Apparition Room was an immersive group exhibition curated by Lee Plested that brought to life digitized artworks from Western Front’s archives to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Set within a scenography of lighting, props, and furnishings by artist Nile Koetting, the exhibition space evoked the cool aesthetics of the waiting room to welcome visitors to slow down and engage in contemplation. Performance documentation, video extracts, and soundworks played across an arrangement of screens, projections, and speakers. Artworks by over fifty artists were presented as four one-hour long programs over the course of the exhibition period, each with its own theme.
Program 1: Under the Skin reflected on identity and the fragility of being through the lens of performativity, indigeneity, and colonialism and its consequences. Program 2: Bodies Beyond Boundaries explored trials of human endeavor and persistence through works with a shared interest in the innate potential of being. Program 3: Abstract Means of Production examined the systems and conditions of capital, presenting diverse takes on labour which oscillated between making as a means and the meaning of making. Through the act of storytelling, Program 4: Narrating Susceptibility featured works that spun allegories of alienation and its antecedents to reveal objectifying apparatuses of power and their related inequities.
To ground the experience in the body and material world, tours for up to four people were made available by registration twice daily each Thursday and Saturday. On these occasions, hosts Sierra Megas and Yasmine Whaley-Kalaora guided visitors through the program, augmenting their experience with a choreography of gesture, script, and tea service featuring brews devised by artists Bryan Mulvihill and T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, and ceramic ware by local potters.
Complete with two touch screen monitors, a display case of featured ceramic ware, and furnishings and scenography complimentary to that of the exhibition space, Western Front’s library was converted into a temporary viewing suite in which all exhibited artworks were available to view in their full form and length.
Through pairing advancements in media technology with contemporary approaches to traditions of tea, ceramics, and hosting, Apparition Room created an environment to reflect upon Western Front’s longstanding commitment to artistic experimentation across media and the ethos of art as life.
Artists included Kathy Acker, Abbas Akhavan, Eleanor Antin, Joan La Barbara, Martin Bartlett, Rebecca Belmore, bill bissett, Maggie Boyd, Hank Bull, Nao Bustamante, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Dana Claxton, Kate Craig, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, Jane Ellison, Robert Filliou, Coco Fusco, General Idea, Bianca Greco, Rana Hamadeh, Mona Hatoum, Michael Henry, Gordon Hutchens, I Kadek Anggara Dwianta, I Kadek Diva Nanditya, Tari Ito, Charmian Johnson, Nile Koetting, Alison Knowles, Danny Kostyshin, Neil Leonard, Glenn Lewis, Ethan Lum, James Luna, Rita McKeough, Eric Metcalfe, Kate Metten, Michael Morris, Bryan Mulvihill, Antoni Muntadas, Gailan Ngan, Wayne Ngan, Judy Radul, Emily Sheppard, Corin Sworn, Vincent Trasov, Zainub Verjee, Laura Wee Lay Laq, Hildegard Westerkamp, Paul Wong, Cornelia Wyngaarden, and T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss.
This project was made possible in part by Library and Archives Canada.