Carr-Harris’ A Boy’s Paper Crown, Ottawa, 1947, includes two reproductions of a paper crown worn by the artist as a young child. One, of an appropriate size, rests on a side table; the other, much larger, sits on the floor. On an adjacent wall the image of a woman’s face is caressed by a moving beam of light. Originally conceived for documenta 8 in 1987, for this exhibition its mechanical infrastructure has been redesigned and its colour stripped bare. Of this work and its long process of development the artist wonders, “Who has not nursed in their memory something that endures, a thing that has unconsciously guided us in our actions and our judgments?” Author Jonah Lehrer writes that memory cannot be separated from its moment of recollection. The more we engage in the act of remembering the more the ‘original’ fades. Like a memory, across decades this work continues to shift shape.
Upstairs, Carr-Harris presents Combray, the third work in his ongoing investigation into pop-up books—which again, like a memory—fold back onto themselves to become palpable only when opened. Here, alongside Proust we stand witness as he tries to apprehend the paradise lost of his childhood through the famous petite madeleine. Presented as a silver locket dwelling in the body of the book, it continues, like a magic key, to reveal the complex subject/object relations central to the artists’ practice.
Ian Carr-Harris was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1941. He has shown extensively in Canada, and internationally, including such exhibitions as the 8th Biennale of Sydney, Canadian Biennial of Contemporary Art, Documenta 8, and the XLI Biennale di Venezia. He has had solo exhibitions at Chelsea School of Art, London; The Power Plant, Toronto; Centre culturel Canadien, Paris; Centre d’art contemporain, Herblay, France; and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. His work has been included in exhibitions at Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation; Toronto; Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon; and Marburg Kunstverein, Marburg, Germany. His work is held in many public and private collections across North America and Europe.
Susan Hobbs Gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. The gallery is located at 137 Tecumseth Street, Toronto.
For more information about this exhibition or the Susan Hobbs Gallery, please give us a call at (416) 504.3699 or visit www.susanhobbs.com.