press release

The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is pleased to launch our 2011 season with two projects by internationally-acclaimed, Toronto-based artist Luis Jacob, and a special presentation ofGeoffrey Pugen's two-channel video, Sahara Sahara, taking place in our galleries from February 4 through March 27, 2011.

Luis Jacob | Pictures at an Exhibition is the second chapter in a multi-city, mid-career survey of his work and features a carefully chosen selection of early and recent work, including Album X, the latest in a series of narrative sequences consisting of hundreds of images culled from a variety of published sources mounted together to form an "image bank". In addition to small hard-edge and monochromatic paintings, the exhibition also includes a selection of large-scale canvases from the series They Sleep With One Eye Open, (2008). In each of these, two hallucinatory eyes emerge from a dazzling patterned background, like spectral faces from murky depths. Installed together they appear to watch visitors with an intense gaze, and suggest the possibility of an uncanny but living work of art endowed with animistic powers.

In conjunction with his exhibition in MOCCA's main space, Luis Jacob has been invited to curate an exhibition for the recently inaugurated National Gallery of Canada at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art program. For Cabinet (NGC Toronto) Jacob combines objects drawn from various collection areas of the National Gallery not ordinarily displayed together, extending the thematic notions of viewership, perception and the light of artistic inspiration embodied in Pictures at an Exhibition. This Cabinet, like others in the series that Jacob has curated for other venues, can be seen as a "model" or "performance" of a museum—a museum within a museum—presented as a coherent work of art in its own right.

Together these exhibition projects consider the essential components and fundamental dynamics of aesthetic experience: light, color, pictorial form, the context of the exhibition. Jacob conjures a vision that is about vision; that is about looking, seeing and understanding.

Luis Jacob has achieved an international reputation, particularly since his participation in Documenta 12 in 2007, with solo exhibitions at the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg and the Hamburger Kunstverein, and in Canada at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, the Darling Foundry and Musée d'art de Joliette. In 2010 his work has been on view at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, in the exhibition Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance, and in the Kunsthalle Bern in the exhibition Animism. Luis Jacob is represented by Birch Libralato, Toronto.

In the face of the global resource shift, Geoffrey Pugens' Sahara Sahara depicts speculative pre-apocalyptic myth-making. The 2-channel video follows a small organized group of misfits that are vandalizing local technologies and the fossil fuel industry. Cinematic and absurd, the video occupies the heist, action and dance genres to seductively address machismo and the recent economic crisis.

A graduate of OCAD and an MFA graduate in Film & Video at York University, Geoffrey Pugen specializes in photography & video, and shows internationally. With theatrical absurdity, he explores the relationship between the real & the perceived, the natural & the virtual, man & animal; all through altering and manipulating media. Insightful, yet humourous, Geoffrey asks us to question what we think we know, society ís perceptions of us, and our preconceived notion of self, through fictitious construct. Geoffrey Pugen is represented by Angell Gallery, Toronto.

Main Space
Luis Jacob
Pictures at an Exhibition
Kurator: David Liss