Tatar Gallery, Toronto and the Architecture and Design Museum of Los Angeles are pleased to present UpCycling: Recuperating Past Lives, an exhibition that examines the use of rehabilitated materials in the context of art and design. The exhibition contends with artists whose work transforms, re-uses, reclaims, rehabilitates, recycles, transmutes, co-opts, appropriates, and converts, found and manufactured materials, remnants, and existing objects into sculptural and installation work indebted to the innovation of design.
The artists included in UpCycling: Recuperating Past Lives use recuperative strategies by mobilizing the existing, the found, and the reclaimed towards transformative material ends. The former utility and purpose of these materials and objects is not denied or concealed, but rather remains in the final product as evidence of their transformation. Whether it is a plastic bottle transformed into a mobile, or industrial felt off cuts transformed into free-standing sculpture utility and the aesthetic converge almost nostalgically as the final object retains the material qualities and past lives of that which was used in its making. The artists’ materials include everything from industrial remnants such as felt, mass manufactured products such as paper and tape, organic found materials such as wood, familiar utilitarian objects, and urban waste and detritus. UpCycling examines the possibility of re-use in contemporary art and suggests the relevance of the increasingly malleable parameters of fine art, design, and object making to the proliferation of these strategies. UpCycling: Recuperating Past Lives is an exciting showcase that demonstrates the creative potential in re-visiting the found with fresh intent and design.
The emphasis of UpCycling: Recuperating Past Lives is on sculptural work that mobilizes design principles towards the re-interpretation of space, use, and the object. The artists included in this exhibition are Canadians: Dennis Lin, Aurora Robson, Yvonne Ip, Liz Wolfe, Robert Southcott, Bruno Billio, and collaborators: Andra Hayward, Shannon Linde and Christina Ott, and collaborators: David Chang, and Amrita Takhar; American artists: Devorah Sperber, Chris Natrop, Tara Donovan, Greg Lynn and Joe Davidson; British artist Susie MacMurray, and Brazilian designers the Campanas brothers. Whether it is with humour, irony, experiment, or critique, their compelling practices explore the residual lives of objects and materials as they are transposed and re-invented into unique sculptural contexts. While the modernist creed has traditionally sought to deny all traces of the social through the irrefutable elevation of the formal, these contemporary artists focus on the intrinsically social suggestion of their materials through a variety of recuperative approaches. The inclusion of these participants represents a multi-disciplinary cross section of emerging, established, Canadian, American, and International artists and designers, all belonging to the larger context of this tendency or movement: “Canadian art and design has always been ready to experiment with new materials and approaches”, Says Tibbie Dunbar Director of the Architecture and Design Museum of Los Angeles, “UpCycling effectively captures this as an exhibition.”