Troy Gronsdahl, Lee Henderson and Éve K. Tremblay
Organized by the Dunlop Art Gallery
November 3, 2012 to January 10, 2013
Curated by Blair Fornwald
Dunlop Art Gallery, RPL Sherwood Village Branch, 6121 Rochdale Boulevard
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday, January 19 at 1:00 pm
Held in conjunction with Freedom to Read Week (February 24 to March 2) Becoming Book investigates the relationship between readers, writers, publishers, and censors as embodied through the physicality of the book. Each artist in Becoming Book engages in an active dialogue with the printed word, assuming a role more “writerly” than “readerly.” The artists’ subjective readings of classic literary and political texts in turn create new “texts” that assume various forms. The artists draw upon the contents of the published text, its interpreted meaning as applied by the reader, and social and political circumstances surrounding its writing, publication, dissemination, and effect on a social body of readers.
The exhibition features the work of three artists: Troy Gronsdahl from Saskatoon, Lee Henderson from Toronto, and Éve K. Tremblay, who is based between Berlin, New York, and Montreal. Troy Gronsdahl’s Make Way for Magic! Make Way for Objective Mysteries! cites Refuse Global, Les Automatistes’ anti-establishment and anti-religious manifesto. The emphatic call to political action present in this text is absent in Gronsdahl’s eloquently simple, if not melancholic gesture: the words “magic” and “objective mysteries” have been lifted from the manifesto and embossed and debossed on stacks of white paper. Gronsdahl then melted the metal letterpress type, forming a “magic” blob and a blob of “objective mysteries,” as if these properties are inherent in the words themselves. Lee Henderson’s Refinement Pavilion series is comprised of books that were published posthumously, against the author’s wishes. The artist has acquired rare and valuable first editions of classic literary texts, including Vladimir Nabakov’s Laura and Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Refusing to read them, Henderson has had the books cremated, sealing their ashes in urns, in a poetics attempt to fulfill the deceased’s wishes. Finally, Éve K. Tremblay presents excerpts from an ongoing project titled Becoming Fahrenheit 451, where she has been attempting to memorize Ray Bradbury’s famous anti-censorship text in its entirety, thereby becoming one of his fictitious “book people.”