Three Cities: Prayer and Protest / The Garden of Earthly Delights
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Three Cities: Prayer and Protest is a shadow-based installation that investigates sites of tension, controversy, and contact within three cosmopolitan environments. Inspired by recent cities the artists have lived and worked in (including Istanbul, Montreal and Vancouver), the exhibition explores notions of prayer and protest as communal expressions of personal hope, desire, demand and outrage. Each ‘city’ becomes a palimpsest in which layers of social, cultural, economic, and political differences come into dialogue. Made from intricately cut paper sculptures, each city is presented as as “island”. These islands are explored by the viewer with the use of mobile lights created for the installation. As the viewer moves through the space, the miniature paper imagery comes alive. Large scale shadows fill the gallery walls and the viewer, who was initially towering over the fragile paper cities, is now surrounded by layers of giant shadow. The Garden of Earthly Delights: Inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting of the same name, this is an experience of the city as rendered in darkness. It's a ten-minute-long journey in which five viewers at a time are guided by a cued sequence of shadow projections and sound to bring a procession of paper cut-outs to life. The cityscape appears as shadows on the wall, becoming an abstraction even as its physical essence is laid bare. The artists take 16th century notions of heaven and hell and join them to a modern inquiry. This urban maze of concrete and cables: is it fantasy or nightmare? Decide for yourself as you experience the magic of light and paper. This is illusionism at its finest - refined down to a beautiful binary of black and white.
Mere Phantoms is a Montreal based duo. They are artists Maya Ersan and Jaimie Robson. Drawing on traditions of shadow theatre, early cinema and papercutting, they create interactive installations and performances positioned between spectacle and experience. These works function as immersive environments that rely on audience participation and explore the possibilities of situating the audience as performer.