The first major survey exhibition of Sobey-nominated Canadian artist and York alumna Diane Borsato (BA Spec. Hons. ’97) will run at the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU), starting with the opening reception Wednesday evening.
Right: Installation view of Walking Studio by Diane Borsato, part of the exhibit Terrestrial/Celestial at the Art Gallery of York University. Photo by M. Maranda
Borsato’s pieces brings together works in a variety of media from photography and video to relational sculpture. In this solo exhibition, Terrestrial/Celestial, Borsato shows several recent relational projects and interventions. On the one hand, her work is concerned with being in the city and in nature and, on the other hand, with ways of learning and exchanging knowledge.
The opening reception will take place April 4, from 6 to 9pm, at the AGYU, Accolade East Building, Keele campus. The exhibit, curated by Emelie Chhangur, AGYU assistant director/curator, will run until June 10.
Left: Diane Borsato, Terrestrial/Celestial. Installation view from Art Gallery of York University. Photo by M. Maranda
“My actions and performances are about experiencing things in an actively engaged manner. They’re about ways of knowing that aren’t solely based on reading texts or seeing. They’re also about the ways we relate – to objects, places, and to each other,” says Borsato.
Right: An inside view of Walking Studio by Diane Borsato, part of the exhibit Terrestrial/Celestial at the Art Gallery of York University. Photo by M. Maranda
In The Chinatown Foray, the artist hosted a naturalist expedition in an urban marketplace. In Italian Lessons, she attempted to learn Italian by learning salsa, physics, first aid and beekeeping by way of Italian instruction. In Terrestrial/Celestial, Borsato has coordinated an unconventional exchange of observational practices – from opposite ends of the scale – between amateur mycologists and amateur astronomers. In her new work, Walking Studio, part of Terrestrial/Celestial, Borsato proposes a different space for research, collection and reflection with her mobile field study lab. Comprised of a study centre and fully functional sauna, Walking Studio frames and supports artistic practices that are site-responsive, peripatetic and relational.
Left: Diane Borsato, Italian Lessons (Performed in Toronto, Treviso and Zafferana Etna, 2007 to 2011) is one of the works in Terrestrial/Celestial. Courtesy of the artist and AGYU. Photo by Alessandra Borsato
While the works reference the grand history of conceptual, fluxus and performance art, Borsato’s practice consists of simple gestures and organized events acting as proposals for alternative ways of knowing objects, places and each other. Outsmarting the universalizing modernist constraints that reduce human experience and empathy into easily digestible, rational categories, these works open up a space for critical insight. They enable a different way of relating, in humourous and poetic ways, to everyday life, to the realm of “high art” and to other specialized fields of knowledge production involving artists and non-artists alike in the process. Borsato’s work proposes a different method of inquiry, one that relies more on touching, tasting and feeling the world around us – from the terrestrial to the celestial.
Right: Diane Borsato, Bouquet (performed in Toronto and the surrounding region, 2006 to 2012). Courtesy of the artist and the AGYU
The exhibition is accompanied by a major hardcover monograph on Borsato’s recent works, published by the AGYU and edited by Stephanie Springgay, designed by Lisa Kiss Design, with text contributions by Emelie Chhangur, Stephanie Springgay, Darren O’Donnell, Scott Watson and an introduction by Philip Monk. The publication is supported by Borsato and Springgay’sSocial Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada grant for “The Institute of Walking: Research and Creation in Relational and Interventionist Arts Practices”.
Get on the AGYU Performance Bus!
Get on the Performance Bus and head to the AGYU with Life of a Craphead, the comedy duo of Amy Lam and Jon McCurley. They have presented performance, comedy, theatre and video works in the Netherlands, Los Angeles, New York City and Toronto. Their first movie, Bugs, is currently in post-production.
Left: Join Amy Lam and Jon McCurley on the Performance Bus. Photo courtesy of Life of a Craphead.
The free Performance Bus departs the Ontario College of Art & Design University, 100 McCaul St., Toronto, at 6pm sharp on Wednesday, April 4, en route to Diane Borsato’s exhibition at the AGYU. The bus returns downtown at 9pm.
AGYU gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; Wednesday, 10am to 8pm; Sunday from noon–5pm; and closed Saturday.
For more information, visit the AGYU website.