September 30 - November 27, 2021
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
People must mourn, yet this human need has been challenged by the pandemic where thousands around the globe have not been able to accompany their sick relatives and friends during the last few days of their lives. Our rituals, funerals, vigils, ceremonies, and congregations have had to change in order to prevent further spread of the disease. The uncertainty of death has become as real and as palpable as the uncertainty of living, and those most vulnerable in our society have paid the heftiest price during this global tragedy. However, deprived of the ability to mourn has led to alternate modes of expression and human interaction. Many have adapted to new possibilities and perspectives, all of which include our process of mourning. The artists Paolo Almario, Laura Barrón, Claudia Chagoya, and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer offer new insights into this human quest and position the task as an all-encompassing and collective endeavor. Their work speaks to a generation of people who have had to overcome uncertainty and unpredictability, where memory serves as a powerful tool to re-conceptualize a different outcome.
The artists in the exhibition Reimagining Mourning construct narratives that discuss the despair faced by loss while also offering humanity a place for closure. No one can ever prepare for death or loss, but these artists allow a space for its representation, they display the fragility of life and the humanity we all share. Almario, Barrón, Chagoya, and Lozano-Hemmer capture an experiential and transcendental place, and they suggest a new terrain for its absent subject, no longer confined to isolation. Perhaps the ability of artists to provide spaces of revisiting, regenerating, and reimagining sites of remembrance and commemoration – one that we all long for and need – will lead us to acknowledge the horrors of our past and present and seek to live a more just and balanced future.
Curated by Tamara Toledo
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
PAOLO ALMARIO is a Colombian artist based in Saguenay, Quebec. In 2014, he completed a Master's degree in Arts from the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi (UQAC). His work has been supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the Canada Council for the Arts. In 2018, he received the CALQ Award - Creator of the Year in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean. Almario’s work has been exhibited in Canada, Colombia, Italy, Belgium and France. Within his practice, Paolo Almario uses digital technologies to collect, analyze, codify, process and transform samples of reality into a plurality of artistic forms. By prioritizing installation, software art, and electromechanical art, he explores the relationship between the individual and structures of power, exploring notions of identity, space-time and socio-politics.
LAURA BARRÓN is a photo- and video-based artist, and arts educator. She holds an MFA in Visual Arts from York University and a BFA from the National School of Plastic Arts (ENAP-UNAM) in Mexico. Since 1996, her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She has taught photography in several institutions, including the University of Morelos (UAEM) in Mexico as well as York University and OCAD University in Toronto. Barrón’s work belongs to several public and private collections and has been awarded and extensively supported by FONCA- CONACULTA Mexico, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Barrón explores the meanings of landscape within her practice. Through the examination of territory, geography and cartography she seeks to create relationships between memory, place and presence.
CLAUDIA CHAGOYA is a Mexican Calgary-based interdisciplinary emerging artist born in Zacatecas, Mexico, and based in Calgary, Canada. She holds an MFA degree from the University of Calgary, and a BFA from Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Her artistic practice explores topics related to gender violence and its socio-political context. Chagoya explores these themes through the use of various materials within her installations, all of which are rooted in Mexican culture and are tied to various traditional rituals. Chagoya has been an artist in Residence at the Royal College of Art in London, UK, the Women’s Centre of Calgary, and at Calgary Allied Arts Foundation at cSPACE King Edward. She has also exhibited her work in both solo and group exhibitions in Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom.
RAFAEL LOZANO-HEMMER is a Mexican-born Montreal-based media artist working at the intersection of architecture and performance art. He creates platforms for public participation using technologies such as robotic lights, digital fountains, computerized surveillance, media walls, and telematic networks. He was the first artist to represent Mexico at the Venice Biennale with an exhibition at Palazzo Van Axel in 2007. He has also shown at Biennials in Cuenca, Havana, Istanbul, Kochi, Liverpool, Melbourne NGV, Moscow, New Orleans, New York ICP, Seoul, Seville, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, and Wuzhen. His public art has been commissioned for the Millennium Celebrations in Mexico City (1999), the Expansion of the European Union in Dublin (2004), the Student Massacre Memorial in Tlatelolco (2008), the Vancouver Olympics (2010), the pre-opening exhibition of the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi (2015), and the activation of the Raurica Roman Theatre in Basel (2018). Collections holding his work include MoMA and Guggenheim in New York, TATE in London, MAC and MBAM in Montreal, Jumex, and MUAC in Mexico City, DAROS in Zurich, MONA in Hobart, 21C Museum in Kanazawa, Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul, CIFO in Miami, MAG in Manchester, SFMOMA in San Francisco, ZKM in Karlsruhe, SAM in Singapore, among many others.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
TAMARA TOLEDO is a Chilean-born Toronto-based curator, scholar, and artist, graduate of OCAD University and holds an MFA from York University. Toledo is co-founder of the Allende Arts Festival and of Latin American Canadian Art Projects - LACAP. For over a decade, Toledo has curated numerous exhibitions offering spaces, platforms and opportunities to Latin American and diasporic artists. She designed and curated the Latin American Speakers Series inviting internationally renowned contemporary artists, writers, theorists, and curators to Toronto such as Gerardo Mosquera, Luis Camnitzer, and Tania Bruguera, among many others to articulate and discuss issues of identity and intercultural dynamics in contemporary art. Toledo has presented her work at various conferences in Montreal, Chicago, New York, Vancouver and Toronto. Her writing has appeared in ARM Journal, C Magazine, Fuse and Canadian Art. Her practice often follows an interdisciplinary approach and touches on notions of memory, identity, diasporas, issues of power and representation, trauma, and international artistic-cultural interaction. Toledo is currently the Curator of Sur Gallery and is a PhD candidate in Art History and Visual Culture at York University.
Latin American Speaker Series with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Recording coming soon!
Online Artist Talk with Laura Barrón and Claudia Chagoya:
View recording at surgalleryvirtual.ca
Studio Critique: Paolo Almario with Gerardo Mosquera:
View recording at surgalleryvirtual.ca
Curator Tour with Tamara Toledo
Watch the recording here
For more information about the exhibition please visit Sur Gallery Virtual
Sur Gallery Exhibition: 39 Queens Quay East, Suite 100