June 22 – September 2
Performance: Thursday June 27, 2013 at 7pm
The Power Plant
The Power Plant has been pleased to present a solo exhibition of French artist Jimmy Robert from Saturday June 22 to Monday September 2 2013. Robert’s practice typically explores the corporeal potential of a range of media including photography, drawing, film, video, sculpture, and performance. As part of the Paris-Toronto series, French artist Jimmy Robert exhibited, from Saturday, June 22 to Monday, September 2, 2013, at The Power Plant. In his first Canadian solo exhibition “Draw the Line”, Jimmy Robert addresses questions of limits: of his body, of the media he uses, of our understanding of exhibitions, and the various disciplines his work encompasses.
This performance draws from artist Carolee Schneeman’s Up To and Including Her Limits (1976). In this seminal performance work, Schneeman suspended herself from a rope above a large canvas, held crayons in her hands and extended her arms to mark the surface around and beneath her. Schneeman’s work speaks to a period in art history when artists began rethinking the distinctions and limitations of artistic media by creating work that aimed to move drawing and painting off the page. In a similar gesture, Robert’s performance will at once employ drawing and the performing body. Using chance movement to activate the objects in the gallery, Robert’s live work will transform the exhibition from its initial installation to one that evokes the movement seen in his performance. Both text and sculptural remnants remained in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition whereby the movement of the viewers’ bodies through the installation emphasized the ephemeral after-effect of the live work.
Robert’s performance and its remaining ephemera was accompanied by his sculptural installation Reprise (2010). The work references artist Jeff Wall’s photograph A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) (1993), which captures four figures physically responding to a strong wind. The composition in Wall’s work is a recreation of Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai’s woodcut Ejiri in Suruga Province (Sunshū Ejiri) (1830-33). The theatricality in the movement of the figures in both works acts as a point of departure for Robert’s Reprise. Here, he captures in large-scale photographs the movements of dancer Shiho Ishihara with gestures akin to those seen in Hokusai’s and Wall’s pieces. Depicting movement in both the dancer’s body as well as in the installation of the photographs, Robert demonstrates the ability for objects to become performative. Together with his performance, Reprise offers new possibilities for movement and performativity to exist outside a live event.
Movement is evoked in every sense of Draw the Line: in the works we see, in the performing body and in the exhibition framework. Just as the artists Robert references were rethinking the limitations of artistic media, Draw the Line rethinks the limitations of an exhibition, challenging viewer expectations as it unfolds and transforms over time.
The Power Plant
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, ON M5J 2G8
Jimmy Robert (born 1975, Guadeloupe, France) has received several international awards including the Follow Fluxus-After Fluxus Grant (2009) and the Andrei and Nicholas Tooth Award (1999).
His work has been presented in several solo exhibitions and festivals including Kaaitheater, Brussels (2013); MCA Chicago (2012); Teatro Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro (2012); Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland (2011); CCS Bard, New York (2011); Diana Stigter, Amsterdam (2011); South London Gallery (2010); Art Sheffield, UK (2010); Art: Concept, Paris (2010), Art Basel, Switzerland (2010); MoMA, New York (2009); CCA Kitakyushu, Japan (2009); Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow (2009); 5th Berlin Biennale (2008); Yokohama Triennale, Japan (2008); Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2008); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2007); de Appel, Amsterdam (2007); ICA, London (2007); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2006); and Tate Britain, London (2004).
Robert received a B.A. in Fine Art and Critical Theory from Goldsmiths College, London.