, taste, aesthetic value, and an abiding love of snacks. Through an ongoing series of workshops and taste experiments, Mochizuki and Tonari Gumi members will craft interpretations of the bento box (a traditional Japanese meal set containing a selection of small dishes) that combine culinary and sculptural sensibilities with stories, memories and advice, selected with care. Mochizuki will document the workshops and process through a series of drawings and recipes available online, and the work will culminate in the distribution of custom-made, edible bento “editions” to members of the public.
By Cindy Mochizuki
- Curated by Vanessa Kwan
curator | 10 ProgramsCurators Vanessa Kwan
- August 28, 2014 to December 31, 2014
Grunt’s 30th anniversary is in many ways about finding surprising things in familiar spaces. As we witness internationally the proliferation of artists’ practices that seek or are influenced by “the social”, and as we consider also our own hyper-local connections here in the Mount Pleasant community, ideas of engagement have been top of mind. In some aspects, it’s a question of support: how can we as curators or institutions support practices that no longer adhere to the traditional expectations of the exhibition? How might forms of engagement be broad, rigorous, unexpected, productive—as well as charismatic? How might we promote spaces of common connection while maintaining challenging content, unique collaborations, and productive friction? No clear answers of course, but in this, as in most things, we turn to artists. Our program of 30th anniversary artist projects is designed to engage on diverse levels. Focussing on projects that take place outside the gallery walls in public or shared spaces, our intent has been around finding productive intersections between art practices and community concerns—be they spatial, discursive or social. Our first project is a 3-month long residency with artist Julia Feyrer within our archive, Media Gallery and Main Gallery spaces. Beginning with the idea of “The Kitchen”—at times the creative and social heart of the grunt gallery—Feyrer will create a new installation and media commission that incorporates elements of grunt’s rich archive of performance and exhibition documentation, as well as the lesser known and harder-to-trace narratives of social connection and creative foment that have informed this institution. Process-based and meticulously—if playfully—constructed, Feyrer’s work is both densely material and intellectually airy; that is, her work challenges the viewer to engage both a tactile experience in this present moment, while simultaneously considering the transformative potential of perception, over time and through space. Feyrer’s use of film and sound acts as a conduit for seeing and, importantly, for experiencing an archival document. As part of a program we’re calling “Brew”, artists Sonny Assu and Lorna Brown have created “social objects”– artist editions that are designed to circulate in the social spaces such as bars or restaurants in Mount Pleasant. Here, engagement is potentially fleeting, but the objects themselves act as small moments of contact—an aesthetic and poetic complement to the fabric of life in this neighbourhood. Brown’s work—a refillable beer growler—specifically calls for a consideration of time and place, and considers the question of cyclical return. Calling to mind questions of history, of habit, of paths built and repeated. Other Brew projects will be announced later in the season, but each piece places artists into specific conversations with spaces and community members. From embedded residencies within community groups, to artist-designed objects, to intervention practices and artist-led discussions, this series opens a sociable consideration of this neighbourhood, and—we hope—proposes a kind of tenderness for the spaces we share. These porous, attentive practices encourage us to connect, to see differently, to return each time with a new perspective.
By Alistair MacLennan, David Khang, Julia Feyrer, Lorna Brown, Marcus Bowcott, Sonny Assu
- Curated by Glenn Alteen, Vanessa Kwan
- May 27, 2016 to June 25, 2016
High Kicks Into the Light Forever and Ever and Ever is a new video installation by Vancouver-based artist Elizabeth Milton. Composed of a series of immersive projections that explore performative ritual and material play, the work revolves around a procession of participants meditating under the hot glow of a spotlight. Drenched in identical heavy make-up and lacquered in artificial sweat and tears, a series of ‘women’—disembodied faces displaying exaggerated markers of high femininity—form a fevered chorus-line for the camera. Melting under the heat, the performers’ make-up is a tenuous composition, eventually smeared away in a gesture of (choreographed) self-effacement. What is constructed fades, or rather, is obliterated. The make-up, so recognizable as an overstatement of gendered subjectivity, becomes a kaleidoscopic abstraction on white linen, acting as both colour field and performance document. Alongside sequences of props, costumes, and the garish refuse of novelty-store glamour, the images disarm assumptions of a composed subject, and point to the possibility of transcendence, an ecstasy in glitter.
By Elizabeth Milton
- Curated by Vanessa Kwan
- February 25, 2016 to April 2, 2016
Sausage Factory examines the operations of food production and how this activity has been represented in literature, industrial films, and popular cinema. A selection of related movement images are disassembled and their various motivations and structural components reconstituted to produce a series of new video works. In one instance, a set of inexpensive consumer goods haunted by physical, mimetic and mythic affinities to sausage making are summoned, to reenact a centuries old sight-gag. In another, movements captured in a tradition of scientific management are pushed through the tedious yet fantastical mill of cel animation. The resultant images collapse historical time with the time of production, and in doing so reveal uncanny movements of capital and desire.
By Stephen Wichuk, Weronika Stepien
- Curated by Tarah Hogue, Vanessa Kwan
- January 8, 2016 to February 13, 2016
Remote Viewing is a performance and responsive installation presenting human and camera interactions as a site for contemplation. We live in an era of technological vision - and technological bodies. In contemporary forms of representation, what we "see" has often been subject to complex forms of mediation. Noxious Sector proposes a dislocation of bodies and of vision and an experiment in visual intervention. Focusing on the technology of drones as agents of remote vision and interaction, Remote Viewing is a meditation - part visual, part conceptual - on the status of vision, bodies, and technology in the 21st century. Drones are as much floating heads as they are predatory machines, and to emphasize this conflation is to begin to interrogate the logic of surveillance for its relationship to an embodied ethics of virtual behaviour.
By Doug Jarvis, Jackson 2Bears, Noxious Sector, Ted Hiebert
- Curated by Vanessa Kwan
- October 26, 2017 to December 9, 2017
Rooted in her practice as a printmaker, Pétrin creates immersive, highly graphic environments, often producing hundreds of individual prints for a single installation. For her exhibition at grunt gallery, the artist will be working to create a unique installation that acknowledges the architecture of the gallery space.
By Dominique Pétrin
- Curated by Vanessa Kwan
- November 2, 2018 to December 15, 2018
2068: Touch Change is both an archive and a speculation. Beginning 50 years in the future, this new exhibition by Toronto-based artist Syrus Marcus Ware proposes an archive whose ‘holdings’ act as a meeting ground for artists and activists across time and space. The exhibition has 3 main components: a series of large-scale graphite portraits drawn on paper and directly on the walls, a speculative text and a disseminated printed work that documents materials gathered and accessed in the artists’ research process. The portraits – in many ways the centrepiece of the exhibition – are created through a complex process of visiting and revisiting images and interviews with historic and present-day BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or People of Colour) activist communities. Ware’s investment in the archive is overlaid with a parallel interest in forms of speculative fiction (see his recent piece in C Magazine or his essay on Octavia E. Butler published by Canadian Art last year) and he speaks eloquently about how he envisions his research and installations as ways of creating a space where activists and artists of different generations are brought together.
By Syrus Marcus Ware
- Curated by Vanessa Kwan
- June 21, 2018
The Making of an Archive (2014–ongoing) is a project initiated by Canadian artist Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn. The project composed of digitizing workshops, which aims to record the everyday life and civic engagements by immigrants and amateur photographers. The photographs are digitized and their accompanying narratives are recorded, thereby preserving records of personal histories in order to address the absent representation of multiculturalism in official archives. Focusing on digitizing printed matter, e.g. 35mm or 120mm photographs, slides or Polaroids, Nguyễn believes that immigrants who documented their daily life when they came to their new country are in danger of becoming forgotten or lost, thus losing complex and complicated histories of migration. By building this alternative structure of personal images, the artist aims to create a new archive that seeks to represent the fractured ideology of multiculturalism from the bottom up where forms of civic engagement within a structure of kinship or even in solidarity with other communities can be observed. The Making of an Archive questions existing frameworks for archival history-making, and chooses instead a trajectory of collective exploration. Drawing again from the artists’ reference to ‘space fiction’, speculation here leads to a kind of cultural star-gazing: seeing fragments of this nascent archive reminds us of vast possibilities—reflections of lives already lived, and new frameworks for a future we have yet to see. Priority is given to histories of migration from people who identify as people of color (POC).
By Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn
- Curated by Dan Pon, Maiko Tanaka, Vanessa Kwan