LSM Newswire

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cut/Paste: Creative Reuse in Canadian Design

Exhibition on display at the ROM from January 20 to 31, 2010

(Toronto, Ontario January 8, 2010) Motherbrand and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) proudly present Cut/Paste: Creative Reuse in Canadian Design, an exhibition that explores the practice of creating new designs from existing and salvaged products. The exhibition will run from January 20 31, 2010 at the ROMs Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC), coinciding with the first annual Toronto International Design Festival.

Creative reuse has become one of the most visible trends in contemporary international design. Prominent Canadian designers such as Tobias Wong and Douglas Coupland have garnered attention for their witty redesigns of existing products and as Motherbrand cofounder Michael Erdmann explains, their work is part of a strong Canadian tradition. Creative reuse has deep roots in Canadian material culture. Naturally, this type of improvisation occurs all over the world, often arising out of necessity, but in a young nation like Canada these conditions tend to spring up a lot. Examples in the show range from early First Nations adaptations of European products, to depression era solutions such as the Bennett Buggy and Fred Moffats iconic K42 Kettle produced in response to war time manufacturing restraints. More recently, creative reuse has fueled many of the nations independent design manufacturers. Manufacturing in Canada tends to be relatively small scale and specialized. Sourcing materials from existing products is a powerful way to overcome these limitations, says Motherbrands John Ryan. Adding, The smallest of firms and even non-designers are able to produce products this way.

A function of the ICC at the ROM is the exploration of different cultures and their relationship to each other and over time. Concerns over the environment and sustainability, as well as the ways we confront these issues have become hallmarks of our generation.  As such, the ROM is very pleased to host this exhibition, which shines a light on the inventive ways Canadian designers are advancing contemporary design while adapting to 21st century needs, said Francisco Alvarez, Managing Director of the ICC.

Environmental sustainability is an issue that most of these designs address in some way, says Todd Falkowsky. The Motherbrand cofounder continues, This is a powerful tactic for reducing our consumption of energy and materials; it forces us to reconsider what we consider waste. A lot of these designs are produced in relatively small numbers, so their influence is largely conceptual, but the impact is real. Based on the success of these designs, manufacturers such as Umbra and Gus* Modern are finding ways to apply the same approach to larger production runs.  Working in the developing world, Canadian designers are also using creative reuse as a tactic for improving social conditions. The Bambulance Project by Design For Development is a great example, says Erdmann. Their bicycle ambulance provides basic emergency transportation in isolated communities. By utilizing local and reclaimed materials, even impoverished groups can afford to produce the design themselves.

Cut/Paste is one of a pair of exhibits curated by Motherbrand, exploring the act of sampling in Canadian material culture. The second exhibition titled Copy: The fine tradition of imitation in Canadian ceramics, highlights inspired cases of mimicry drawn from Canadian production ceramics, both past and present. Copy runs from January 8 to February 5 at the Gardiner Museum.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

Dan Perjovschi: Late News

Provocative artist brings his social commentary to the ROM. Watch the artist at work from February 13 to 22 only.

The Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents the new art installation, Dan Perjovschi: Late News, beginning on February 22, 2010. Distinguished in the world of contemporary art, Dan Perjovschi will draw his brilliant and irreverent cartoons directly onto the dramatic soaring walls of the Roloff Beny Gallery, on Level 4 of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal at the ROM. Dan Perjovschi: Late News is the artists first solo exhibition in Canada.

Between February 13th and 22nd, Perjovschi will spend ten days in residence at the Museum, creating his unique site-specific line drawings while interacting with Museum visitors. This original work will remain on display until summer 2010.

Responding to the troubled world economy, rapid social change and political upheavals, the work of Dan Perjovschi provides a perceptive and often cheeky examination of the things that keep us awake at night. We are thrilled to invite him to the ROM, to watch him in action, and to be left with an original work of art that serves as an honest snapshot of todays world, said William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO.

About Dan Perjovschi: Late News:

The ICC has invited Perjovschi to create a new site-specific installation for the ROM, where from February 13 to February 22, 2010, the artist will transform the walls of the Roloff Beny Gallery. While working in the gallery, Perjovschi will immerse himself in local media, surveying news from local and international newspapers, internet, TV and radio, which will provide the inspiration for his work.

Perjovschis acclaimed exhibitions are always a personal response to the social and political atmosphere, and the geographic location, in which they are created. The works will be created during public hours, allowing Museum visitors to observe the creation in progress, making the drawing project a performance in itself. As the work will be painted over at the conclusion of the exhibition period, the ICC will produce a free publication (available in the gallery in the spring) that will be the record of the Late News installation.

About Dan Perjovschi:

Romanian-born Dan Perjovschi is an artist who mixes drawing, cartoon and graffiti in artistic pieces drawn directly on the walls of European and American museums and contemporary art spaces. These drawings both witty and incisive comment on current political, social or cultural issues or events. His stark style of line drawing allows him to condense the conflicts and dilemmas of the world into a rapid-response commentary that is both political and honest.

Perjovschi garnered international attention at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999), where he covered the floor of the Romanian Pavillion with drawings and political graffiti about life in the post-Communist era. At the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) his drawings were included in the main International Exhibition. He has had solo and group exhibitions at the Tate Modern (London) and Tate Liverpool, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Kunsthalle Basel, Centre Pompidou (Paris) and the Moscow Biennale.

Formally trained as a still-life painter in a Soviet-style art academy in Romania, Perjovschi was encouraged to question the practicality of his classical grounding when the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauescu collapsed in 1989. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent rise of the European Union, Eastern Europe has seen a shift in its regional and national identities. This new political reality is fertile ground for Perjovschis tongue-in-cheek yet pointed observations, which have been sharpened by his background in journalism. Since 1991, Perjovschi has served as political illustrator and art director for the Bucharest-based independent magazine Revista 22, the first political journal founded in Romania after the fall of the Ceauescu regime.

Perjovschis artistic practice has been influenced by artists of the 1960s and 1970s, newspaper cartoonists, the international art scene, and mainly by the media. In order to reach more people with his satirical thoughts on society, Perjovschi opted for the popular language of political cartoons. Inspiration for his drawings comes from a multitude of sources: conversations, rumours, newspaper articles, gossip, television, and global or local events. The illustrations are simple black marker line drawings, sometimes accompanied with succinct wordplay or punch line captions. With just a few strokes, Perjovschi sums up the current state of affairs with regard to religion, terror, nationalism or consumerism. The results are a hybrid of graffiti and activism with the best qualities of a good newspaper cartoon.

Institute for Contemporary Culture

The Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) plays a vital role at the ROM, a museum whose collections embrace many civilizations through the ages. As the ROM documents history, the ICC is the ROMs window on contemporary society, exploring current cultural issues through exhibitions of art, lectures, film series, and informal gatherings. The ROMs collections provide context and depth to the contemporary issues addressed by participants in ICC events from around the world. In this, and many other ways, the ICC serves as a catalyst for stimulating public conversations. For more information on the ICC, visit www.rom.on.ca/about/icc.

Other information:

A public talk featuring Dan Perjovschi will be presented near the end of his residency at the ICC. Details will be announced later at www.rom.on.ca/icc

Admission to Dan Perjovschi: Late News is included in general Museum admission: Adults: $22; Students and Seniors with ID: $19; Children (4 to 14 years) $15; Children 3 & under are free. Half Price Friday Nights, presented by Sun Life Financial, take place from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. To book a group of ten or more and for more information on private guided tours or group menu, please call ROM Group Sales at 416.586.5889 or email groupsales@rom.on.ca.

Dan Perjovschi: Late News is organized by the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum, in association with Lombard-Freid Projects, New York.

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