AGYU charts imaginary homelands

Image by Nicolás Consuegra, Untitled (Exile), 2007. Modified electric exit sign. 25 x 40 x 8.5 cm). Private Collection.

exit sign saying "exile"This fall, the Art Gallery of York University (AGYU) charts new territories, crossing actual and perceived cultural borders and geographic boundaries with a new exhibit Imaginary Homelands.

Imaginary Homelands is the culmination of a three-year experimental residency project with Colombian artists Carlos Bonil, Nicolás Consuegra, Miler Lagos, Mateo López, Mateo Rivano, María Isabel Rueda, Daniel Santiago, Angélica Teuta and Icaro Zorbar.

Image by Nicolás Consuegra, Untitled (Exile), 2007. Modified electric exit sign. 25 x 40 x 8.5 cm). Private Collection.

York University students, faculty and staff are invited to a free public reception on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 6 to 9pm, to celebrate the opening of Imaginary Homelands.

The eight artists explore how the oscillation of people, ideas and materials between two real places, in this case Bogotá and Toronto, could become a point of departure toward “locating” a fictionalized mid-way point. A product of this experiment, the exhibition is an imaginary place situated somewhere between the two locations, made tangible through a series of artworks created specifically for, and as, an “imaginary homeland” at the AGYU. 

Throughout the series of residencies, artists considered their projects from the position of being in and being from these two places simultaneously, allowing both to inform their experiences, inflect their understanding of “the local” and provide differing social and cultural contexts, available materials and more, for the development of their work.

As hybrid creations that draw upon and from so many different sources, materials, stories and experiences (from visiting paper mills and recycling plants to flea markets and shipping docks, and from travelling to the Arctic, Niagara Falls and Northern Ontario to taking ravine walks and river rides), the resulting works in Imaginary Homelands are more than mere translations. Imaginary Homelands is a “third space,” open to imaginative projections as part of an ongoing process of creation. The exhibition continues until Sunday, Dec. 2 and is curated by Emelie Chhangur, assistant director/curator, AGYU.

The AGYU’s ever lively Performance Bus will bring visitors to AGYU’s Imaginary Homelands for the opening reception. The Performance Bus is free and departs from the Ontario College of Art & Design University, 100 McCaul Street, at 6pm sharp. It will return downtown at 9pm.

Toronto artist Alex Snukal’s project for AGYU Vitrines plays with ideas of surface, camouflage and disappearance, creates a new site specific work for the gallery that is both visible and invisible, evading detection from passers-by while trying to blind them to the exact dimensions.

This fall, visit the AGYU Studio Blogand learn how totake care of oneself in order to take care of strangers all over the world with artist-curator Lena Suksi and curator-multimedia-artist-singing-sensation-popess Lido Pimienta.

The Art Gallery of York University is a public non-profit contemporary art gallery supported by York University, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and its membership.

The AGYU is located in the Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele Street Toronto. Gallery hours are: Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; Wednesday, 10am to 8pm; and Sunday from 12 to 5pm. The gallery is closed Saturday.

Image courtesy Art Gallery of York University.