The Power Plant, Toronto

ON-M5J 2G8 Toronto

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The Power Plant's summer season engages text, language and performance as a way to consider the past in relation to contemporary art practices.

The Power Plant is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Brussels-based artist Jimmy Robert. Robert's practice typically explores the corporeal potential of a range of media including photography, drawing, film, video, sculpture, and performance. In his first Canadian solo exhibition, Robert addresses questions of limits: of his body, of the media he uses, of our understanding of exhibitions, and the various disciplines his work encompasses. At the centre of Draw the Line is a commissioned performance project that takes place within an installation of new and past work on 27 June at 7pm.

Robert's performance will draw from artist Carolee Schneemann's seminal performance Up To and Including Her Limits (1976). Schneeman's work speaks to a moment in art history when artists began rethinking the distinctions and limitations of artistic media by creating work that aimed to move drawing and painting off the page. Using chance movement to activate the objects in the gallery, Robert's live work will transform the exhibition from its initial installation. Following his performance, text and sculptural remnants will remain in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition to evoke the movement seen in Robert's live work.

Robert's performance coupled with its remaining ephemera will be accompanied by his sculptural installation Reprise (2010). The work references artist Jeff Wall's photograph A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) (1993), which captures four figures physically responding to a strong wind. The composition in Wall's work is a recreation of Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai's woodcut Ejiri in Suruga Province (Sunshū Ejiri) (1830–33). The theatricality in the movement of the figures in both works acts as a point of departure for Robert's Reprise. Here, he captures in large-scale photographs the movements of dancer Shiho Ishihara with gestures akin to those seen in Hokusai's and Wall's pieces. Depicting movement in both the dancer's body as well as in the installation of the photographs, Robert demonstrates the ability for objects to become performative. Together with his live work, Reprise offers new possibilities for movement and performativity to exist outside a live event.

Movement is evoked in every sense of Draw the Line: in the works we see, in the performing body and in the exhibition framework. Above all else, Draw the Line is an attempt to rethink the limitations of an exhibition, challenging viewer expectations as it unfolds and transforms over time.

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Jimmy Robert
Draw the Line

Julia Paoli