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The Polygon Gallery presents Interior Infinite, a celebration of radical togetherness and unique self-expression
Yinka Shonibare CBE, video still from Un Ballo In Maschera, 2004, HD digital video, colour, sound, 32 min. Courtesy the artist and James Cohan Gallery, New York.

VANCOUVER.- The Polygon Gallery presents Interior Infinite, on view from June 25 to September 5, 2021. Marking the first feature exhibition curated by The Polygon’s Curator Justin Ramsey, the group show explores carnivalesque expression as an act of resistance against the status quo. Interior Infinite features a group of 15 international artists whose works span photography, video, performance, and sculpture, including Nick Cave, Dana Claxton, Zanele Muholi, Aïda Muluneh, Skeena Reece, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Sin Wai Kin, Carrie Mae Weems, and Zadie Xa.

“Whether through social media feeds or identity politics, we are constantly told that the ‘self’ is a true, immutable thing — this is a vast oversimplification,” says Ramsey. “Every single person is a work in progress, with the potential and the courage to change and be changed. Interior Infinite speaks to the capacity for an individual to break free of normative limitations that are defined by a white supremacist, male chauvinistic, heteronormative lens. The exhibition draws attention to the fact that these so-called norms are far from the lived experiences of many people, and that ‘the way things are’ can change with social imagination. We have collectively imagined our present injustices into being; we can just as easily imagine a better, fairer, more inclusive way forward.”

Interior Infinite takes its title from Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin’s Rabelais and His World, which analyzed the power of folk traditions such as Carnival and the grotesque as methods of subversion through humour and chaos. These expressions tap into the full depth and dynamism of an individual, and serve as acts of resistance to erasure and refusal to be contained. Ramsey weaves together folk traditions with contemporary notions of play, costume, and performance to reveal the dynamic, subversive, and endless ways individuals express race, gender, and identity.

The exhibition features:

• A new sculpture by 2020 Phillip B. Lind Emerging Artist Prize runner up Lacie Burning (b. 1992, Brampton, ON) in the Reflection Series, depicting a cloaked figure wearing a mask made of mosaicked mirror fragments

• A series of self-portraits by French surrealist photographer Claude Cahun (b. 1894, Nantes, France), whose practice exploring gender and sexual identity was ahead of its time

• An original sound piece consisting of birdsong cut into Morse code, as an expansion of Charles Campbell’s (b. 1970, Jamaica) Actor Boy performance series

• A soundsuit and video from acclaimed sculptor, dancer, and performance artist Nick Cave (b. 1959, Fulton, Missouri)

• A portrait by 2020 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts recipient Dana Claxton (b. 1959, Yorkton, SK), featuring the artist wearing her collection of handmade leather handbags created by Indigenous artisans

• A selection of photographs from Martine Gutierrez’s (b. 1989, Berkeley, California) self-made satirical fashion magazine Indigenous Woman

• An installation centred on the obscure, feminist Greek goddess Baubo by contemporary artist Kris Lemsalu (b. 1985, Tallin, Estonia)

• A large-scale moving image work by multimedia artist Ursula Mayer (b. 1970, Ried im Innkreis, Austria) that explores embodiment and materiality through a digital avatar

• Avant-garde self-portraits by New Generations Photography Award winner Meryl McMaster (b. 1988, Ottawa, ON) that visualise personal history and hybrid identities

• Photographic murals by Zanele Muholi (b. 1972, Umlazi, South Africa) that investigate her identity as a queer, Black, female South African artist

• Imaginative, speculative images by Aïda Muluneh (b. 1974, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), a leading African photographer featured in the Nobel Peace Prize exhibition in 2020

• Early documentary photographs by Zak Ové (b. 1966, London, United Kingdom), a multidisciplinary artist based in the UK and Trinidad

• A new commissioned series by Skeena Reece (b. 1974, Prince Rupert, BC) that merges performance, photography, and sculpture in a reflection on contemporary Indigeneity

• Yinka Shonibare’s (b. 1962, London, United Kingdom) film Un Ballo in Maschera (2004), featuring silent choreographed performances that speak to representation and mis-representation

• A theatrical two-channel video installation by London-based Canadian drag performance artist Sin Wai Kin (b. 1991, Toronto, ON)

• A triptych of self-portraits by trailblazing American artist Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953, Portland, Oregon), the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum

• A film that draws from and reimagines the ancient shamanic traditions of Korea by London-based, North Shore-born artist Zadie Xa (b. 1983, Vancouver, BC)

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