“Chronicles of a Disappearance” and Annie MacDonell reviewed in esse

by | May 17, 2012 | Reviews, Writing | 0 comments

The newest issue of esse magazine, themed around “Living Things” and complete with a cover image by Montreal sculptor ValĂ©rie Blass, is on newsstands now. Not only is it beautifully designed (as always), but it includes some fascinating takes on the work of Blass, Thomas Hirschhorn and Theaster Gates (whose work was new to me).


And there are also, tucked in among the reviews, my takes on two recent exhibitions in Montreal and Toronto: DHC/ART’s group exhibition, “Chronicles of a Disappearance,” curated by John Zeppetelli; and Annie MacDonell’s recent solo show at Mercer Union, “Originality and the Avant Garde (On Art and Repetition).” I visited the DHC exhibition on a freezing, snowy day in Montreal and it left me feeling both psychically and physically chilled. Having already been impressed by Zeppetelli’s ability to conjure up an all-encompassing mood with his 2008 “Re-enactments” exhibition, it was nice to see him create an even moodier ambiance with this show, which tackled a wide array of depictions of contemporary violence while still giving the viewer enough room and space to make personal connections between and with the works.

Annie MacDonell’s solo show was one I revisited frequently, trying to unpack all of the different permutations of mirroring and re-presentation that her installation offered up. It was the first in what will be a three-part series of exhibitions by MacDonell, with the second part, “The Fortune Teller,” a co-production between the AGO and the Images Festival, on view now at the AGO’s Toronto Now gallery. The second iteration, which depicts the restoration of a hand from an automated fortune teller, is quietly beautiful and tightly focused (I think I might like it even more than the Mercer Union show). I’m looking forward to seeing how MacDonell will bring it all together in the last installment in the series.