Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art is pleased to present The World Over, a group exhibition curated by Scott McLeod that features photographic, film and video works by three artists: Donna Conlon, Glenda León and Rivane Neuenschwander.
An opening reception, in conjunction with the release party for Prefix Photo 27, will be held on Thursday, May 2 from 7 to 10 PM at Prefix, located at 401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124, Toronto. The curator will be present. The gallery is open from Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 5 PM, and admission is free. The exhibition continues until June 22, 2013.
The title of the exhibition, The World Over, conveys a dual meaning, referring to worldwide phenomena as well as to the end of the world. The works exhibited engage with these layers of meaning, emphasizing both shared awareness of the potential for global disaster and shared experience across geographical boundaries.
In her video and related series of photographs titled Coexistence (2003/2008), Donna Conlon of Panama depicts two opposing streams of leaf-cutter ants marching through tropical foliage and carrying leaf fragments interspersed with miniature national flags. While the scenario might suggest a hostile confrontation, the occasional appearance of surfboards and peace signs suggests a more hopeful interpretation. In her video, Drinking Song (2011), a collaboration with Jonathan Harker, the national anthem of the United States is played using the beer bottles, cans, bottle caps and glasses of Panama’s four main beer brands. Interestingly, the names of these popular brands refer to aspects of the country’s national identity. This darkly humourous performance considers how national symbols and identities are created.
Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander is interested in how human beings interact with one another and their environments. In her video installation, Contingent (2008), ants devour a map of the world made from honey. As the video progresses, the continents gradually shrink until they are gone altogether. By analogy, the artist raises the question of how humans are consuming the world’s natural resources.
In her photograph Between Air and Dreams (2003), Cuban artist Glenda León represents the continents of the world as clouds in the sky. In so doing, she creates a compelling evocation of the world as visible and yet distant. An additional work, Way to Save the World No. 10: Erase the Borders (2012), depicts an outline of the world’s continents engraved in black on a large piece of Plexiglas. Within this outline, the borders of each country are drawn with an erasable red marker; viewers are invited to eliminate political boundaries at will.
About the Artists
Donna Conlon is an artist who was born in Atlanta and currently lives and works in Panamá. In 2002, she received an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore). Her exhibitions include Essays on Geopoetics at the 8th Mercosul Biennial (Porto Alegre, Brazil), El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files 2011 at El Museo del Barrio (New York) and Always a Little Further and Warp and Weft, both at the 51st Venice Biennale. In 2010, she received a Harpo Foundation grant, through Teor/éTica (Costa Rica), for new collaborative work with Jonathan Harker. She is represented by Diablo Rosso (Panamá).
Glenda León is an artist who was born in Havana and divides her time between Havana and Madrid. She holds a BA from the University of Havana and a postgraduate diploma from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. She was an artist-in-residence at the Couvent des Récollets (Paris) and the Fonderie Darling (Montréal), and she earned a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Her most recent solo exhibition was held at the Château des Adhémar (Montélimar, France). In 2013, she and three other artists will represent Cuba at the 55th Venice Biennale. She is represented by Magnan Metz Gallery (New York).
Rivane Neuenschwander was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and currently lives and works in London. In 1993, she received a BA from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) and, from 1996–98, she attended the Royal College of Art (London). Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), Malmö Konsthall (Malmö, Sweden), New Museum (New York), Portikus (Frankfurt am Main) and South London Gallery (London), among others. Her most significant group exhibitions include the biennial exhibitions of Istanbul, Mercosul, São Paulo and Venice. She is represented by Galeria Fortes Vilaça (São Paulo), Stephen Friedman Gallery (London) and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery (New York).
About the Curator
Scott McLeod is a writer, curator and arts administrator. His work focuses on contemporary practices, with a specialization in photographic, media and digital art. Since 2000, he has been the director and curator of Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, where he also serves as the editor and publisher of Prefix Photo magazine.