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Opening Reception - Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca

Art Gallery of York University
Event organized by Art Gallery of York University

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Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca
Art Gallery of York University
18 April – 24 June 2018
Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 6–9 pm

Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca’s work celebrates—while at the same time reframing—vernacular cultural forms as they have manifested through time: as popular traditions become pop culture, for instance. Through photography and film, the artists examine cultural change-as-it-happens—as a space in-between, where cultural forms of the past adapt in response to changing economic conditions. Wagner and de Burca particularly look at emerging economies or post-colonial geographical contexts where popular genres persist through cultural mixing and diasporic refashioning. Their work was shown most recently at Skulptur Projekte Münster, Germany; São Paulo Museum of Modern Art; 32nd São Paulo Biennial; La Biennale arts actuels Réunion; and EVA International, Ireland. Wagner and de Burca live and work in Recife, an old colonial town located on Brazil’s northeast coast. They are the AGYU’s 2017–18 artists-in-residence.

Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca is a primary exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival and is presented in conjunction with the 2018 Images Festival Off-Screen program.

Thinking along-side Wagner and de Burca, AGYU considers: what might constitute the creation of new traditions in and for Toronto? Or, more interestingly, what will become our contemporary ones: traditions that can only be known, not from the past, but from the future looking back at the here and now? Can a subway cypher be a film-script?

We are putting this thinking into practice through an AGYU-commissioned film that brings Wagner and de Burca into collaboration with Scarborough’s RISE (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere) EDUTAINMENT (R.I.S.E Movement) and spoken word poets from across the Greater Toronto Area. Currently in production, the experimental documentary RISE is not “about” RISE. Rather, it is made “with” RISE. Wagner and de Burca adopt the concept of Edutainment as a conceptual tool for the film’s structure and RISE participants’ performances and poetry form its methodology and script.

Evolving out of the AGYU’s ongoing commitment to merging the once separate fields of exhibition making and education “outreach” (in order to explore this intersection as a mutually enriching source of cutting-edge artistic production and pedagogical innovation), Wagner and de Burca’s newest experimental film is created in conjunction with the AGYU’s Truth be Told Spoken Word mentorship program. Shot on the Toronto Transit Commission’s new Line One subway extension, the film provides a vehicle to chronicle the liminal state of postcolonial non-belonging that grows out of the diasporic reality of not being entirely rooted in Canada. While acknowledging Torontonians as settlers who occupy Indigenous land, the young poets and rappers involved in this film cultivate and preserve strong connections to their own respective countries, languages, and cultures of origin—an identification that permeates their performative rituals of self-fashioning and artistic self-presentation, and that subsequently carves out new traditions for the future of Toronto’s changing cultural milieu.

The film is co-produced with the Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio, and will premiere at FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art in July 2018.

Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca is curated by AGYU’s Interim Director/Curator Emelie Chhangur and is a Primary Exhibition of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, presented in conjunction with the 2018 Images Festival Off-Screen program. The artists are represented by Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo.

According to the wabi-sabi aesthetic principle of organic organ­ization, truth comes from the observation of nature, including all its imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness. With this as a guiding principle, Véronique Sunatori’s commission for AGYU Vitrines features the glowing moon on a clear night sky, the reflection of the sky in pools of rainwater, and the tops of tall grass emerging from a bed of fog— all moments of wonder and transience for us to contemplate in our three exterior colonnade windows.

Véronique Sunatori has participated in residencies at AIRY Yamanashi and the Société d’art et d’histoire de Beauport. Sunatori’s work has been presented at Studio Sixty-Six, Art Mûr, FOFA Gallery, and upcoming at Circa Art Actuel. She is currently an MFA candidate at York University.

TTC: Ride LINE ONE to York University Station: the gallery entrance faces the south exit.
Driving: Enter YorkU Keele Campus via The Pond Road. Park in the Student Services garage.
WheelTrans: the closest WheelTrans stop is York University Subway Station, north exit.

The AGYU is located in the Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto.
Gallery hours: Monday to Friday, 10 am – 4 pm; Wednesday, 10 am – 8 pm; Sunday, noon – 5 pm; Saturday, closed.

AGYU promotes 2SLGBTQIAP positive spaces and experiences and is barrier-free.

Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca will be giving an Artist Talk on Sunday, May 27 at 2pm.
More information on our website: https://bit.ly/2H9CwUf