Internationally celebrated artists Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller make their highly anticipated return to Toronto this spring with Lost in the Memory Palace, a selection of seven installations incorporating complex soundtracks, videos, objects and images that have never before been shown together in Canada. The exhibition, opened on April 6, 2013, and running to Aug. 18, 2013, includes the debut of a new as-yet-untitled work specially created by the duo for the AGO
, as yet untitled.
Co-curated by Kitty Scott, the AGOs new curator of modern and contemporary art, and Bruce Grenville, senior curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the exhibition takes its name from an ancient memorization tool that associates ideas with specific physical locations. According to the memory palace method, a person can walk through these locations in the mind to recollect facts and memories.
Filling level four of the AGOs David and Vivian Campbell Centre for Contemporary Art, the exhibition is arranged like a traditional house with rooms opening up into other rooms. Visitors are invited to roam through the spaces, each one a new environment featuring a distinct work. Included in the exhibition are early works Dark Pool (1995) and The Muriel Lake Incident (1999), as well as more recent works Opera for a Small Room (2005) and the thundering Storm Room (2009).
When you enter these spaces and are confronted by soundtracks, images, moving images and objects, you understand the physical environments to be works of art themselves. As you engage with the artworks, you become a true participant, said Scott. As a result, these installations are deeply moving.
An accompanying iPad app, featuring exhibition content and essays co-published by the AGO and the Vancouver Art Gallery, will be available for purchase from iTunes and released concurrently with the exhibition.
"It's fitting that this immersive and experimental publication has been conceived and developed for an exhibition, said Bruce Grenville, senior curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery. These two great artists have done so much to bring true interdisciplinarity and multi-modal production to contemporary art today."
Toronto is the first stop on the exhibitions tour; after closing at the AGO it will travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego in September 2013 before opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery in June 2014.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the AGO installed Janet Cardiffs celebrated soundscape Forty-Part Motet (2001) in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre. Featuring 40 mounted loud speakers that define a round space, each speaker emits a separately recorded voice singing Thomas Talliss 1573 choral composition Spem in Alium.