Three new exhibitions launch the summer season at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery

The Power Plant presents three solo exhibitions by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes, Portuguese artist Vasco Araújo and Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari, including new work commissioned by the gallery and work premiering for the very first time in Canada. In compelling ways, these projects explore the relationship between ourselves and the larger sociopolitical arena.

The exhibitions open with a free party for all on Friday, June 27, 2014 from 8:00pm to 11:00pm, where a cash bar will be available all evening. The entire summer season is made possible by a very generous donation from the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

Pedro Reyes: Sanatorium

Making its Canadian premiere at The Power Plant, Sanatorium is an artwork by Mexican artist Pedro Reyes. It is a transient clinic that provides visitors with brief, unexpected therapy sessions in an effort to cure ills associated with urban living. First presented by the Guggenheim in New York in 2011, Sanatorium has since travelled to venues including the Whitechapel Gallery in London (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel (2012). For its iteration at The Power Plant, Reyes offers a new therapy entitled The Extraction of the Cop in the Head, an exercise devised to curb self-censorship in the face of oppressive situations. The procedures for each session are always prepared by Reyes and carried out by volunteer participants who are trained by the artist. It is through this involvement of non-professionals that Reyes challenges the notion of hierarchy, in the process transforming the gallery into a site for democratized psychological processes. This exhibition is curated by Gaëtane Verna. Pedro Reyes will talk about his work and his practice on June 25, 2014 at 7:30pm.

Vasco Araújo: Under the Influence of Psyche

This exhibition of new and recent work by Portuguese artist Vasco Araújo explores the artist’s ongoing interest in the human condition. Working across media, Araújo draws upon Western traditions in opera, dance, theatre and literature in order to introduce divergent readings on such cultural histories. In so doing, Araújo wrests and confronts these historical references in order to question both contemporary notions of representation and the writing and canonization of history. He offers instead a body of work that suggests that history, rather than closed or finished narrative, has the ability to be renewed and reread. The exhibition is comprised of six works including the Canadian premiere of Araújo’s newest video Retrato (2014), a special commission by The Power Plant that appropriates portraits by 20th-century painter and writer Eduardo Malta. This exhibition is curated by Julia Paoli.

Akram Zaatari: The End of Time

Akram Zaatari examines how individual experiences are deeply intertwined with specific cultural and political histories. A founding member of the Arab Image Foundation, Zaatari has worked to collect more than 600,000 photographs from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora. He then recontextualizes these archival documents in order to propose new scripts for how we catalogue both individual experience and communicate specific cultural and political histories. For his exhibition at The Power Plant, Zaatari explores questions of memory, time and radical preservation through his installation Time Capsule Simulation (2013) and his video The End of Time (2013), an allegory of the birth and disappearance of desire, enacted by three men caught in a successive cycle of beginnings and endings. Together, the works highlight human connection to preservation: of life, love and desire. This exhibition is curated by Valerie Velardo.

The exhibitions continue through September 1, 2014.

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