MOCA Toronto Shares Winter & Spring 2020 Exhibitions

The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto (MOCA) shared details of its exhibitions programme, which features new commissions by Carlos Bunga, Shelagh Keeley, and Megan Rooney.

An installation by Sarah Sze launches “The City Is a Collection,” a new exhibition series presenting major contemporary artworks from private art holdings within the Toronto community.

“We launch 2020 with four exceptional artists who are each transforming the space of the museum with strong physical statements. Committed to producing new artwork, we have commissioned Bunga, Rooney and Keeley to create entirely new interventions for the museum, that respond to the architecture and character of the building. These are artworks that will be formed and finalized in the space and we are all excited to see the outcomes in February,” said November Paynter, Artistic Director.

Carlos Bunga, Procession, 2020 ,MOCA Toronto, Courtesy the artist, Galeria Elba Benitez (Madrid) and Alexander and Bonin (New York). Photo Credit:Toni Hafkenscheid

A Sudden Beginning (2020), Carlos Bunga
 On view across two floors until May 10, 2020 (and through summer on entrance level). Curated by Adjunct Curator Rui Mateus Amaral

For his first exhibition in Canada, Bunga has
been invited to produce two site-specific
installations and a series of sculptural works for
MOCA. Inspired by the simplicity of the
Museum’s architecture and the rhythm of its
columns, the artist will simultaneously
underscore and challenge the building’s
physicality. His formidable installations and
nomadic sensibility will deepen his long-
standing inquiry into some of the most
poignant subjects of our time: stability, certainty, and permanence. Incorporated into the exhibition are several new sculptures made from locally sourced furniture including side tables, writing desks, gilded frames, and cabinets that are reworked into painterly cityscapes. Animating Bunga’s project further are short films of performative breakages — the smashing of a lamp and the bursting of a wall, for example — each of which express a rupture’s potential to be as much about a sudden beginning as it is the sign of an end

An Embodied Haptic Space (2020), Shelagh Keeley
February 5–May 10, 2020

Keeley’s MOCA exhibition combines a series of tarp
paintings from 1986, a large-scale film projection from
2016, and a new ephemeral wall drawing that she will
create on-site over the course of several weeks in January
2020. All three bodies of work are extensions of a
conceptual process in which the artist weaves together
the past, present, and future. The tarp paintings are
shown on the floor and wall, grounding decades of
 Keeley’s practice within the frame of a particular gallery
space. In her new wall drawing, Keeley interweaves photographic traces of the building pre-renovation, creating a poetic and gestural response to the history of the site.

Inviting us to bear witness to systems of production and hidden structures of power, her three-hour film essay Jardim do Ultramar / The Colonial Garden gradually reveals buried layers of history and colonial rule in Portugal. Keeley’s camera explores the buried social / political history of the garden bringing it forward to the present. The film is evidence of a past that will no longer lapse into silence and invisibility.

HUSH SKY MURMUR HOLE (2020), Megan Rooney

February 5–April 12, 2020

Rooney is a storyteller whose enigmatic work spans painting, performance, sculpture, and installation. Her ephemeral installations engage with themes of materiality and the human subject to explore the chaos of politics and the latent violence of our society, whether in the home, in female identity, or in the body.

For the artist’s first major solo exhibition in Canada,
Rooney will transform a floor of the Museum by
enveloping it in a large-scale mural, making use of all
original walls. This temporary, site-specific
environment will become home to sculptural characters and scenarios composed from ubiquitous household materials, found objects, stuffed fabric, and paint.

On March 27, 28, and 29, 2020, a three-chapter performance titled EVERYWHERE BEEN THERE, directed by Rooney and presented with collaborators Temitope Ajose-Cutting, Leah Marojevic, and Paolo Thorsen-Nagel, will further animate the stories Rooney’s work tells.

Images in Debris (2018), Sarah Sze February 5–May 10, 2020

Images in Debris is one in a series of monumental, immersive sculptures by Sze where light, movement, images, and architecture coalesce into a single, precarious equilibrium.

Simultaneously a sculptural installation and projection
tool, Images in Debris lends equal weight to images and
objects, exploring the edges between the two and
bringing both into dialogue with the surrounding
architecture. At its center is an L-shaped desk, inspired by the artist’s own studio desk, which, acting like a projector in a planetarium, casts images onto an intricate structure extending from the desktop and across the gallery walls.

The imagery itself — much of it shot on the artist’s iPhone — often points to its own materiality or to changes in material state. A forest burns; water spills or splashes — a reference to Harold Edgerton’s famous 1936 photograph Milk-Drop Coronet Splash and to the earlier experiments of Eadweard Muybridge and Étienne-Jules Marey. Video edits, meanwhile, draw attention to processes of decay or transformation, images succumbing to pixilation or becoming ghostly like digital “snow.” In tandem, altered states of consciousness are suggested by imagery that draws on such motifs as that of a sleeping child. Within the slow loop of the imagery — in which repetitions take days rather than hours — beginnings and endings are willfully suspended. Here, Sze applies to sculpture the filmic idea of the edit, where meaning occurs in the splice, and the viewer, moving through the space, supplies their own narrative arc.

Sarah Sze’s Images in Debris, 2018, is on loan from Audrey and David Mirvish. Additional thanks to Victoria Miro Gallery, London, and Sarah Sze Studio, New York