Both new exhibitions encourage viewers to question the world as we see it
Politics as performance art and parachutes as wedding dresses. These two exhibitions at the Faculty of Fine Arts (FOFA) gallery ask us to be open-minded, and challenge how we perceive the world.
Although the two works are very different in nature, they revolve around the same theme of reshaping the familiar. Kim Waldron and pk langshaw both accomplish this in their work using different mediums.
“While these two exhibitions are distinct and have different conceptual frameworks, both [Waldron] and [langshaw] have ambitiously transformed the spaces which they occupy,” said Jennifer Dorner, director of the FOFA gallery.
For her exhibition, Superstar, Waldron documented her experience of running as an independent in the 2015 federal election. The photos, video fragments and portraits featured at the exhibition offer a look into her campaign, which in reality was a year-long performance during which she effectively became someone else. Waldron used her status as a professional artist in order to frame herself as a credible candidate.
The exhibition toes the line between art and documentary work. To the casual observer, the photos and videos in the exhibition space would seem to document a serious political campaign. Upon closer inspection, however, we see that each piece was part of an intricate performance.
Waldron was pregnant during the campaign, a fact reflected in her posters, as we see her swollen belly. This is a stark contrast to the posters of other party candidates, which Waldron believes reek of corporate branding.
“Women candidates definitely don’t run using such an image, as people tend to focus on trivial things in regard to women, like the outfit she is wearing,” said Waldron. “The fact that I started out pregnant and ended up with a one-year-old baby also became a commentary on the ridiculous length of the campaign.”
The second exhibition, the parachute unfolds: follow the thread by pk langshaw, on the other hand, uses reclaimed WWII parachutes to question how we associate meaning with objects, and how this meaning evolves as the shape of the object evolves. Langshaw is the department chair of design and computational arts at Concordia, and is interested in how garments carry different meanings.
The dresses are not cut or snipped, but reshaped—therefore, they are still parachutes. This exhibition poses interesting questions about the attribution we give to certain materials and fabrics. Accompanying the wedding dresses is also a video and an entire parachute, continuously ruffled by a wind machine in the vitrine.
“Visitors will be inspired by the beauty of these works,” said Dorner. “They will also be provoked to think differently about the social spaces that surround us.”
The exhibitions at the FOFA are ongoing until Oct. 21. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.