The erasures of Aliki Braine (plus a Palíndromo postscript)


Aliki Braine’s altered images speak to obliteration in its many forms. Synonymous with annihilation, eradication, extinction, ruination, and termination, the act of obliterating implies a kind of killing, and at first glance her images, like memento mori, conspire to remind us that all life inevitably ends. (From the Online Etymology Dictionary: memento mori, n. “reminder of death,” 1590s, from Latin, lit. “remember that you must die.”)

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Joining: Agathe de Bailliencourt


The month of May belongs to Agathe de Bailliencourt, who will have two solo shows, Eintritt in Toronto and Sheer in New York, plus a site-specific projection onto The New Museum, concurrently on view. Eintritt means “joining” in German (de Bailliencourt is French but currently based in Berlin) and this post joins together images from both of her painting exhibitions as well as selected past projections and site-specific installations. The images are strikingly distinct, yet demonstrate de Bailliencourt’s continuing interest in the expressive mark of the hand (particularly her graffiti-inflected splashes and scrawls), as well as her ongoing engagement with architectural form, space, and especially movement/directionality delineated through the use of decisive gestures, layered textures, and vibrantly contrasting colours.

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In the air: Exhibits, books, and yes, binders full of women

Staff at the Mechanics Institute, Toronto, 1895, from Toronto Reference Library Archives

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that the internet’s been ablaze with binder references since Mitt Romney’s infamous gaffe during the 2nd presidential debate just over a week ago. Not only have the inevitable Tumblr and Twitter accounts blown up with remarkable speed and fury, Amazon saw an explosion of satirical binder reviews submitted in the debate’s wake, raising this form of crowdsourced art to a whole new level of political engagement.

Here in Toronto, we were surprised and not just a bit delighted to see the Toronto Reference Library jump into the game with their timely blog post, “Binders full of women: Etchings at the Toronto Reference Library“. Featuring an extensive engravings collection of 18th and 19th century actors, dancers, and japanese kabuki prints, as well as hundreds of thousands of historical fashion, graphic design, and advertising images organized by decade, we’d argue that the TRL’s binders inspire a bit more confidence than Romney’s — and at the very least are probably quite a bit thicker.

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Too much photography: The passions of Martin Parr

Martin Parr, Kleine Scheidegg, 1994

Martin Parr gave a great talk at the AGO last night — by turns witty, irreverent (why do photobook intro texts “always seem to mention Robert Frank, or Walker Evans, or Atget? It’s boring as fuck!”), serious, and sincere. For over 40 years, Parr has been obsessively documenting humanity’s obsessions, turning his camera on formerly overlooked aspects of modern life including consumer culture, the middle class, tourism, bad weather, the British, the bureaucratic, and the boring. In the process, he has forever changed how we look at and use photography — both to examine and understand ourselves as much as the other — generating through thousands of images an exhaustive yet strangely intimate anthropology of the absurd.

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One from the road: Mona Lisa Overdrive

This past week saw Leonardo da Vinci in the news again, this time popping up in the dusty farmhouse of some unbelievably lucky Scots. Poking around our own version of a dusty farmhouse while on vacation this summer, we were not so lucky. However we did manage to dust off another sort of Leonardo-based fascination, buried in a barely cracked edition of Time-Life’s populist Library of Art book series from 1971 (click image to enlarge).

Published in a lavishly illustrated volume titled The World of Leonardo (and authored with help from H.W. Janson of Art History 101 fame), this strangely engaging spread depicts eight early copies of da Vinci’s masterpiece, variously attributed and painted between the early 1500s and the 17th century.

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Every 14 days a language dies: National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project

Last fall we posted a brief review of The Last Silent Movie, Susan Hiller’s extraordinary audio artwork comprising some 24 extinct or endangered languages from across the planet. Featuring words, stories, entreaties and lullabies in Potawatomi, Klallam, and Ngarrindjeri among others, Hiller’s work effects a sense of wonder at the sheer diversity of human tongues, as well as the sobering realization that for many of these unseen speakers, their language, along with much of their wisdom, history and culture, will likely die with them.

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Celebrating 70 posts with a project space update and some images from Art School (Dismissed)

It’s been some time since our last post on the project space, so we thought we’d celebrate our 70th (!) with an update on recent developments. As some of you may know, this blog has been TYPOLOGY’s virtual home while our website and physical space are under construction. Both have seen delays for various reasons, but we promise that things are continuing to move forward…

For those who don’t yet know, TYPOLOGY is a not-for-profit project space which will be housed within a historic school building currently undergoing renovation by Artscape, a local organization with an international reputation for city-building through the arts. Award-winning and multi-faceted projects at Wychwood Barns, the Distillery, and Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island have proven Artscape’s model of repurposing underutilized buildings for the benefit of the arts and the greater community.

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WTF is a Wayzgoose? (and WNYBAC, for that matter?)

This weekend, get thee to Grimbsy for their 34th annual Wayzgoose, a festive fair and celebration of all things book arts-related. While the origin of the word wayzgoose is still up for speculation, there is no doubt that this tradition of annual printers’ parties dates back to at least the late 1600s, when Joseph Moxon, author of Mechanick Exercises (1683-1684), wrote: “It is customary for the Journey-men every year to make new paper windows…because that day they make them the Master Printer gives them a Way-goose, that is, he makes them a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own house, but besides, gives them Money to spend at the Ale-house or Tavern at Night.” Nice.

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Local bookshop love: magazines at The Monkey’s Paw, moving sale at Of Swallows

It’s a good weekend to be in Toronto, as two of our best local bookshops have great stuff in store. In the always eclectic and unusual front window of The Monkey’s Paw on Dundas West, three original issues of General Idea’s FILE Megazine are prominently displayed. All three are from the art periodical’s early 1980s incarnation, which saw the masthead’s redesign after Time-Life sued the artists for copyright infringement in their parody of the iconic red rectangle. In its place is the layout you see here, which accurately represents the surprisingly beautiful design of the interior. The issue pictured above is priced at $100, which a cursory internet search reveals to be a third less than most other available issues out there.

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