“Sad but true” is a fairly common expression. But the new exhibition, sad but true, by artist and York Professor Kartz Ucci, is anything but common.
Through her work Ucci, a sessional professor of media studies in York’s Department of Visual Arts in the Faculty of Fine Arts, questions the quantification, manufacture and maintenance of happiness. “sad but true speaks to a fractured experience of everyday urban banality and a simultaneous desire for a space somewhere between here and the melancholic fantasy of a real home,” says the Red Head Gallery’s Web site about the exhibition.
Ucci’s work is on display until Sept. 28 at the Red Head Gallery in Toronto, at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 115. Her four works are entitled:
- 368 songs with the word sad in the title mixed into one song
- NO trespassing, sitting, eating, shitting, dog shitting, drinking, smoking GET THE FUCK OFF MY DRIVEWAY
- Sad Songs
- I remember
Below: Text-based digital print of Sad Songs
Ucci created the sound piece (368 songs with the word sad in the title mixed into one song) in part by inputting the word “sad” into an Internet search engine and layered the ensuing results “carefully one on top of the other in a digital audio program…. The mixing process was both rigorous and mathematical so that no one tune would take priority over another,” she explained.
Accompanying the sound piece is a text-based digital print, Sad Songs, that lists the sad song titles. “This work reads like concrete poetry and the text moves in a continuous repeating spiral into infinity, mimicking the mixing process of the vinyl record,” said Ucci.
I remember is another text-based work on paper, “a somewhat romantic, perhaps self-indulgent, reflection on notions of, and quantifying statements about, happiness – its manufacture and maintenance.”
Right: Ucci saw this scene from her window and used the words on the sign as the source for one of her images.
Ucci described NO trespassing, sitting, eating, shitting, dog shitting, drinking, smoking GET THE FUCK OFF MY DRIVEWAY, a vinyl-based text piece, as one whose significance lies in its message. “Originally painted on a back alley entranceway and observed from a condo window, the message imposes a sense of hierarchy that calls to mind the compartmentalization of space so prevalent in urban architecture,” she commented. “From condo to driveway, nothing is beyond the urban underpinnings of laying claim to property.”
Kartz Ucci describes herself as a Toronto-based artist who lives in a condo. Her Web site is at www.yorku.ca/kartz.
Red Head Gallery hours: Tuesday to Friday, 12-5pm, Saturday 11am-5pm. For more information on the gallery, call 416-504-5654, visit the gallery Web site at www.redheadgallery.org or e-mail email@example.com.