Curator, Private Viewing

Co-curated with Shaun Dacey, Sleepwalker Projects, Toronto, ON, May 4-25, 2007.

For our final exhibition, Sleepwalker Projects, commissioned by Alissa Firth-Eagland, hosted Private Viewing, a guest-curated group show. Co-curated by Shaun Dacey and Gabby Moser, Private Viewing called into question the window’s function and locality. After dark, storefronts are transformed into theatrically lit consumer narratives for people to push their noses up against, without risk of being seen. Mannequins, signage, multi-media display, and props both domestic and industrial, collide in a competition to gain our attention. The commercial strip along Queen St. West becomes a window shopper’s dream: a comfortable space from which to gaze. Strolling along the darkened streets, pedestrians have an excess of solitary space and time among shop windows, intensifying their fantasies.

The three artists selected from the open call for submissions address this interaction between passer-by and storefront façade, consumer and consumable. Like picking a scab, Su-Ying Lee’s systematic and repetitive removal of fur from a lambskin jacket explores the private obsessions that overtake us with every characterizing purchase we make. In response, Jennifer Cherniack’s hidden video projections subtly force the viewer to ponder the origins and practices of consumer production through a symbolic image of rural economy. Finally, Alice Wang’s performance plays on the misunderstandings, misconceptions, and confusion we feel when first encountering a store window, sales ploy, or glossy catalogue.

As a group these works explore the complexities of how commoditized lifestyles and fantasies are sold to us, and address the moment when viewer becomes participant, and pedestrian complicit in the window front narrative.