Curator’s Note

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I am so honoured and excited to have selected the first group of Shooting Gallery artists. These five strange and wonderful creators will each be sharing a new work with you at our March presentation!

In choosing artists for this show, I spent a lot of time thinking about work I’ve seen and loved and things that have had a lasting effect. In the weeks leading up to the show, I’ve asked the SG artists to share an experience they have had viewing art of any kind that was intense or inspiring.

There are so many pieces that have truly touched and stayed with me. Two of the ones that I end up talking about most were actually not dance (my first love) or even performance. And really, were not exactly enjoyable at the time. But these are experiences that I carry with me and think of often.

One was a video work featured at the Push festival a few years back. It was by Ryoji Ikeda. I don’t know the name of it, I haven’t gone back to check or find out anything about the work or the artist. I like my memory of it the way it is and don’t need any further information. A friend had gotten tickets and taken me along. I wasn’t in a particularly great mood and didn’t bother to read the program as we entered the theatre. I had no idea what we were about to see and was preoccupied with other thoughts. And then, darkness. Bright light, patterns and cacophonous noise. Somehow this minimal work, literally only black and white lines, was an assault on the senses. It completely took me out of myself. And at some point, (I don’t even know how long the piece was) everything went white and there was silence, and my breath caught in my throat in that over dramatic way that never happens in real life. I remember it now as an experience of nothingness. I was alone in the theatre, or rather not in a theatre at all. And then on the screen, stars in neat scientific constellations; some kind of digital mapping giving them coordinates one by one. I don’t remember how it ended. I don’t know what it was about. It’s one of my all time favourite works of art.

The other experience that comes to mind happened while I was living in Berlin. My husband and I had the good fortune to meet up with an old friend, one of the mad scientist geniuses from EATart that is now making his magic happen at MIT. He wrote down an address for us and advised us to find the labyrinth. So a few weeks later, when we had some Canadian friends staying with us, the four of us, armed with an address scribbled on a napkin, went off in search of this outsider art installation in the back room of some apartment building turned dance club. Once we had found the hippy fellow that could grant access to this labyrinth, I was horrified to realize first, that each person enters alone, and second that the order people are chosen in is completely random. I imagined myself lost forever in some terrifying maze and told my husband that I would go in first and that he was responsible for finding and saving me if I never emerged. When it was my turn, I was given a gold coin and blindfolded. I opened my eyes to find myself alone in front of a large wooden door. A coin slot waited. Once inside, I made my way up a ladder in the dark. I crawled through tight passageways, motion sensor lights illuminated the path just ahead, not allowing me to see what I was traveling towards. Taxidermied animals stared at me from glass terrariums on either side and after a while, I came to the end of the corridor. In front of me was a hole, a tunnel into darkness. I think what it was really, was a tube slide. But either way, I could see that once I dropped down this passage, there was no going back. And there was no telling what was down there. And I sat having a panic attack for maybe ten minutes.

And perhaps it was luck or perhaps the master of the labyrinth could see before I went in that I was a big baby, but my husband was the next person chosen to enter the maze. And while debating my descent into darkness, Ed came crawling down the passage utterly fearless, and we held hands and dropped into the void together. What came next, I remember as an epic journey. Rooms of machinery, the ventricles of a giant heart, eye balls watching you pass from slits in walls, and hallways that echoed with your softest footfalls. There were many moments of delight and also terrifying passageways that I’m not sure I would have survived on my own.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to say too much. Ask me about it sometime when I have a drink in my hand. And if you are ever going to Berlin I have an address I’d like to write on a napkin for you.

 

-Julianne Chapple

Curator’s Note

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