Friday, March 25, 2011

Images Festival Preview up at the Post

The Images Festival rolls out its 24th edition next Thursday, March 31. I'll admit that some part of me is still confused about the focus of this festival, given that it shows art, film and live performance, but on the flipside the programming can provide a lot to surprise one. I have a few picks for the Fest up now at Posted Toronto, to be published in print in tomorrow's National Post Toronto section. An excerpt:

Gallery greats
A lot of big international art names are doing gallery exhibitions for Images this year. Already opened at Prefix are three videos and an installation by renowned Lebanese artist Rabih MrouĆ©, who questions the power (and weakness) of images in representing history, politics, families and even individuals. Originally trained in theatre and a recent recipient of the Spalding Gray Award, MrouĆ© is an expert at playing the shifty and unreliable narrator — reflecting the unreliability, perhaps, of all art and all media. Thought-provoking stuff. Starting April 2, Gallery TPW borrows a work from the Tate Modern in London: much-buzzed U.K. artist Lindsay Seers’ Extramission 6, a semi-autobiographical work about a girl who grew up thinking she was a camera. Biennale babes are bound to gather at Mercer Union as of this weekend; it’s where Swiss art star Roman Signer is showing outtakes of his slapstick-esque films. (They’ll also want to check Venice must-know Chen Chieh-jen of Taiwan, showing at A Space as of April 2.) Local heroes (or semi-heroes) are on tap, too: Toronto-born, London-based smartie Melanie Gilligan shows a recent work, Self-Capital, at Interaccess from April 1 while ever-wry west-ender Jon Sasaki riffs on the Group of Seven at the AGO starting April 6.

Read on at Posted Toronto for my picks for screenings and live performance. Though it's always hard to know how performances will pan out, I can say this for certain from looking at some preview screeners this week: James MacSwain's short animated film from 1998, Nova Scotia Tourist Industries, is one of the funniest things I have seen in an art context for some time.

Also, looking at MacSwain's work, I had a real proto-Daniel Barrow experience. Though I generally prefer Barrow's work to MacSwain's, the quality of the voiceover and the wackiness of the animation, and the fact that MacSwain was working first, gave me this feeling.

(Still from James MacSwain's Nova Scotia Tourist Industries from the Images Festival)

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