Remote Viewing: True Stories
The work of Milutin Gubash is predominately based on the history and reality of his family – a common enough subject for artists. Less typical is the inclusion of his actual family performing their lives, with Gubash in a starring role, using media formats that range from newspaper headlines and advertising to television sitcoms and soap operas. Indeed, his story makes for good TV; a cast of rich characters overcome adversity and political strife and successfully escape former Communist Yugoslavia to begin a new life, with new issues, in Canada.
This is Milutin Gubash’s origin story: it set the course of his life and its prototypical blend of truth and illusion is his artistic stock in trade. Raised in Kingston and Calgary on his parents’ constant talk of home, he never understood why they left Yugoslavia and their convoluted tales didn’t help. But, they did provide the unstable frame for understanding the unstable culture they arrived into.
This exhibition is part of collective effort with four other arts organizations to examine the last ten years of Gubash’s practice. Each curator worked with a particular focus, be it Gubash’s sustained use of family and friends, or in SAAG’s case, his adoption and adaptation of the sitcom and other media formats. Newspaper headlines from the Calgary Herald are revisited in earlier projects like Playing Possum and Re-enacting Tragedies While My Parents Look On, while his signature work, Born Rich, Getting Poorer, presents six episodes of a DIY sitcom positioning Gubash and his family in a series of mishaps both banal and burlesque. With the addition of ‘fake’ paintings, web-projects, newspaper interventions and comic strips, Remote Viewing: True Stories is a comprehensive look at a practice that shares the private matters of a family in formats that are distinctly public. In light of reality television, YouTube, Facebook and other contexts where intimate narratives are played out in mass media, Gubash’s work participates in a timely discourse about the construction and performance of our identity, our history and the relationships that bind them.
Born in Novi Sad (Serbia) and living in Montréal (Québec) since 2005, Milutin Gubash has mounted exhibitions in Québec, Canada, the United States, and Europe, including recent solo shows in Montréal at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (LOTS, 2007), and Optica (Born Rich, Getting Poorer, 2009), Galerie 3015 in Paris and RLBQ in Marseille (Which Way to the Bastille?, 2008). Remote Viewing: True Stories is part of a ten-year survey exhibition presented by Rodman Hall Art Centre (St. Catharine’s ON), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa ON), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery (Kitchener ON), Southern Alberta Art Gallery (Lethbridge AB), and the Musée d’art de Joliette (Joliette QC). A major monographic publication created in collaboration with these five institutions will be released in late 2012.
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