Canadian Art

See It

Tony Romano: An Affair to Remember

articule, Montreal Aug 22 to Sep 21 2008
Tony Romano, <i>The Last Act</i>, 2006 Film still Tony Romano, The Last Act, 2006 Film still

Tony Romano, <i>The Last Act</i>, 2006 Film still

Romance has never been a primary motive behind the plotlines of pornography. If anything, the happenstance liaisons and fortuitous commingling of porn script dialogue might best be described as momentary distractions that suggest nothing more than a mildly titillating segue to the real action. Still, even these stories deal with relationships on some level. So what if the “action” from a porn film was removed, leaving only these in-between narrative sequences? What then is the result … a modern romance?

This question of basic human relations is exactly what Toronto artist Tony Romano has in mind for his installation The Last Act. Working from a found porn video of the same title, Romano re-shot the film scene-for-scene, excluding the explicit bits, with a cast made up of local friends and associates. Isolating and personalizing the story line in this way, Romano creates a conceptual fantasy, re-framing the film’s suggestive sub-narratives as an unintentional study of character dynamics that never strays too far from hints of playfully charged anticipation. His cast of non-actor friends adds a further layer of real-life dynamics—and authenticity—to the project.

The missing sex scenes show up in an accompanying set of text works. Transcribed by Romano with a neutral point of view, these scripts reduce the unbridled lust the artist purposefully omitted from his film remake to a passionless, clinical record of desire. It’s a wry reversal of the expected that makes a fine point on Romano’s notion that true romance can be found in the most unlikely places. (262 rue Fairmount O, Montreal QC)

This article was first published online on August 28, 2008.


  • Toronto Now

    From painters and photographers to philanthropists, writers and curators–portraits of the Toronto art community

  • Pavilion Projects's “The Enterprise”

    Like many young artist collectives, Pavilion Projects have ambitions that far exceed their monetary realities.



[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Black Birds

    New York critic Joseph R. Wolin heads to the Park Avenue Armory where Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are creating a buzz (and other sounds) at the US premiere of a dark, nightmarish installation originally created for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

  • Grange Prize 2012: Hot Shots

    One of Canada’s largest cash-value art prizes—$65,000 in total with $50,000 going to the winner, $5,000 to three runners-up—announced its finalists this week. Take in their wide-ranging works in this slideshow.

  • Wanda Koop: Into the Woods

    A visit to Wanda Koop’s cabin near Riding Mountain National Park in southern Manitoba proves intriguing for Vancouver critic Robin Laurence. There, Laurence writes, Koop bridges old Grey Owl myths with a new series of paintings on our increasingly digital culture.

  • Brad Tinmouth: Survival Strategies

    The basement of an art gallery may seem an unlikely place to create an emergency shelter. However, Xpace's lower gallery is an ideal setting for Brad Tinmouth's “If Times Get Tough or Even If They Don't,” which evokes a cold-war bunker.

  • Wim Delvoye: Blame it on Paris

    Silk-covered pigs, lattice-cut car tires and a tattooed man are just a few of the works that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has shuttled into the old, Gothic wing of the Louvre this summer. Jill Glessing reviews, finding a terrific amalgam of high and low.

More Online

Report a problem