At the AGO Toronto – Summer 2019 : “Brian Jungen Friendship Centre” and More

No doubt, there is plenty to see at The Art Gallery of Ontario this summer! I was invited for a look around last week and took a bunch of photos to share with you here. However, of course, with art, pictures just don’t do justice, so, hopefully you’ll have a chance to go and see it in person if/when you’re in Toronto. It’s a perfect opportunity to partake in their new admission fee, where those 25 and under always get in free, and others pay $35 once a year for unlimited visits.

I’ll just dive right in, beginning with photos of the solo exhibition, “Friendship Centre” by Brian Jungen.

Brian Jungen is an artist of Dane-Zaa and Swiss ancestry living and working in the North Okanagan of British Columbia. Working in a diverse range of two and three dimensional materials “Jungen is widely regarded as a leading member of a new generation of Vancouver artists”. [Wikipedia]

There are many words that can be used to describe his artwork but the first one that comes to mind is “fun”. I saw a group of children about 8 years old coming in as I was leaving, and would say that they definitely agreed. They clearly adored it.

You just can’t help but smile upon entering the large main space, which is an artwork itself — a full-size replica of a basketball court which Brian Jungen created especially for this show. The sports-theme is extended by the inclusion of benches, lockers and gym mats.

Then, there are his sculptures which are impressively made from sneakers (Nike Air Jordans to be precise), gym bags, and leather gloves. A full-size whale skeleton made from plastic lawn furniture is a sight to behold.

↑ Made from Nike Air Jordan sneakers. ↑

↑ Made from plastic lawn furniture. ↑

↑ Made from baseball mitts. ↑

↑ Made from leather women’s gloves, on the left, and from the leather skins of baseballs that his dog Ed had chewed, on the right. ↑

↑ There’s a little theatre set up with five screens, showing a film Brian Jungen made of him and his family moose hunting in northern British Columbia. (It’s eight hours long in total, so they’ve divided it amoungst five screens.) ↑

↑ Made from ropes of LED lights, deerskin rawhide and braided sinew. ↑

“Friendship Centre” by Brian Jungen will be on display at The AGO until August 25th, 2019.

↑ In a different area of the gallery, Walker Court, there’s a huge tipi that Brian Jungen made from 11 leather sofas, called “Furniture Sculpture – 2006”. The “spines” are the wood from the sofa frames. This is only the second time it has been displayed because it requires a very high ceiling. It will be there until July 28th.

I also had another look at the remarkable artworks of Vija Celmins, in the solo exhibition “To Fix the Image in Memory”. It runs until August 5th.

As I previously wrote about this excellent mind-bending show in this post, I’ll just pop a few new photos in here …

↑ This display-case contained several pairs of identical stones. And, since no two stones can look exactly the same in nature, one is real and the other was meticulously copied by the artist. ↑

From there I dropped in to see an exhibition of photography, called “Women in Focus“. It’s a show of early photographs taken in the 1920s to the 1940s, which feature women either as the subject or as the photographer.

It was set up at the beginning of May, in partnership with the Contact Photography Festival, and will hang until November 10th.

In a small room adjacent to the one with the photographs, I came upon a nice surprise. Well, actually two surprises — a drawing by one of my favourite artists Fernand Léger, that I didn’t know the gallery had, and a repeating loop of an early film, something he made with Man Ray back in 1923, called “Ballet Mécanique“. This show will also run until November 10th.

It took me a couple of hours to explore these four exhibits, which make up only a fraction of all there is to see at The AGO. There really is something for everyone in this big beautiful building, that’s chock-full of wonderful art!

Thank you for reading. xo loulou