Rebecca Belmore’s Facing the Monumental at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
On display from July 12 – October 21, 2018
Still bored by the striking solipsism and incestuous programming in Good Old Europe, our restless SANGUINIUS had to travel—again—in search for new intellectual stimulation.
As the yammering adversaries of identity politics in Europe attempt to keep institutional doors shut to the un-heard and un-seen, these notoriously invisible people sustained—despite international old-boy (and girl) networks—an assertive activist and artistic ambition. One of the most brilliant examples is Anishinaabekwe (Canadian) performance artist Rebecca Belmore (*1960), who was honored with a solo exhibition by curator Wanda Nanibush for her life’s work. Belmore’s cardinal ambition is to persistently face the monumental in the silent suffering of marginalized peoples.
Those Documenta 14 visitors, who made it in 2017 all the way to Athens, might recall a marble igloo tent vis a vis the enduring monument of Western democracies and European civilization: The Acropolis. This was Rebecca Belmore’s work!
In the following, are some visual impressions of Belmore’s poetic exhibition at the AGO in Toronto.
I have been working
as the artist amongst my people
calling to the past
witnessing the present
facing the monumental
In this exhibition, artist Rebecca Belmore and curator Wanda Nanibush achieved to show, with great sense for materiality and political as well as social awareness, the silent atrocities on which the modern world builds on. By visually leveling the artist’s position to the socio-economical classes of laborers—mainly invisible migrants and economic outcasts—, and charging the artist’s political agenda of equality with skillful poetics, this show integrates more than just symbolic agency to art’s representational functions.
This, I understood, when an artist appeared again outside my plane heading back to Europe.