Factory Logic, a new large-scale installation by Lethbridge artist, Corinne Thiessen, presents a herd of marionette-like horses trotting obediently, systematically in place. Never stopping yet never going anywhere, their measured cadence soothes and pacifies, as we contemplate their endlessly looping cycle.
Honing a material language developed in earlier works, such as A Horse in Motion (2013) and Chronic (2015), Factory Logic uses a combination of natural and industrial material to create a fascinating and whimsical hybrid. Fashioning a series of tree branches with hinges that collapse upon impact with the floor, Thiessen ingeniously simulates the strike of the horses' hooves. Four legs are secured to a geometric armature made of steel and copper pipe, and two 12-volt rotating motors perpetuate a lilting, cyclical motion.
It is in this methodic repetition that we encounter the absurd, a thread that runs through much of Theissen's work. It calls to mind the myth of Sisyphus, the ultimate absurd hero. Both irreverent and impudent, Sisyphus is condemned by the Gods to ceaselessly roll a bolder to the top of a mountain, only to have it fall back on him each time he reaches the pinnacle. A tragic hero caught for all eternity, straining in toil, acutely aware of the futility of his struggle. And yet, he continues on. Camus writes:
"I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again... The universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
Corinne Thiessen is a multidisciplinary artist born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She holds an MFA from the University of Lethbridge. She is curious about human social activity, especially pertaining to deviance, social norms, self-regulation and social control. Through kinetic objects, drawing, video and performance, her work explores physical and ideological impediments, repression and “acting out.” Thiessen has presented in group exhibitions and collaborative performances at home and abroad such as Ortstermin, Berlin. Her recent site-specific installation, Chronic was on view at the Esker Foundation in spring 2015. Her collaborative drawing performance and installation Liar, Liar! with Amy Modahl has been exhibited at the Petit Trianon, Stride Gallery and upcoming at Soo Visual Arts Centre in Minneapolis. She has participated in artist residencies at Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin, and ReMaking, and Mutopia 7 at the Banff Centre. She has published in Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture as well as (Re)Activating Objects: Social Theory and Material Culture at the University of Western Ontario. Thiessen has taught at the post-secondary level in the Media department at Lethbridge College and in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lethbridge.
Factory Logic is organized by the Southern Alberta Art Gallery and curated by Christina Cuthbertson. Funding assistance from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Lethbridge. We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.
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