Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes
June 20, 2018 to January 27, 2019
Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes, curated by Jenn Goodwin, investigates the landscape in which contemporary dance is created, presented and received. Thunderstruck examines and questions the power that an exhibition bestows on its objects through collection, display and archival activities. It also considers the traces left behind in any physical or performance practice. In the process, this exhibition poses the question: is dance truly ephemeral, or does it stay with us long after a performance has ended?
This group exhibition is composed of works of art, film-based works, installations and dance related materials from the following artists: Shary Boyle, Francesca Chudnoff, Ella Cooper, Mario Côté, Aganetha Dyck, Brendan Fernandes, Angela Miracle Gladue, Deepti Gupta, La calq, Michelle Latimer, Brandy Leary, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Zab Maboungou, Lola MacLaughlin, Freya Björg Olafson , Omar Rivero, aka Driftnote, Tedd Robinson, Brian Solomon, Laura Taler, Rosanna Terracciano and Anne Troake.
Melting, Mourning and a Series of Impossible Tasks performed as part of the exhibition opening
Watch the performance highlights of Melting, Mourning and a Series of Impossible Tasks, a choreographic work by Brandy Leary, performed on and with local soil by Ontario artist Ess Hoedlmoser at Âjagemô on June 20. The marks left by this performance were preserved and we invite you to come see them during the exhibition.
Dance in Canada today is politically, critically and artistically vibrant. Through a choreographic lens, artists, curators, and scholars propose unique perspectives and exchanges which continue to expand the landscape of dance.
Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes presents the landscapes and layers of multiple dance communities, art practices and dancers from across Canada. It is a look at bodies, movements and dances within landscapes, as well as the body and dance as landscape. It also investigates the landscape in which dance is created, presented and received.
The exhibition title is twofold. In the literal sense, to be thunderstruck is to be struck by a major short-lived sonic explosion. Thunder is sound accompanied by lightning—like dance it is seemingly ephemeral and can have an immense impact. In the colloquial sense, to be thunderstruck is to be astonished, surprised and speechless. This exhibition presents the spirit of both meanings with a deep respect and passion for dance and its practitioners.
Thunderstruck—Behind the Scenes
Now that the exhibition has been up for a while, and having had some time to reflect, I find myself thinking about all that went on behind the scenes that made the show possible. Because Thunderstruck’s focus is on dance, and because my background is in dance, I like to think of “behind the scenes” as a “back stage” of sorts. I have always been fascinated by what happens behind the curtain, and have used this interest as a lens in my own dance and film practice. Every exhibition, show, dance (and even every day) has its own untold details and stories. Aspects that are private, hidden, unknown, edited. For Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes, I want to share a few stories that might otherwise only be known by the few of us who worked closely on the exhibition. Little in-between movements and moments that struck me.
About the curator
Jenn Goodwin is a dance artist, curator, producer, and filmmaker. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies program at the University of Toronto, and prior to that she received a BFA from Concordia University in contemporary dance with a minor in video. Over the last 20 years, her dance work and short films have been shown across Canada and internationally. Goodwin is one half of the art band MORTIFIED (along with Camilla Singh), a band that uses choreography, drum kits, tap dancing, and cheerleading as its instruments. Goodwin has worked as Programmer/Artistic Producer of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche since its inception in 2006, and has curated performances and exhibitions for SummerWorks Festival, The Drake Hotel, and Harbourfront Centre. She has written for the Journal for Curatorial Studies, the Canadian Theatre Review and The Dance Current. She lives in Toronto with her husband and their two sons.
The curator would like to thank Sioned Watkins, Amy Bowring and Dance Collections Danse, Jeanne Holmes, Justine Chambers, Neville Quinlan, Barbara Fischer, Vivine Scarlett, DTRC, and all the artists in the exhibition.
The Widow, 2013
Canada Council Art Bank
In The Widow, a female Atlas-like character holds what can be interpreted as the planet earth on her back: a responsibility so great and yet so tender. The drawing explores the balance between strength and fragility of the human body and the world it inhabits.
Shary Boyle works across diverse media, including ceramics, sculpture, painting, installation, performance and drawing. She maintains a dual practice alternating between her studio and collaborative touring of projection and performance projects. Her work can be found in several public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Gardiner Ceramic Museum. She represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 2013.
Close Knit, 1976
Shrunken wool sweaters
Canada Council Art Bank
Aganetha Dyck’s Close Knit acts as vertebrae or spine for this exhibition. The installation of shrunken wool sweaters explores the art of felt making: the human body using heat, pressure and sweat to transform wool. This process is, in a way, like a dance as it uses choreographic aspects such as repetition, formation, texture, and the interplay between the presence and absence of the body. It also suggests a togetherness, not dissimilar to that of dancers and dance communities all over Canada.
Aganetha Dyck is an artist who is well known for her transformation of commonplace objects such as shoes, buttons and figurines into things which are simultaneously metaphysical, delicate and sometimes humorous. Dyck won the Governor General’s Award in Visual Arts and Media Arts in 2007 and the Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction in 2007. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across Canada and in England, France and the Netherlands.
When You Are On the Dance Floor, What Song Makes You Feel Free?, 2018
Offset paper poster
Collection of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago
Brendan Fernandes works with the dance floor as a landscape and as a site of agency, occupancy, resistance, expression, freedom, and vulnerability. He also understands the dance floor “as a queer space that is variously safe and unsafe—a site for joy and fear, release and reflection.” For this work, the audience participates by identifying a song using the hashtag #DanceFree, creating a virtual playlist and turning the environment into a dance floor.
Brendan Fernandes is a Canadian artist of Kenyan and Indian descent who creates installations, images and performance at the intersection of dance and visual art. He completed the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum (2007), earned his MFA from the University of Western Ontario (2005) and his BFA from York University (2002). Fernandes has exhibited widely, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Musée d'art contemporain (Montreal) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).
Provincial Essays, 2007
Number: 324.2013-P-1A to E
Dance Collection Danse
These stick bundles, gathered by artist Lola MacLaughlin in her annual backyard tree pruning, were used in one of her signature dance works, Provincial Essays. A collection of choreographic landscapes for five dancers, Provincial Essays looked at modern society’s relationship with the natural world, its dominance and commodification of nature contrasted with nature’s great power and beauty.
Lola MacLaughlin was born in British Columbia and graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in dance. In 1982, MacLaughlin co-founded the Vancouver collective EDAM (Experimental Dance and Music) with Peter Bingham, Barbara Bourget, Ahmed Hassan, Jay Hirabayashi, Jennifer Mascall and Peter Ryan. She left EDAM in 1989 to found her own company, Lola Dance. During her career, MacLaughlin received the Clifford E. Lee Award, the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize and an Isadora Award. MacLaughlin died of cancer in 2009.
Angela Miracle Gladue
Fancy Shawl, regalia, 2009
Designed by Gladue and Echo John
Black and burgundy butterfly and floral Chinese brocade, various colourful textiles/ appliqué, various thread, ribbon
Collection of the artist
The fancy shawl dance is a contemporary women’s powwow dance style that originated in the late 19th century in the Great Plains of Oklahoma. As Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show became a popular tourist attraction, the traditional Indigenous men dancers within the Ponca community of Oklahoma created the fancy feather bustle dance to entertain spectators. Women followed suit and dressed in the men's fancy regalia to perform these dances. Later, the women dancers created what is now known as the fancy shawl dance by taking their traditional shawls, wrapping them over their shoulders and performing a dance that incorporated fast footwork, spins, kicks and graceful shawl movements. These women dancers’ communities initially resisted this new form of dance as it involved a break with the women’s connection to the earth; however, the dance was later embraced for its potential to bring a stronger balance between men and women in dance circles. The fancy shawl dance is now one of the most respected and popular dances at powwow circles across Turtle Island—an Indigenous conception for North America.
A L G I A, 2017
Video, 5:44 min.
Collection of the artist
A L G I A is a visual and kinetic representation of memory. Artist Francesca Chudnoff has sewn personal history into the suit she wears in this video with multiple layers of material that add weight and anomalous forms meant to conceal her body while also amplifying her size. The piece poses several questions: What does it mean to be seen? What do we choose to withhold? And what realities do we fabricate in order to hide?
Francesca Chudnoff is a Toronto-based, multidisciplinary artist. She has trained and worked professionally as a dancer with companies such as Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Alias Dance Project, and The Dietrich Group. Her skills in film, photography, collage, sculpture, and makeup have intersected with her dance practice and she’s worked with a breadth of artists across Canada.
Nimmikaage: She Dances for People, 2015
Video, 3:47 min.
Collection of the artist
A requiem to honour Canada's First Nations, Métis and Inuit women, this short film deconstructs Canadian nationalism. It places the enduring strength and resilience of Indigenous women at the forefront to shift the balance of power and reclaim the Canadian narrative for these women. Part of the Souvenir series, Nimmikaage: She Dances for People is one of four films by First Nations filmmakers that remix archival footage to address Indigenous identity and representation and reframe Canadian history without a colonial lens.
Independent filmmaker Michelle Latimer is the founder of the independent production company Streel Films. Most recently, Latimer was the showrunner, writer and director of the breakout Indigenous resistance series RISE (Viceland), which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and went on to screen internationally before being nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Streel Films-produced work has screened at film festivals internationally, including Sundance, the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Rotterdam, ImagineNATIVE, Aspen Shorts, Oberhausen and Cannes. Latimer’s work has also been acquired by the National Gallery of Canada.