The Plot

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still from Avalanche, 2011 4 Channel Digital Video 32 Min © Courtesy the artist and Pilar Corrias Gallery, London
The Plot
Curated by: Melanie O’Brian

231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2G8
September 24th, 2011 - November 6th, 2011
Opening: September 23rd, 2011 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

Queen West
(416) 973-4949
Tuesday-Sunday 10-5; Thursday 10-8; Open holiday Mondays
film, video-art


Artists working in film and video have long engaged questions of narration and structure, truth and fiction. The Plot brings together the work of artists who share approaches to non-linear narrative. They use structural breaks, an economy of means (or its aesthetic) and the employment of film as a stage upon which amateur actors (or their proxies) consider history, human relationships and the space created by the camera. The Plot explores film and video not only as a tract upon which scenes are enacted, broken and re-spatialized, but as a scenario, a deception and a scheme.

The Plot includes Avalanche (2011) by Berlin-based Keren Cytter, whose films often present characters acting out complex and alienated relationships. Her scripted work offers an instability that references direct experience and personal observation, as well as calling upon popular cultural forms (film, television, theatre, and literature). Cytter’s short scenes, repetition and use of a hand-held camera result in abstracted interactions and events. Unstable notions of identity, memory and relationships are also found in the work of Vancouver-based Isabelle Pauwels. Pauwels’ innovative approach to shooting, editing and installation draws attention to authorship and spectatorship as a process. Pauwels’ work, including W.E.S.T.E.R.N. (2010) and Eddie (2005), typically weaves a dense, layered story that implicates the viewer in a negotiation with psychologically complex spaces. Brussels-based collaborators Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys create films and installations, such as Das Loch (2010), that focus on issues of thwarted communication and defensive interiority. Revealing the absurdity of the world we live in, their work questions individual power and proposes a schematic equivalency between individuals and objects.

Together, these works test claims to territory and storytelling. The disruption of narrative in The Plot offers a strategy for considering how we are located in this world.


Keren Cytter (born in Tel Aviv, 1977) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues including Kunsthalle Zurich (2005), KW, Berlin (2006), MUMOK, Vienna (2007), Witte de With, Rotterdam (2008), X Initiative, New York (2009), and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010). Cytter’s work has also been included in a number of biennials and group exhibitions, and she is the author of several novels and live performances. She is represented by Pilar Corrias Gallery, London; Schau Ort, Zurich; and Galerie Christian Nagel, Cologne/Berlin/Antwerp.

Jos de Gruyter (born in Geel, Belgium, 1965) and Harald Thys (born in Wilrijk, Belgium, 1966) have been working together since the mid-1980s. Their work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at such venues as MuHKA, Antwerp (2007), Culturgest, Lisbon (2009), Kaleidoscope, Milan (2009), and NAK, Aachen (2011). They have also participated in numerous biennials and group exhibitions. They are represented by Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie, Berlin and Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp.

Isabelle Pauwels (born in Kortrijk, Belgium, 1975) received her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. She has had solo exhibitions at Or Gallery (2001), Contemporary Art Gallery (2003) and Presentation House (2009) in Vancouver, and at Mercer Union, Toronto (2004), Henry Art Gallery, Seattle (2010) and Tatjana Pieters, Ghent (2010). Her work has also been included in group exhibitions internationally. She is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.