Terence Koh’s first Canadian solo showing since his student days and a live talk by American artist Matthew Barney are among the projected highlights of Toronto’s 2014 Luminato festival, whose program was announced this morning.
Beijing-born artist Terence Koh—who grew up in Mississauga and studied at the Emily Carr Institute of Art in Vancouver—became known in the early 2000s for transgressive multiples sold online under the alias asianpunkboy. (These multiples included objects from zines to his own semen-stained underwear.) He later showed at the Whitney Biennial, the Vienna Secession and Art Basel, and he was longlisted for the Sobey Art Award in 2008.
Koh’s upcoming Luminato projects at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection—an institution devoted to the legacy of the Group of Seven, with six of the group’s members buried on site—promises to take a mark the beginning of a new phase of production, possibly one that is more innocent and stripped-down, but which continues to draw upon his interest in the colour white. (The artist wears only white, lives in an all white environment.)
For tomorrow’s snow, Koh plans to fill a public space with white, snow-like material, then have two eight-year-old children—a boy and a girl, both dressed in white—make snow angels for eight minutes. It is inspired in part by Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye.
For a way to the light—located in the McMichael’s Artists’ Cemetery, where Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Lawren Harris, Frank Johnston, A.J. Casson and A.Y. Jackson are buried along with gallery co-founders Robert and Signe McMichael—Koh plans a tribute to Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr.
Both tomorrow’s snow and a way to the light are advertised as world premieres.
“I used to do sculptures and sound pieces but now I’m just trying to be.” Koh states on the Luminato website. “A lot of these things I’m doing don’t require a studio. It’s just me being myself and asking questions. I think it’s important for me to be as immaterial as possible. And maybe in this immateriality there’s spirituality, and maybe in this spirituality there is humanity.”
On June 7, Luminato is also slated to host a conversation with famed American artist Matthew Barney at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The talk coincides with the Canadian premiere of Barney’s River of Fundament project at the Elgin Theatre, an exhibition of Barney’s Drawing Restraint series at the AGO, and a TIFF Lightbox screening of Barney’s Cremaster Cycle.
Barney is known for works that challenge gender boundaries and propose (among other notions) that art-making is parallel to athletic training.
The Luminato festival runs June 6 to 15 at various Toronto-area locations.