13 September - 26 October 2013

Céline Condorelli

Sicilian cocktails at G Gallery (artist present), October 5, 2-5pm

This fall London, UK based artist Céline Condorelli will present an exhibition, a site specific installation, and an artist’s talk. The project is a co-production of G Gallery, University of Guelph School of Fine Art and the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, at the University of Toronto. This programme of activities has been coordinated by Su-Ying Lee, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery’s past Curator-in-Residence (2012-2013).

We just came to say No
G Gallery
September 13 – October 26

The Company We Keep
Hart House, presented by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
University of Toronto, 7 Hart House Circle
October 3 – ongoing
Opening reception October 4, 6:30-8:30pm

Guelph University, presented by the Faculty of Fine Art
October 7, 6pm

Céline Condorelli is an artist who works with architecture, combining a number of approaches from developing structures for ‘supporting’ (the work of others, forms of political imaginary, existing and fictional realities) to broader enquiries into forms of commonality and present urgencies, resulting in projects and/or exhibitions merging installation, politics, fiction, display, public space, sound, and writing.

This fall, the artist presents two projects that employ inanimate objects as stand-ins for the voices of the inhabitants of past, latent or forgotten circumstances. Puppets, that at once obscure the human hand and convey human stories, recount histories of injustice in Condorelli's video installation We just came to say No, at G Gallery. The Company We Keep, the second project, features the light bulb, an essential everyday object and symbol of progress, to reveal the shadows of friendship. Both works demonstrate the artist’s attentiveness to context. We just came to say No mines the political history and puppeteering tradition of Sicily while The Company We Keep is a work specially produced for Hart House, a gothic revival building with a long extracurricular history, particularly catering to the male academic.

Condorelli will discuss her practice across the disciplines of visual art, architecture, writing and curating at Guelph University on October 7th.

This programme of events has been preceded by a period of research, which included site visits in Toronto in the fall of 2012. At that time, the artist also led a workshop, presented by the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery and gave a public talk in the Masters of Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto.

We just came to say No
G Gallery

We just came to say No is a film installation which confronts and intermingles two separate histories of injustice, a plot taking place in fascist Italy is set against Charlemagne's wars against the Muslims, and both are performed by puppets, who exchange the roles of stage and audience and intervene in each other’s stories to cheer on or disagree.

We just came to say No follows Silvestro on one screen, who beset by feelings of hopelessness, decides to travel to his native Sicily; he encounters a number of characters along the way, as a series of allegorical representations of the time. The play is an adaptation of Conversations in Sicily by Elio Vittorini, a novel written as a poetic allegory in order to bypass fierce censorship in the midst of an ‘abstract rage’ against of 1938 fascist Italy.

This puppet show has an audience on the other screen, amongst which puppets from the traditional Carolingian trilogy (which forms the basis of all Sicilian puppetry), play an unruly public, enacting a second play. Incensed by the seeming passivity of the characters on stage, by their failure to revolt against fascism, puppets in shining armour – who have much experience of popular revolt, warfare and injustice – mock and refuse this version of their future by calling for rebellion “Mora! Mora!” (Die! Die!)

Double play with puppets conceived by the artist and originally staged with puppeteers Fratelli Napoli in Modica, Sicily.

The Company We Keep
Hart House
Curated by Su-Ying Lee

The Company We Keep is an installation of twenty light bulbs, screwed into existing electrical fittings throughout Hart House, which addresses a double absence: the historical exclusion of women both from the house, and from the discourse on friendship in philosophy.

The work explores friendship making reference to Hannah Arendt’s definition of culture as “the company that one chooses to keep, in the present as well as in the past”, which suggests the importance of befriending people and also ideas, issues, objects, something chosen and renewed through thinking and doing. Etched on the glass are words and colours that, depending on light conditions and time of the day, show up as shadows on walls or ceilings, in a sequence that would, if navigated and read entirely from room to room, read through a vocabulary of elective affinities, therefore inhabiting the house with the missing voices of friendship.

Céline Condorelli is the author/editor of Support Structures on Sternberg Press, 2009, and one of the founding directors of Eastside Projects, an artist-run exhibition space in Birmingham, UK; she has been teaching and lecturing since 1999, and is currently Professor at NABA (Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti) Milan.

Recent exhibitions includes Puppet Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Things That Go Without Saying, Grazer Kunstverein, Austria, The Parliament, Archive of Disobedience, Umeå Bildmuseet, Sweden, Social Fabric, Iniva, London and Lund Konsthall, Sweden, Surrounded by the Uninhabitable, SALT Istanbul (2012) “There is nothing left”, Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Townhouse, Egypt and Oslo Kunstforening (2011-12), Something Stronger than Skepticism, Alias, Krakow Photomonth (2011), Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010), Revision, part 1 and 2 (Artists Space, New York, 2009, and Cell Projects, London, 2010), Curtain Show (Eastside Projects, 2010), and Life always Escapes (Wysing Arts, Cambridge, and e-flux journal 2009).

Canadian Art Must-Sees: Céline Condorelli at G Gallery