the tower will always break before it bends, the body will always bend before it breaks
Opening reception: Friday, June 23 at 5 PM
Reception sponsored by RBC
Derek Liddington has spent much of his career fascinated with what might happen when performance, process, and object-making overlap. He has deftly combined sumptuous, large-scale graphite drawings and materially rich sculptures with unconventional performances that include a crane hoisting a steel disc along the path of the sun, or rebuilding a 1968 Mustang coupe with his father.
This exhibition draws on two historic “performance stills” of dancers in the Ballet Russes reimagined through clay and granite sculptures, paintings on silk, collaged movement studies, and a new video work co-commissioned by SAAG and The Art Gallery of York University (AGYU). In a similar spirit, Liddington explores these images through two spaces: AGYU and SAAG. These exhibitions are neither intended to bring to life the particular productions nor rehearse their subject matter or theme. Rather, Liddington animates the space in-between performance and image. At SAAG, Liddington navigates the weight of stillness: how can objects and bodies recoup what the photograph has left behind? Taken one step further, what is this relationship of this new form to the original Ballet Russes production?
Like much of Liddington’s practice, there is a provisional and intuitive sensibility to many of the works in the exhibition. The video, they danced with the understanding that this was for them, eventually it was, presents still objects as floating signifiers, which exhibit their own choreography performed in correlation to the dancers. Many of these same forms are echoed in the silk paintings that hang throughout the installation – quiet banners that flutter and dance in the subtle shifts of air currents and the movements of the gallery visitors. There are a number of conversations in effect, less guided by Liddington as they are corralled, revealing the actions of stillness and the materiality and form of the performative.
Derek Liddington obtained his MFA from Western University (2007) and BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (2004). Liddington’s work has been exhibited in numerous public settings, including recent solo projects at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Cambridge Galleries (Cambridge), AKA Artist-Run (Saskatoon) and 8-11 (Toronto). Liddington’s work has shown internationally at Art Berlin Contemporary (2013), Onagawa AIR, Japan (2013) NADA New York (2014) and Art Athina, Greece (2016). Liddington has been the recipient of numerous grants, including support from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts. Liddington currently practices in Toronto, ON and is represented by Daniel Faria Gallery.
Derek Liddington, the tower will always break before it bends, the body will always bend before it breaks is produced in collaboration with The Art Gallery of York University. Funding assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the City of Lethbridge.
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