Shizuka Yokomizo, Stranger No. 18, 2000|
Andrew Dadson, Roof Gap, 2005
The exhibition Pardon Me features the work of artists
who actively intervene, through a variety of performative strategies, into the
everyday lives and activities of others. In these works, the boundaries between
private and public, distance and proximity are collapsed. While several of the
works are made in collaboration with their subjects, others proceed through
a more furtive and clandestine approach.
Spanish artist Jana Leo creates moments of intimacy with strangers.
In her Love Letters Project, she paired people she met on the street
with writers who were stationed in her studio; the writers composed letters
for the strangers to their loved ones, expressing things they were unable to
express on their own.
Breaking the conventions of neutrality between anonymous strangers is at the
heart of London-based Shizuka Yokomizo’s photographic
works. In her Strangers series, Yokomizo left a letter for residents
in ground floor apartments asking if she could photograph them through their
window. If they agreed, they were to pose in any way they chose at the time
indicated in the letter. No other communication took place between the photographer
and the resident.
In their ongoing Decor Project, Vancouver artists Hadley
+ Maxwell collaborate with members of the arts community, such as a
curator or gallery Board member, performing a temporary redecoration or installation
in their subject’s home based on information they have been provided.
Andrew Dadson’s interventions, likewise residentially-based,
are performed without the prior knowledge of the occupant. For his projection
Roof Gap, Dadson jumped from roof to roof, while in another work, Neighbour’s
Trailer, he moved a trailer an imperceptible distance each day until it
was no longer parked in front of the owner’s house.
British artist Mathew Sawyer engages in subterfuge activities
such as putting notes with song lyrics into the pockets of strangers, or removing
letters from apartment mail boxes, adding a postscript to the contents, resealing
and returning them.
Whether tidying the belongings of sunbathers gone for a swim or washing art gallery
windows in Milan, Clément de Gaulejac commits sly transgressions
dissembled as honest services. He then recounts his interventions, called Crimes
of Good, in narrative form, employing drawings, posters, sculpture and performance
for the exhibition Pardon Me.
Vancouver artist Ron Tran likewise explores public space but
makes a direct connection, however fleeting, with strangers. In his video Eating
with Strangers, Tran mimics fellow fast-food diners until they notice his
actions, while Walking Strangers Home documents a project in which
he approached strangers at night offering to walk them to their destination.
Pardon Me is the last of a series of exhibitions
originated for the Liane and Danny Taran Gallery by visiting Curator in Residence
Cate Rimmer. Collectively titled The Banal,
each exhibition examines, from a different vantage, representations and modifications
to the mundane within contemporary art practice. The previous exhibitions were
Weather (2004) and Think Big
(2002). A catalogue is forthcoming.