Untitled Contemporary Art: +15 Window
A Few Similar Things
Vuk Dragojevic + Liza Eurich
Curated by Natasha Chaykowski + Alison Cooley
Exhibition dates: February 6 – March 25, 2017
Closing reception: March 16, 2017
She once suggested to a respected, successful, and generous curator that a particular artwork be included in an exhibition alongside another. The curator dismissed the suggestion without pause: “those works are too similar, it’s too obvious” said the curator.
A Few Similar Things presents what its title suggests; it comprises four pairings of similar works, made autonomously by different artists. Mounted in vitrine spaces throughout the Arts Commons +15 pedway in Calgary, each installation is a coupling of works that in some way—aesthetically, conceptually, formally—are forthrightly alike.
Curating often prides itself on revealing the esoteric connectivity of artworks: the potential for juxtaposition to illuminate as-yet-unseen kinships, to tease out subtle thematic and formal tendencies or progressions, to build bonds between disparate objects. In this way, curatorial authority is engineered and maintained. A Few Similar Things plays critically with this impulse, questioning the relationship between power and curatorial methodologies.
In another vein, A Few Similar Things is situated in the context of a post-Internet ecology characterized by dizzying effluences of material—an environment that makes the avant-garde impulse of unique, novel creation appear impossible. How might artists faced with such a climate reckon with the act of creating? What can we understand from these similar works, made entirely independent from one another, each likely in complete ignorance of the other’s existence? How do art works become agents who operate outside of particular constraints of control, once unmoored from their artist's hand?
Rarely are we afforded the opportunity to look at similar images alongside each other. Instead, images are contextualized within an artist’s body of work, within a movement, a style, a regional artistic dialogue—their uniqueness highlighted in variation, rather than in their particularities. In A Few Similar Things, obvious pairings of like with like open poetic confluences between works, but also trace the rhythm of their small differences. In the space of the Arts Commons +15 vitrines, these pairings might become a kind of experiment: how do we reckon with sameness? Can the foundational impulses of curating be undone or de-familiarized by gestures of obvious combination? What might aesthetic closeness lend to us for understanding each other?
Vuk Dragojevic + Liza Eurich
Vuk Dragojevic’s short video, I,I,I,I (2013) portrays the unlikely division of a cinderblock into its constitutive parts which, when broken down into quarters, resemble the capital letter “I”. The heterogeneous parts reassemble and dismantle themselves in an infinite loop. Dragojevic’s gesture of material assembly is mirrored in Liza Eurich’s Apart from Coming Apart (2011 & 2017). Eurich’s work distills a single moment in the cycle of dismantling and rebuilding; her sculpture is two cinderblocks held together by the precarious and fragile addition of a thin connective strip of cement. Eurich’s sculpture points to a precarious union, liable to fall apart with the slightest physical provocation. Each of these works traverses a delicate balance between coming together and falling apart, and each despite their brawny material, speaks to the tenuousness of all things.
Vuk Dragojevic is a Serbian born interdisciplinary artist, photographer, and filmmaker based in Toronto. He holds a BFA from OCAD University and has shown work in festivals and exhibitions in Canada, Italy, England and France. His documentary practice focuses on artists and craftsmen who have chosen to work with their hands, in an increasingly digital and automated world. A recent project is Taxidermy is Goodbye, an Ontario Arts Council funded film about Manuel Jan, the owner of the last taxidermy shop in Toronto. Dragojevic’s installation work explores visual perception, metamorphosis, and the ways in which objects move in playful or unexpected ways. His floating installation Sinking of You, commissioned by In/Future festival was recently shown in the murky waters of Lake Ontario.
Liza Eurich completed her BFA from Emily Carr University in 2010 and her MFA from Western University in 2012. She co-publishes the online project Moire and recently completed international residencies at Acme Studios (London, UK), Glasgow Sculpture Studios (Glasgow, UK) and Banff (Banff, AB). Represented by MKG127 in Toronto, her work has been exhibited at G Gallery, Neutral Ground, Hamilton Artists Inc., Plug-In ICA, McIntosh Gallery, Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and the Power Plant.
A Few Similar Things is a collaboration between Untitled Art Society, TRUCK Contemporary Art, Stride Gallery and The New Gallery.
L: Vuk Dragojevic, I,I,I,I (2013)
R: Liza Eurich, Apart from Coming Apart (2011 & 2017)
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Visit Untitled Contemporary Art +15 Window:
Arts Commons (formerly EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts)
+ 15 Walkway
205 8th Avenue SE
Available for viewing during Arts Commons' regular building hours.
Admission is free and all are welcome.
About the +15 Window:
The +15 pedestrian network is a system of above-ground walkways connecting commercial and public buildings in Calgary's downtown core. A series of display windows in the +15 walkway in Arts Commons, located at 205 8 Avenue SE, are used as exhibition spaces by local arts organizations. The New Gallery, TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary, Stride Gallery, Alberta Printmakers, The Marion Nicoll Gallery, The University of Calgary Fine Arts Program, The Alberta Craft Coalition, and Untitled Art Society program these spaces throughout the year. +15 Window exhibitions are in place for a period of two months and are viewable during Arts Commons’ regular building hours.
These exhibition spaces are open to all emerging and pre-emerging artists with an emphasis on showcasing site-specific installations or small bodies of work. The Untitled Contemporary Art +15 Window promotes artistic excellence in emerging contemporary art and emphasizes the increased outreach opportunities of this highly visible space. Receptions are held in conjunction with other artist-run centres with drinks to follow at a local pub. Artist fees are paid for +15 Window exhibitions.