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Empty History Opening Reception and Curator's Tour
Deirdre Logue, Lucas Michael, Paul Wong
Curated by Adam Barbu
Bachir/Yerex Presentation Space, 401 Richmond St. W., #452
November 20 – December 14, 2019
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
6-8pm (Adam Barbu, Deirdre Logue and Lucas Michael will be present)
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Following the tour, Adam Barbu will be in conversation with curator and writer John Ricco.
Vtape welcomes the return of Adam Barbu, (Curatorial Incubator 2015) who has curated an exhibition that questions histories of queer singularity and progress. Digging into the extensive holdings in the Vtape Critical Writing Index as well as hours of viewing, Adam arrived at a structure for his investigation that included conducting interviews with crucial voices in the LGBTQ+ community of Toronto. The resulting exhibition is an elegant exploration of what he calls the “everyday”. He writes:
“As a participant in Vtape’s Researcher is Present residency program, I have explored the ways in which artists use video to un-work the narrative conventions of queer history. Over the course of the past year, my research interests have been shaped by readings, conversations, and numerous encounters with the Vtape collection. This exhibition – Empty History – marks the culmination of the residency and includes works by Deirdre Logue, Paul Wong, and Lucas Michael.
“Empty History asks us to think through the work that representations of historical progress cannot do, as well as the ways in which such representations oftentimes erase and obscure the power of inaction, non-productivity, and worklessness. Logue, Wong, and Michael do not seek to repair the unjust and the uncertain by constructing new queer utopias. Instead, they pursue pleasure in the broken, the unchanging, and the everyday. Their works refuse resolution and finality, opening up a space of perpetually unfinished business in which action always already fails to result in change. And this is not for lack of care. The artists each negotiate an intensified lateral movement, occupying the difficult space in between meaning and disfunction, acting out and stepping back, seeking change and giving up. Within the frame of the screen, life itself is presented in a fixed state. In an embrace of that which cannot be assimilated into totalizing narratives of shared history, Empty History raises the possibility of curating “queer” beyond teleology.”
Vtape is publishing a long-form essay by Adam Barbu that develops the ideas arising from Empty History. It will be available at the opening.
Works in the exhibition
DEIRDRE LOGUE – Home Office, video, 2017, 03:33
LUCAS MICHAEL – Fixed Kilometer, video, 2018, 46:35
LUCAS MICHAEL – Audiences Fortunas Iuvat, sculpture, 2011
PAUL WONG – Perfect Day, video, 2007, 7:30
Adam Barbu is an independent writer and curtor based in Ottawa. He holds an MA in Art History from the University of Toronto. In 2015, he was the recipient of the Middlebrook Prize for Young Canadian Curators. Some of his past exhibitions include The queer feeling of tomorrow, Art Gallery of Guelph (2015-2016), A minimal doubt, Videofag, Toronto (2015), and The Circle Won’t Be Broken, Visual AIDS, New York City (2015). He has contributed to publications such as Canadian Art, Esse, Espace art actuel, Momius, and the Journal of Curatorial Studies.
John Paul Ricco is a theorist and writer working at the intersection of contemporary art, queer theory, and continental philosophy. As Curator in Residence at V-Tape in 2007-08 he organized the two-part exhibition: Love in a Time of Empty Promises; and Sex Is So Abstract. Ricco is the author of The Logic of the Lure, and The Decision Between Us: art and ethics in the time of scenes and is currently working on two book projects: The Intimacy of the Outside; and The Collective Afterlife of Things. He is Professor of Art History, Comparative Literature and Visual Culture at the University of Toronto.
Image credit: Perfect Day, Paul Wong, 2007